I’m wistful for a time when America had a clear foreign policy, was respected in the world because we kept our word, a time when we could tell our enemies from our friends.
I’m wistful for a time when the world could count on America.
Instead, the Obama administration has turned America into the Disneyland Dad of the world, an immature spectacle of bribery, gift giving and don’t-tell-your-mother exploitation that seeks to have a good time with buddies rather than be respected.
The price of peace, it seems-- at least the Nobel variety of peace that Obama brings—is humiliation and decay; a dislodgement of American and civilized interests.
Because under Obama, America is neither liked nor respected; as a result our interests, and those of our allies around the world have waned.
Russia uses America as its rag doll in international relations, even rallying sympathy here and abroad for (ugh) Syria’s Baathist regime because Obama has no cogent foreign policy.
When you abandon the Ukraine, it’s taken for granted that Syria won’t rank high on your list.
In the Middle East you need a scorecard to tell which bad guys the US is supporting on which battlefield because it varies from day-to-day and from battle-to-battle.
Al Qaeda is the good guy in Syria, but the bad guy in Libya, except when it isn’t; like that time we gave Al Qaeda shoulder-fired missiles capable of bringing down commercial airliners.
In Europe, a string of embarrassing disclosures about US spying on European leaders have threatened to put a wedge in relations there in a way not seen since before World War II.
In Asia, the sleeping giant, China, no longer slumbers, but is active even if her strength is more apparent than it is real. Obama’s loath to offend because China has a ton of US cash he needs to finance government.
Predictably-- to anyone outside of the Obama administration-- these developments have the world nervous.But what makes the world even more nervous is the vacillation of America with no clear goals and no clear friends, and only enemies we seek to mollify.
“Europeans (and others, particularly in Asia) want a strong United States,” writes Xenia Dormandy, a scholar at Chatham House in the UK who specializes in the United States. “One that provides moral leadership and enforces global norms. One that can be called upon to act, particularly in tough situations. Instead, events in recent weeks have only reinforced the international perception that America is in decline.”
They want America to stand for something.
I have no special regard for the Saudis, for example. They exploit the oil wealth of their country and keep the regular folks under the sword of Sharia law. They also export their version of Islam, which is anti-American, anti-freedom and antithetical to the modern world.
We pay them to do it. By using their product-- oil—we allow them to promote their interests around the world.
But we live in an “either-or” world where the interest of our country—and our allies-- often requires us to pick between two evils.
And picking amongst the evils that we face, the brand of Islam that the Saudis represent is preferable to the brand of Islam that Iran represents.
It is Iran, after all, that seeks to go nuclear, not Saudi Arabia.
For all of the Peter Pans out there who wish not to grow-up, let me remind you of why we are in the Middle East in the first place: Oil.
Oil is our interest there-- one often feels the needs to remind Obama of this-- not feuds between Sunni dictators and Shia dictator wanna-be’s disguised as “Democracy.”
Say what you want about George W. Bush, but he never lost sight of the strategic significance of the Middle East, flanked on the north by Russia, in the east by the Persia as represented by Iran.
Perhaps it’s time we got back to a cogent, reliable foreign policy, based on our interests and responsibilities rather than our desires and personal feelings.
Because a foreign policy that can’t make real distinctions between enemies and allies is like a high-sugar diet of a Disneyland Dad at an amusement park: Eventually, we'll stop being slightly nauseous, and commence puking in earnest... that is, if doesn't continue to get Americans killed.