Tuesday, October 06, 2015

President Obama’s foreign policy starts and ends with trying to be liked

President Obama’s foreign policy starts and ends with trying to be liked. Does anyone think that is working? Instead of us being “liked,” we have lost respect, or at least fear, which is equally as good.

The vacuum from our withdrawal as the world’s leader for democracy, has enabled what were once neutered countries like Russia to reappear as a world power and for problematic countries like Iran, Syria and North Korea to step up their destructive paths. The world is not safer, but rather a more perilous place to exist.

While we don’t have to always be the world’s policeman, we do need to project that capability to help keep others in check. In the absence of such projection, others feel empowered.

Away from home, Obama’s vision of the U.S. is just another unexceptional fish in a vast international community. One that shouldn’t have too much power and certainly shouldn’t do anything but lead from behind.

Well, Obama has certainly made progress there, hasn’t he? Even funnier is Putin ridiculing America (and the West, of course) for its hubris and silly 21st century notions while he occupies Crimea and eyes the rest of Ukraine with his 19th century strategies.

How declasse.

Obama is mothballing military capacity (something about swords and plowshares) while Putin is counting bayonets and putting troops on the ground. But we’re starting to see the fruits of Obama’s international policies over the last six years:

– the U.S., marginalized and ignored on the world stage by the bad actors who no longer fear America’s strength (Iraq, China, North Korea, Russia, etc.).

– unilaterally ceding power and control to an amorphous “global body” (see control over internet domains) who would like nothing better than to have that power and control for itself.

Obama’s idea is that only by acting with restraint and embracing a world culture will we be able to come together and cooperate as a species. The problem with utopianism is that it doesn’t recognize that we continue to fight millions of years’ worth of evolution that has designed us to compete, sometimes violently, over limited resources. (Food, shelter, and sex in the most simplistic sense.)

The easiest way to illustrate how utopianism is a deeply flawed perspective, and will remain so for the foreseeable future, is the boarding process for an airline. Theoretically, everyone should have an assigned seat and enough overhead space for one (properly sized) bag and one carry on. But in reality, people shove, and jostle, and try to cheat additional space for themselves. They sit in the seats they want to sit in instead of the seats they paid for and/or can afford. That is the way the real world works no matter how ardently the liberals wish otherwise.

To recognize the essential, selfish nature of human beings is to begin to properly address inequality. Authoritarian regimes want what they want, no matter how bad the “civilized” nations wish to press them to reform. This is why Europe, by and large, and the current administration are utter, complete, and contemptible failures at influencing rogue regimes, dictators, and authoritarian nations like China, Russia, and North Korea.

First recognize that these countries will act without regard to world opinion and will put themselves first and then you can determine a course of action that better anticipates their future behavior. Otherwise, we will continue to be “surprised” by their actions and we will play an eternal game of catch-up on foreign policy.

Over the past 6 years I think our country has developed a terrible syndrome. We’re so sensitive to the slings and barbs of the rest of the planet that we have ceased to recognize how valuable and special America really is.

I truly believe that the liberal mindset, which seems to be an outgrowth of the ’60’s, has infected the U.S. and we’re all too ready to capitulate to world opinion.

I was always taught that confidence in one’s self is key. While it’s important to listen to criticism, it’s also important to consider the source of that opinion and to temper it with reason. I listen to some folks and realize that these people are all too willing to believe that we’re the chief evil-doers in the world and that we need to emulate the more “reasonable” (weak) countries of Europe so that we can be accepted.

Since when is acceptance more important than doing what we think is right for our people and our country? Our country was founded by people who felt that Europe had fallen into corrupt practices. What has changed?

We now seem to accept that our decline is inevitable. Why? Why must we, a country that welcomes immigrants with open arms like no other nation on earth, accede supremacy to a country like China who is more opportunistic and who treats its people as cattle instead of individuals?

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