I posted an essay last month, discussing how the Obama administration took a stance concerning the Falkland Islands that was sure to annoy Great Britain.
The reason as I see it for this strange move, which is almost certainly going to very slightly erode the special relationship that the United States enjoys with the UK without gaining anything in return, is due to Obama’s overall foreign policy vision.
It would seem that he is pursuing a Jeffersonian strategy, where commitments beyond our borders are seen as messy and dangerous. An added bonus to divesting the US of allies is that military spending can be cut in favor of domestic budgets, as there will be few reasons to project power across the globe if we don’t have any friends.
Two items that Glenn linked to yesterday support my conclusions.
The first is a rather plaintive op-ed from The Times UK. The author asks “Does Barack Obama give a damn about us?”, and then goes on to answer the question with a resounding “No”.
But something particularly significant is buried eight paragraphs down.
“When the Washington Post columnist Jackson Diehl asked White House officials to name a foreign leader with whom Obama had forged a personal relationship, there was “a lot of hemming and hawing”, he said. To his astonishment, no one mentioned Gordon Brown. Instead the name proffered was Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president.”
Traditional allies are snubbed and ignored, while the President makes nice with countries that have been historically opposed to us. The former is a cynical move designed to undermine and sabotage alliances, while the latter is an equally cynical move to provide weight to the claim that America doesn’t need a globe spanning military because we don’t need to face down the bad guys anymore.
In private conversations I have had about this, many people have pointed out that Pres. Obama has a personal mad on when it comes to Old Blighty. It seems that, in one of the two books he penned, he mentions how his grandfather was beaten by British troops in colonial Kenya. It is all family history and private prejudices.
And yet, there is nothing in his memoirs about how anyone from Israel beat up someone related to the President.
This might seem like a non sequitur, but please note how the current administration is following the same strategy with the tiny state of Israel that it has chosen to follow concerning Great Britain. Those regimes which are opposed to both the US and our traditional allies are pursued with ardor, while the countries and people which have proven to be our greatest friends are subjected to contempt and disdain.
It could very well be that I am misreading the situation. Perhaps our current President simply has little knowledge and less interest of how our strategic and diplomatic relationships have served the US in the past. It could be that what I discussed above is simply hubris and miscalculation, and not the opening moves to align our foreign policy towards isolationism. But I don’t think so.
A deliberate manipulation of world wide opinion, or simply a stunning naivete of foreign affairs? I’m not sure which one would be worse.