I hear many people say, and read what many people write, “why is it our job to protect the world?” Well, here is my answer on that. “Look at history. See what happens when the USA is weak, wishy washy, run by appeasers, and isolationist.” WWI and WWII come to mind.
So now we are taking our troops back to pre WWII levels. Where do you think that will get us? What do you think will happen? It is already happening. The middle east is on fire, Japan and China are feuding over islands and bodies of water. Richard Cohen has written this in today’s Washington Post Susan Rice and the retreat of American power.
Ukraine on its own would be a formidable challenge. But it is not alone. It is, in fact, just another place on the globe where nationalism joins separatism to create instability. In September, Scotland will vote on secession from the United Kingdom, and while an independent Scotland is a threat to no one but the Scots (What are they thinking?), it is part of a trend.
Catalonia is uncomfortable in Spain. Belgium is forever breaking up, and in Italy, the Northern League wants nothing to do with the south. Yugoslavia, once one nation, is now effectively seven, Czechoslovakia is two, and the former Soviet Union is now 15 separate nations, one of them being Ukraine. In the Middle East, Syria is flying apart, a Kurdistan is gestating, Iraq will never be the same. And in the Far East, Japan and China, feeling their nationalistic oats, bicker over a collection of rocks.
An increasingly messy world is looking for guidance. But not only does the United States refuse to be its policeman, it won’t even be its hall monitor. The utterly false choice in Syria articulated by Rice — America can do nothing because it won’t do everything — is noticed by the rest of the world. Obama threatened “consequences” if someone stepped “over the line” in Ukraine. Ah, another line. Is it red?
Others are writing of the state of the world also. Ed Rogers writes that America’s decline could be come a campaign issue. And it certainly should be. In that opinion piece he says this:
And no less than Washington Post Editorial Page Editor Fred Hiatt says that the president’s “turnabout on foreign policy has been … dizzying” as President Obama adjusts his rhetoric to match the elections. Each makes the point that the president is either leading the retreat from the world stage or bungling America’s foreign policy.
But, of course, being a campaign issue is not the main point. The stability of the world is at risk. When we are weak others want our place, and they are not as well intentioned as most in the USA are. In the Wall Street Journal Niall Ferguson writes of America’s Global Retreat and says this
The scale of the strategic U.S. failure is best seen in the statistics for total fatalities in the region the Bush administration called the “Greater Middle East”—essentially the swath of mainly Muslim countries stretching from Morocco to Pakistan. In 2013, according to the International Institute of Strategic Studies, more than 75,000 people died as a result of armed conflict in this region or as a result of terrorism originating there, the highest number since the IISS Armed Conflict database began in 1998. Back then, the Greater Middle East accounted for 38% of conflict-related deaths in the world; last year it was 78%.
Mr. Obama’s supporters like nothing better than to portray him as the peacemaker to George W. Bush’s warmonger. But it is now almost certain that more people have died violent deaths in the Greater Middle East during this presidency than during the last one.
As Nixon-era Secretary of State Henry Kissinger argued more than half a century ago in his book “A World Restored,” balance is not a naturally occurring phenomenon. “The balance of power only limits the scope of aggression but does not prevent it,” Dr. Kissinger wrote. “The balance of power is the classic expression of the lesson of history that no order is safe without physical safeguards against aggression.”
What that implied in the 19th century was that Britain was the “balancer”—the superpower that retained the option to intervene in Europe to preserve balance. The problem with the current U.S. geopolitical taper is that President Obama is not willing to play that role in the Middle East today. In his ignominious call to inaction on Syria in September, he explicitly said it: “America is not the world’s policeman.”
But balance without an enforcer is almost inconceivable. Iran remains a revolutionary power; it has no serious intention of giving up its nuclear-arms program; the talks in Vienna are a sham. Both sides in the escalating regional “Clash of Sects”—Shiite and Sunni—have an incentive to increase their aggression because they see hegemony in a post-American Middle East as an attainable goal.
I am not a national figure, I have no stature in political circles, but I have lived a long time and I see the world through eyes that were young during Pearl Harbor, but I remember it well and I remember history beyond then and up until today. I have always loved history and know very well the old saying “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It is my sincere hope and wish that the USA does not allow a global war to happen because we followed a man known as Barack Hussein Obama over the cliff.