President Obama has turned the foreign policy of this nation since WWII on its head. We can only wish that the next president will be insightful enough to develop a new foreign policy that gives us at least some of the benefits of the Pax American of the last seventy years.
In a new book titled "When Globalization Fails: The Rise and Fall of Pax Americana," by James Macdonald, on its back there is review by Josef Joffe, Senior Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University, that says:
Contrary to the liberal dream, globalization does not lead to One World, but to disruption. Globalization reached a peak in 1913; one year later, the world was at war. In his grand sweep through history, Macdonald makes a crucial point: The global commons does not organize itself; it needs a guardian and guarantor. When Britain shed that burden, the United States took over. Macdonald argues correctly that there is nobody else--neither Russia nor China, which are revisionist, not responsible powers. Only liberal empires take care of the whole. With global conflict rising, the United States has begun to grasp Macdonald's compelling logic: no protector, no peace. So the twenty-first century need not be a repeat of the twentieth. A smart book that skewers the conventional wisdom.
One wonders what Joffe means by "the United States has begun to grasp Macdonald's compelling logic" because I sure don't see Barack H. Obama grasping Macdonald's crucial observation that "The global commons does not organize itself; it needs a guardian and guarantor.
Obama has no sense of history and clearly doesn't understand how the world works. Yes, it has been expensive to be the leader, and there have been a few bumps along the way, but look at the peace and prosperity we have had the last 70 years compared to previous centuries.
Our next president will have to salvage as much as he possibly can of that visionary strategy our country led until Obama.
The next president will have to engineer a major change in our foreign policy to take account of and correct the mistakes that Obama has made in the Middle East. Let's start with a little background.
Iran and Arabia have been at each other’s throats for thousands of years. That conflict has now been aggravated exponentially by the Sunni-Shia religious divide. I suspect that Iran’s grander strategic play is to place a vise around Arabia, in the north running from Iran to the Mediterranean and including Israel, and on the South Yemen.
Relations in the Middle East are far too complex to make heads or tails out of them. Suffice it to say that Saudi Arabian Islam, Wahhabi, is as extremist as they come, and it is no surprise that 15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists were Saudi. Moreover, I suspect that ISIS is an instrument of Saudi Arabia to try to get back or at least counterbalance some of the gains that Iran has made in countries to the North of Saudi Arabia—Iraq, Syria, Lebanon. Hamas and Hezbollah play a similar role, only on Iran's side.
That said we have to keep our eyes on the ball.
So now what? Well, Obama has dropped the ball quite badly. Our influence used to keep the larger peace among the warring factions but Humpty Dumpty is now off the wall and broken. The only thing left for us to do is to launch a massive program of oil infrastructure and production development in the whole of North America, that is, including Canada and Mexico. That could help us become not just self-sufficient but also allow us to supply part of the needs of our strategic partners, particularly Europe.
As far as the Middle East is concerned, the Chinese and Russians are now in control and the best we can do is try to stay in good enough terms with them. China and other oil dependent countries will now have to worry about peace in the Middle East so their supply is not compromised.
The next president will need to launch a program to shift the West’s dependence on oil from the Middle East to North America. In this scenario Israel unfortunately is left to its own devices. Jews will have to reconsider their political alliances given that their Democrat "friends" have left them hanging. Their best bet seems to be to ally themselves with Arabia.
I’ve made the point before but I think it is worth repeating. The Democrats led by Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid turned U.S. foreign policy of the previous century (first by Britain and France and after WWII by the U.S.) in the Middle East on its head starting with the 2006 mid-term elections campaign, and then Obama put the last nails on the coffin. Here is how it played.
The main reason we care about peace in that region is that we don't want to see the supply of oil to the world jeopardized. From our perspective, even if we become self-sufficient in oil, we still need the rest of the world supplied because our industry has become so interconnected with the world economy. To that end the U.S. had been playing the role of guardian of the peace with the main purpose of keeping any major conflicts in the Middle East from jeopardizing the oil supply to the West and now the world.
The biggest longer term threat had become Iran going nuclear and the Arabs following suit. I’ve hypothesized that among the more important reasons Bush went into both Afghanistan and Iraq was to place a protective shield around Iran, thereby be in a position of guaranteeing their security from the Arabs, who had already been making a lot of trouble for Iran on both flanks. With that guarantee Iran would then be coaxed to discontinue its nuclear program, which they did towards the end of 2003. Note that the nearly 250,000 troops providing that guarantee were not just the U.S. but NATO and even some Asian countries. Oil is too important to all of them.
Obviously such a display of force was not sustainable but the point had been made: NATO could mobilize on short notice sufficient troops to guarantee the security of Iran. In the meantime they had gotten rid of threats to Iran on both flanks, including Saudi incursions from Afghanistan.
Enter the Democrats in 2005 and particularly the 2006 electoral campaign. They attacked Bush quite viciously and made it clear that the strategy that he had put in place was not sustainable, that it was not the policy of the U.S. but just that of one Republican administration. Where before politics had ended at the water’s edge, this time Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid made it clear that was no longer the case. The consequence was that Iran quickly resumed its nuclear program. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.
Unfortunately what started as an oil play has now reached far beyond with the growth of Middle East terrorism. Now we won't just have conventional and asymmetric warfare to worry about, but also the use of nuclear weapons by rogue regimes and their proxies.