Well I’ve been reading a lot of stuff and trying to understand where US foreign policy is going in relation to the new international realities. In doing so I’ve increased the level to which I suspect President Barack Obama of being out of his element. Up to now I’ve felt Obama was surprised but open to seeing the past policies of any number of former Oval occupants were grounded in certain realities. Although realities can change just like sand shifts, there are constants. It is those constants that Obama and those he lead (?) and the ones he follows get turned upside down.
To say Obama is cautious is perhaps both the kindest and yet largest understatement one can make of him. He clearly analyzes things,perhaps over analyzes things. Some find this to be dithering,others a refreshing change from the perceived cowboy yahoo-ness of GW Bush. Love or hate either of these guys I for one do think Obama analyzes & over analyzes. I am unmoved by Obama on the point that he has any real convictions though. I believe he is too flexible in his commitment,but fortunately he is unlike Bill Clinton. I also believe Bush was quick to jump but that he at least had deep convictions.
Where does this leave us?
I believe it leaves us on the path to another World War. A war of global proportions with multiple nations involved and it’ll happen for one or more of the following reasons. I also add my take on Obama for each. Keep in mind I’m not blaming him,just stating an opinion.
The whole world needs them and when you get to the staple level like water you get a number of areas where they are so limited and the haves and have nots so unfriendly there is friction. This situation is caused by any one nation but doesn’t someone need to be a leader? I believe the dawning of the stronger international community and loss of national sovereignty to be a weak alternative to preventing conflict under this banner.
Obamas place in this? Burdened by domestic issues and war he has nothing to offer.Where he does see and say stuff he defers to the internationals.This weakens the USA.
Clash of Civilizations.
I don’t believe this is the most viable possibility but it gets put out there by others. I personally believe that in the short term the opposing ideologies on this planet and, I see three, will choose to coexist.It is still a possible even if my chosen outlier.The three ideologies I speak of are: Liberalism,Islamism and Statism. Liberalism in the capitalist way with democracy at its core,Islamism not in the extremist sense but still pretty rigid Quranic based kinda Iran Lite and Statism covers the Chinese,Neo-Soviets= Russia and FSU cabal combined with the developing third player of developing nations and city states.Think Brazil, India, Indonesia other Latin America nations for example.
I view this scenario more an issue as the third groups relevance and membership evolves. Very interesting stuff when you think of certain regional arms races,the suppliers,buyers etc.
Obamas place in this? Simple, he has maintained the status quo in places and has scored an incomplete in others. On this point it would be interesting what a second term could do for Obama and America. Of course since I disagree with some of his domestic policies I see him as a net negative on helping America stay vibrant and relevant in the debate. Perhaps his place in history will not be important on this but then one has to discount Bush,Clinton et al and I don’t buy that.
Long time rivals finally go
This is a good one to bet on and I think we look primarily in two places. The Middle East with a focus on the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. Regional players will have a different look both very shortly and undoubtedly over the longer term. Syria,Iran,Bahrain,Egypt etc. all add powder to this potential explosion. How much stronger does Hamas and Hezbollah get if the Shiites take Bahrain? Iran a clear winner in the current Jasmines gets a chance to roll the dice. Will they? Palestinians see Jasmines and the new international action of R2P. What? They’re gonna sit still?
The second place to look is the Indo Pak conflict. Continued potential for Pakistan to destabilize and Indias continued growth and international relevance. I don’t like the chances of that staying “all quiet on the Kashmir Front”.
Obamas place in this? Well as much as any POTUS he has tried to play it both ways. Both ways won’t work much longer and either real or perceived someone is going to be picked over the other. My guess is India. My further speculation is that won’t go over well in Islamabad. Heres the biggie. The next POTUS may very well be the one that has to choose. Sucks to be him.
Tron goes Real
This is an interesting one for me. I think of the worm attack on Irans nuclear program and a number of Chinese backed acts of espionage via the Net. I think about two powerhouses playing the satellite shoot down game and how the world is so dependent on the stuff floating in space. I think of the movie Fail Safe. I think about how world markets are all “e” in nature and think of how old world tactics of blockades and Trojan Horses seem to have eerie 21st century descendants.
What action on an electronic level equals a Tonkin Gulf,a Pearl Harbor or an assassination in Sarajevo? This one scares me the most because of the unknown potentials.
Obamas place in this? I got nothing other than hope that he and the next President and the next and the next stay vigilant on this.
All in all I think Obama as President of the United States of America has both an active and passive role in how the seeds of WWIII get sown. Actively he has indeed weakened America as well as been at the desk while America has weakened. It is not all on him. He has been long on response in a world that unfortunately moves pretty fast. A world where things are not always as concrete as we’d like. This unfortunately allows people to view things that are not necessarily real. Today as I type people undoubtedly believe if they rise up the US and the internationals will respond. This simply isn’t true. In other places people and leaders are assured America is yet further weighed down ans spiraling downwards. This is not good either obviously.