A Commentary by J. D. Longstreet
China and Japan, Russia and Syria, Russia and the Ukraine, Iran, Afghanistan, Iraq, Egypt, Israel and the so-called Palestinians, South Sudan, the Central African Republic, Mali, and the Pacific Rim countries, North Korea, the Philippines, and sundry other places that escape my memory at the moment.
THIS is what "leading from behind" has wrought. THIS is Obama's foreign policy -- no foreign policy.
Oh, there's more to come. As soon as US troops leave Afghanistan, the Taliban will move right back in with great shedding of blood. Iran will soon have a nuclear bomb, (unless Israel intervenes) as will several other Middle Eastern countries.
South of us, well, South America is keeping a low profile -- and that worries me. Look for Argentina to take another shot at snatching the Falkland Islands from Great Britain -- again.
Brazil is on its best behavior these days getting all gussied-up up for the Football World Cup coming up in June. Venezuela has its own internal problems (so far) trying to imitate Cuba or the old Soviet Union and managing to provide the hemisphere with some tragic humor.
There's not much coming out of our neighbors to the south these days mainly because the Obama administration seems to have simply written them off, which means the Mainstream Media in the US has no interest in anything happening below Brownsville, Texas, or Key West, Florida.
Oh. About Obama's "pivot" to the Pacific Rim? Well, it now appears he has abandoned it. Could it be that has emboldened China to stretch out across the South China Sea and confront Japan over the Senkaku Islands? I hope SOMEONE has made our President aware that we have a binding treaty with Japan to protect them should they be attacked. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.
According to the "Treaty of Mutual Cooperation and Security" between the United States and Japan, the US is committed to protecting Japan against an enemy's attack. Judging from the Japanese government's recent consideration toward reevaluating their "no nukes" stance, something tells me the Japanese are worried about Obama's steadfastness in so far as his standing by America's treaty obligations with them.
I've been around since the tail end of the Great Depression and, frankly, I don't remember the US being this disengaged globally, well, EVER!
One of the consequences of voluntary isolation for a country is that that country loses any influence it might have on world events.
Nature abhors a vacuum. Something will fill it. Russia and China have stepped up and are aggressively filling the void left when Obama took the US into full retreat from the world. The US has less and less influence around the globe as each day passes. We are seeing the results of that lack of influence all over the world today. It is likely to get much worse.
Our President is a joke to foreign governments. Obama is not what the remainder of the world considers "reliable." See, they're ahead of America's own citizens in arriving at that precisely correct conclusion.
Consider this from Max Boot at commentarymagazine.com: "Moreover, Americans aren’t happy with Obama’s foreign policy in general: “Forty-nine percent disapproved of Mr. Obama’s foreign policy efforts, up 10 points since early June, and 40 percent approved. The president’s negative rating on foreign policy has grown among Americans of all political stripes, with disapproval up 8 points among Democrats, 10 points among Republicans and 13 points among independents.”
Mr. Boot goes on to say: "What the public perceives–the same thing that much of the world perceives–is that Obama is weak and vacillating, deliberative but indecisive." -- SOURCE: http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2013/09/25/obamas-confused-foreign-policy/
Consider this from the May/June 2012 issue of Foreign Affairs. (http://www.foreignaffairs.com/): "When Obama was sworn into office in January 2009, he had already developed an activist vision of his foreign policy destiny. He would refurbish the United States' image abroad, especially in the Muslim world; end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; offer an outstretched hand to Iran; "reset" relations with Russia as a step toward ridding the world of nuclear weapons; elicit Chinese cooperation on regional and global issues; and make peace in the Middle East. By his own account, Obama sought nothing less than to bend history's arc in the direction of justice and a more peaceful, stable world." -- SOURCE: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/137516/martin-indyk-kenneth-lieberthal-and-michael-e-ohanlon/scoring-obamas-foreign-policy
Those of us who live in the real world had serious misgivings about his grasp of real world politics as soon as we learned of his pie-in-the-sky attitude toward the world situation. In fact, it frightened old hands at foreign affairs and shocked even more. It seemed his naivete knew no bounds. It has turned out that that assessment was nearer to the mark than even we knew at the time.
The recent Obama imbroglio in Syria leads many, yours truly included, into believing Obama has no definitive foreign policy. He just makes it up as he goes!
One has to wonder how our traditional allies feel about this seeming lackadaisical attitude toward American leadership in the world. One such ally, Israel, now knows, with a high degree of certainty, they cannot depend upon America as long as Obama is in the Oval Office. How must Great Britain, France, Germany, Australia, Canada, et al, feel about any dependence upon America these days?
All one is required to do to see the justification in our query is simply observe the mess the world is in today.
Those of us who have been around the block a few times understand the importance and the necessity of remaining involved, of having some skin in the game. It wasn't nice. It wasn't comfortable, and often it has cost us in blood, sweat, tears and treasure -- but it was -- and remains -- tactically and strategically a necessity even if Obama can't (or won't) see it.
As the title to this piece says: "When the cat's away, the mice will play." Silly me! I just assumed everyone would understand that the RATS would also slink from the shadows and contribute to the madness and mayhem, as well.
It's past time for the big cat to come home!
© J. D. Longstreet