The foreign policy of the United States of America under President Barack Obama is a disaster and is only going to get worse. It is difficult to point to any real success and the policy of leading from behind has been totally discredited. Around the world the enemies of the United States and its allies are on the move. The total collapse of the post war framework, put in place by the West after victory in World War II in 1945 and the Cold War in 1989 is a real possibility in Europe.
Meanwhile, in the Middle East borders and agreements are being dismantled, that have been in place some since the end of the First World War in 1919. In Asia the arrival of the Chinese superpower, finds an America uncertain in what interests and past treaties will need to be honored. The precariousness and uncertainty of all of this, will eventually lead to miscalculation and possibly war.
What a difference 6 years can make. Just a brief time ago at the end of another presidency, the United States stood at an apex of power. The enemies of the country were in retreat, fearful they would be attacked by the hyperactive military superpower.
The postwar order in the Middle East was obviously going to need a continuing American presence, if there was to be any hope of stability. The United States had been actively at war since the autumn of 2001. Enter the politician and foreign policy novice Barack Obama in 2009.
The new president immediately undertook policies that were politically expedient, but were detrimental to maintaining any semblance of order in the Middle East. The enemies of the United States and the West could now take heart. Here was what they had been waiting for. The leader of the largest military in the world at once, began to unravel American preeminence in the region by thought and deed. If one did not know how the United States would react in a situation this initiate would tell them. As the old hands and foreign policy experts in Washington were replaced by academics with little practical experience, the enemies of the United States and the West could not believe their good fortune.
As the new president received accolades on ushering in a new era in Europe and the Middle East, wiser heads knew what it would lead to. The only question at that time was how quickly President Obama would realize that speeches and expectations are meaningless, if they are not backed up by action and force if necessary. What these more experienced leaders failed to realize was the ideology of Obama would now prevent a reversal of policy and domestic politics in the United States would take precedence. No matter what the issue, the national political implications is what motivated this new type of president.
As is often the case with politicians who overestimate their own intelligence and ability the American president took it for granted, that the international state of affairs could be manipulated to suit domestic politics in the United States. He would never understand that actions or the lack thereof, would have serious consequences.
Unfortunately, for President Obama who has surrounded himself with inexperienced foreign policy advisers and worse yet, those whose line of reasoning has been discredited a generation or two ago, is about to find out what realpolitik is.
The American public at first disinterested, would allow the media to lull them into a belief that this new type of politician could at last, not only transform the country domestically, but could also modify the international order to its liking. Too late Americans would discover that they had been hoodwinked. That much of what they had been promised was not possible and the world was indeed a very dangerous place. The withdrawal of American power internationally, had not made things better. It had in fact emboldened the enemies of the United States and these forces were now on the march.
The international situation has recently reached a crescendo of violence and disorder that the media apologists and sympathizers can no longer ignore or explain away. Americans are treated to daily reports of horrific executions and wholesale slaughter of groups of people. Particularly startling is when it happens to American citizens overseas.
At long last, the citizenry are finally asking questions and wanting to know who shares in the responsibility for this debacle. The old standby of blaming your predecessor would no longer suffice. After 6 years of excuses, the American public no longer wanted to hear about the shortcomings of former President Bush, they wanted to know what President Obama was now going to do.
Today Americans will listen to the Prime Minister of Israel in addressing Congress, speak about not just the security of his country that President Obama is so willing to risk, but the very survival of his country. He is being held in disdain by the American president and his administration. One cannot expect foreign leaders who are paying the price for the misguided and foolish policies of the United States under President Obama to remain silent. Some Americans might now be wondering how is it that an American president is more interested in talking to the autocratic government of Iran than the democratically elected leadership of Israel? A country who has been a steadfast ally since its founding.
Any real student of history or pundit of international diplomacy, might have expected the events that are unfolding daily and being reported in American and world news. The wars and rumors of wars are everywhere. Many former arrangements and treaties are now in tatters, yet the same almost comical caste of characters arrive from the United States to assure everyone that what they see and hear is not real.
As former allies of the United States begin to question any new assurances being now given, the enemies of peace and stability continue to gather strength. For many this present scenario is a repeat of the international set of circumstances that existed in the 1930’s.
Much like Neville Chamberlain the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom before World War II, President Obama thinks that getting signatures on pieces of paper, will make the world safer and guarantee peace. That you can make binding agreements for example, with a government that refers to your country as the Great Satan is nonsensical.
Worse yet, the very agencies that are being asked to verify compliance in this case, is already stating that it is not possible. The country in question is Iran, the main sponsor of terrorism throughout the Middle East and other parts of the world. The issue at hand is whether this rogue nation should be permitted to develop nuclear weapons.
Failure of American diplomacy and steadfastness with Iran will have calamitous results. It will force other nations in the region to be forced to acquire nuclear capability as well. This will necessarily be the result, since the United States can no longer be trusted to keep its word. This was recently evidenced in Syria during 2012. The American president drew a red line about the use of chemical weapons against civilians. The Syrian president Bashir Assad went ahead and used then anyway.
One can argue about the wisdom of President Obama making such a threat against another head of state, but once made there needed to be serious consequences if the ultimatum was ignored. Although additional threats were made, no real action was initiated by the Americans. No doubt there were members of the Obama administration at the time that tried to convince themselves that this was not a big deal, but they were seriously mistaken.
Of course, President Obama now claims he never drew a red line, but this kind of walking back is for domestic politics only. The outside world pays no attention to this constant revision of history and recalibration of past words and actions. These narratives are strictly for American audiences and are not taken seriously overseas.
There is doubt that President Obama can actually see the connection to what happened in Syria an ally of Russia and the events now unfolding in the Ukraine. The Cold War victory pursued and achieved by American presidents Ronald Reagan, Bush the Elder, and a number of European leaders like British Prime Minster Margaret Thatcher in concert with Soviet leader Gorbachev, is now unraveling rapidly.
Vladimir Putin as leader of Russia now saw an opportunity to change the outcome of the Cold War somewhat. He would be able to change the borders of Europe by force. He had already tested the waters with the short war against Georgia in 2008 during the waning days of the Bush Administration. The events in Syria emboldened him, and he correctly assessed that President Obama was harsh with criticism, but short on action. Hence came the 2014 annexation of Crimea and the invasion of eastern Ukraine the largest country outside of France in Europe, if one does not include Russia. One need only look at the map to see what Putin’s objectives are.
That the borders of Ukraine were guaranteed by treaty signed by the United States, the United Kingdom, Russia and the Ukraine back in 1994, seems to be totally lost on the Obama Administration. Again it involved nuclear weapons. Ukraine would give them up if their territorial integrity was guaranteed. Apparently it ends with another piece of useless paper.
The Russian tanks are rolling ever deeper into Ukraine and President Obama continues to talk about if the United States should help the Ukrainians defend their country. Aid when provided is coming in non lethal methods. That a free country with a democratically elected government is to be denied American and western military aid against a larger aggressor, is not only shameful but sends a message of weakness and lack of will that will only encourage aggressors elsewhere to take action.
The ultimate aim of Putin is the destruction of NATO (North American Treaty Organization) headed by the United States and western Europe. Remember that Vladimir Putin believes that the biggest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century was the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the resulting loss of superpower status by Russia. The western alliance is already in serious jeopardy, with Russian backed forces pressing ever deeper into Ukraine. This is complicated by the presence of Russian troops in the breakaway state of Transnistria and the threat that poses to Moldova, to the west of Ukraine. Moldova is also a former republic of the Soviet Union, that Putin would like back in the Russian orbit.
Belarus to the west of Russia is already in line with Russian policy so the next logical target in Putin’s grand strategy will be the Baltic Republics. That they are members of NATO does complicate Putin’s scheme, but does not prevent it much to the chagrin of Obama apologists. An outright invasion would force war as other NATO members in Europe would demand a military response, so that is unlikely.
The strategy that was employed in Crimea will work best here. The Baltics are comprised of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Thanks to the policies of former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin concerning forced migration, all three have large minorities of Russian speakers. That some of them might by sympathetic to Russia, provides the opening that Putin will need.
As in Crimea the little green men will arrive. That is armed men with no official insignia. These men a mixture of Russian and local sympathizers would soon take control of communications, transportation and all the levers of governmental power. Within a matter of days they would be able to solidify power. This can be achieved quite easily if you consider that the population of all 3 countries combined, is less than 6.3 million.
The only way to make this less likely is to send NATO troops north now, which would complicate such an operation by Putin. It is a step President Obama and to be fair some European leaders are loathe to take, thinking wrongly that it will provoke a Russian attack. After all that is the reason Obama states is why the United States will not arm Ukraine militarily, because it might incite further Russian aggression. The parallels to the appeasements made to the dictators of the 1930 ’s, is foreboding and chilling.
One might well criticize the attempted deal struck by German chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Hollande with Putin to try to negotiate a ceasefire, but what choice did they actually have? In the coming confrontation with Russia, they already know they have a very reluctant military leader in President Obama.
The Obama Administration continues to cling to the mistaken belief that all differences and potential conflicts can be handled diplomatically. If the American president fails to act militarily when Russia moves against the Baltic Republics, the western alliance will collapse.
President Putin is also aware of the element of time in his calculation. A new president in the United States will most likely confront Russian aggression differently. The example of that can quite clearly be seen historically, if one considers the timing of the release of the American hostages held by Iran in 1981. It occurred as President Reagan was being inaugurated. The Iranians calculated correctly, that this new administration was much more likely to initiate a war to protect American interests. This belief in the end, actually prevented war at the time. It is a lesson that is repeatedly lost among those individuals who refuse to recognize in order to preserve the peace, you must be ready to engage in war if necessary.
The enemies of the United States and the West are fully aware that their time for action is short. In a mere 2 years a new president can dramatically shift the balance of power, once again. It is therefore of an urgency to expand and consolidate gains as much as possible, while President Obama remains in office.
The world will be a much more dangerous place in the next 2 years as one country after another succumbs to violence and collapse. The list is growing with Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen and Ukraine already in the quagmire. Other nations are waiting in the wings. These include Lebanon, Afghanistan, Mali, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sudan, Venezuela, and a number of the Gulf States to name just a few. The potential grows with every American and European misstep.
Too often the United States in the last few years particularly, will back the wrong side as was last evidenced with the Muslim brotherhood in Egypt. Allies and potential friends in the Middle East are rapidly dwindling, as nations begin to calculate that the United States is not really serious about confronting terrorism and groups like ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria).
If one is looking for an indication of this, notice the recent reversals of policy by the United Arab Emirates. Borders are being withdrawn and redone with impunity in the Middle East and the talk of eventual serious military action continues, to no avail. Even when groups are willing to fight for their own security and survival, help from the United States is slow in coming and easily diverted.
One can use the example of the Kurds. They are now fighting for their very survival. They continue to appeal to the United States and other countries for help. The Americans send military aid in this case, but insist that it go through the Iraqis central government. The result is the Kurds will not receive the help that was intended for them.
Fortunately for the Kurds, Germany is bypassing the central government and giving the Kurds direct military assistance. The Kurds could become good allies of the United States, but not if the Americans continue to insist that they remain part of a corrupt and discriminatory failed state of Iraq.
The same case can be made again and again, with different groups and countries around the globe. The Obama Administration continues to alienates allies and potential friends, in the pursuit of a nonsensical foreign policy. Knowing that a window of opportunity is closing, one wonders if North Korea and China will make a military move.
The North Koreans are totally unpredictable, but China in its vast land claims in the South China Sea and to Taiwan, may think that the time to strike will be before the Americans elect a new president. It is a nightmare that military planners in the United States and elsewhere have to contend with.
The coming economic and military conflagration presses ever harder on the minds of leaders in the West. There is increasing apprehension in more European capitals and cities around the world, as the violence and international disorder escalates.
In Washington, the American public is treated daily to the spectacle of an endless parade of word games and the personal ideology of partisan hacks. It would almost be amusing if the global circumstances were not so dire. The Obama Administration much like the Buchanan Administration that predated the American Civil War in the late 1850’s, continues to fumble and stumble forward, totally ambivalent to the coming catastrophe.
Great article. I really enjoyed how you walked us through the brief, but deadly, history of the Obama administrations foreign policy. Amateurish at best, deadly in effect. The results of that naive thought of “let’s just talk things out”, is unfolding before our very eyes with dire and lasting consequences.
Today I watched Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech before the United States Congress and one thing became absolutely crystal clear, Obama’s leading from behind foreign policy is an absolute failure. The Prime Minister chronicled the history of islamic jihadist terrorism and how previous administrations have dealt with it. Head end with both sanctions and force….not playing around. His pleas made evident the void in leadership this country has created in world affairs by lack of resolve and elemental understanding of the evils that exist. The sad truth it can only be one of two things, just a simple misunderstanding and underestimating of the true nature of the evils of terrorism or God forbid a complicit accomplice to the worst threat this world has seen since Hilter. God help us.
Thank you. I tried to cover as much detail in the article as I could. The United States and the world has not been in such a dangerous international environment since the middle of the 20th century. The present period compares well with the period of the late 1930’s. Not only in the actions of the tyrants and despots of those days, but in the tepid response of the Western democracies to them.
Politics and religion are two topics where in my opinion there is no right or wrong and merely opinions or beliefs. So, this is your opinion and I’m sure I can find an article on another political blog that differs with this opinion. As a day trader, and I believe this blog is about day trading or trading in general, I don’t care what the politics says as long as I’m liquid at the end of the day. All I care about is what the chart says and hopefully read it right on any given day.
If this blog turns into a political one, then its gonna drive some folks away and not to mention that politics is a very divisive issue. I can watch CNN, Fox News or whatever if I’m interested in hearing about the latest drama in politics. Why don’t we just stick to trading over here so that we can all have a common interest. I know for a fact, that trading is the reason why we are all here.
I completely understand your position. It is shared by many. Unfortunately, international events are beginning to effect the markets a great deal more than they had previously. The life blood of the world economy is oil. The supply of oil from the Middle East is vital. The flames of war and revolution are getting ever closer to these vital resources. If they fall, the resulting chaos with oil skyrocketing in price, will devastate markets around the world. This will effect individual trading a great deal. Another example is the war in Ukraine. This could lead to a wider war between NATO and Russia. Then the United States and Canada, along with Western Europe will be fighting in the heart of Europe against Russia. Worse yet, a nuclear escalation is always possible in this scenario. We can only imagine the results on the markets at this point.
Article has too many holes in it and much too bias. Just another guy writing the same headlines I’ve seen for the past 20 to 30 years that cater to the negative one sided bias instincts of our minds. To say that a any American President has simple policies and doesn’t understand what’s going on is in itself naïve and simple minded. Yet America continues to become the most prosperous and leading nation on earth.
Would you please give examples of the holes and bias that you claim are abundant in the article? It is over 3000 words already and I attempted to cover as many points and give as many examples as possible. To assume because someone is elected President that they automatically will have the prerequisites necessary to lead the country during a particularly tumultuous time, is indeed credulous. Yes, the United States continues to exhibit signs of prosperity and strength, but as any student of history will observe these markers are not automatic. The United States has been a superpower for a mere 70 years. Not very long from a historical perspective. Just 75 years ago the British Empire was so large that it contained 1/4 of the land surface of the earth. As the saying was at the time, the sun never sets on the British Empire. It did not last. Let us hope wiser leadership will allow the United States the ability to solve the increasing economic difficulties at home and the mounting challenges abroad. To assume that no matter whom the public elects to represent them will not make any difference, has led to some unfortunate results not only in the United States, but elsewhere as well. As President Obama himself has said repeatedly,elections have consequences. They do indeed.
The world seen through a narrow prism, backed up with scant facts, and about 17 paragraphs too long.
If you are claiming that not enough facts were provided in the support of the thesis, I do not see how cutting the article in half would be part of the remedy. When you say narrow prism, I gather it is one that you do not share. When covering such an expansive topic it would be difficult and I believe unnecessary to provide even greater detail. For example, the United States was one the the signatories on guaranteeing the borders and integrity of the Ukraine in exchange for their nuclear weapons. This treaty was signed in 1994. Such an agreement may now be inconvenient, for the present Administration in Washington along with the other nations that participated in the accord, but that it happened and is in force, cannot be disputed. So in this case what additional facts would be necessary in your opinion, to support the thesis? I could go through each item in the article in a similar manner but that would be impossible in this space. In other words, could you please identify which facts are in dispute by you, to create this narrow prism you insist the article presents?
Hagenmeier!!!! I didn’t know you had a blog online!!
Anyway, while I didn’t actually disagree with the actual information in the article, I thought the tone was a little hyperbolic and very similar to the fear mongering in the news every 5 minutes. Maybe in this case this tone was justified? The constant use of it in the media, however, to make people believe that every little thing will lead to disaster, when most clearly will not, makes you tired of hearing the “disaster is coming soon!” headline all the time, and perhaps suspicious of it when it may be partly true? The crying wolf too many times issue.
On some predictions made, you went with the worst possible scenario, when I think other possibilities could also happen. For example, the proposed “green men” invasion of the Baltic Republics is probably not the most likely scenario, since they are members of NATO, unlike Ukraine. Yes, there’s the 1994 treaty that’s being ignored, but that treaty is sort of vague on when and how help will be offered, which is being exploited; NATO is much more serious for the United States, its collapse would mark the end of US leadership in the world and I don’t think any US politician would actually be dumb enough to ignore it like they are doing with Ukraine’s treaty. If Russia extended its little green men to NATO countries, to use your analogy, it would be the equivalent of Poland in 1939, and they would be highly hesitant of doing that.