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  • Coming Into Focus

    Posted by James R. Rummel on March 15th, 2010 (All posts by )

    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.

     

    6 Responses to “Coming Into Focus”

    1. mishu Says:

      This is the best personal relationship he has with *any* foreign leader? An he was supposed to be the charismatic one.

    2. Robert Schwartz Says:

      “And yet, there is nothing in his memoirs about how anyone from Israel beat up someone related to the President.”

      Yes, but the holy koran tells believers how to treat Jews.

    3. Robert Schwartz Says:

      Here is a whole “who shot John” on BO vs Israel:

      http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/01/barack_obama_and_israel.html

    4. Marty Says:

      Maybe.

      Or, maybe it’s just conventional left-liberal attitudes (“thinking” would give it too much credit).

      Capitalism = bad

      US role in the world = bad since 1945

      US friends since 1945 = mostly bad

      Those opposed to US = mostly good

      Cold War = US started it

      and so on.

      If those quasi-thoughts underlay your approach to tehw orld and you are (a) not very bright and (b) not very curious to learn more, and (c) too dim and immature to think your actions might have consequences—what would your forign policy look like?

    5. Gene Says:

      I know many, many, many left-leaning people who are essentially isolationist — and have been for decades. The overlap between people with that attitude and strong Obama supporters is very large.

    6. Shannon Love Says:

      I think Obama’s problem with foreign policy are multifold but his major problem is that he comes from a very restricted and insular subculture of leftists subculture. His entire career and his entire outlook have been shaped by the politics of the major urban cores of the American northeast. He has zero experience of anything outside the political activist community of those urban cores.

      I don’t think he really understands the role of the President. I believe that at his core, he really thinks of himself as a kind of super mayor of a large old style urban core city.

      He thinks he’s a Daley. He thinks his primary obligations and concerns are those of big city major. He only understands the problems and perspectives of people immediately involved in big city, machine politics.

      For a big city mayor, foreign affairs barely exist at all and that is how Obama runs his Presidency. Combine that indifference with the standard leftist trope that all foreign policy problems are ultimately simply blowback from the stupid and selfish actions of the American right and you have a recipe for someone who believes that (1) foreign policy is a minor concern and that (2) he has solved most of foreign policy problem just by being the wonderful person that he is.

      Of course, as his Presidency fails he will turn to foreign policy to try and salvage his legacy. However, I think he will have burned to many bridges and made himself look to ineffectual to accomplish anything.