Fascinating essay over at Stratfor that details the hard decisions that Obama will have to make in the first few months after taking office.
I found the analysis of the situation in Afghanistan to be particularly interesting. Obama has promised to forge a coalition of NATO allies to help win the war there, as well as take some of the burden off of our own troops. I have always figured that to be a pipe dream since most of the European governments have cut back military budgets to the point that they simply cannot project force beyond their own borders without significant help from the Anglosphere, particularly the United States. What good will it do for President Obama to go to the Europeans, hat in hand, and ask for a greater military commitment when there simply is no military for them to commit?
Many of the people I know in the US military have expressed similar thoughts to me. It seems to be weighing rather heavily on their minds of late.
Anyway, there really is nothing that I can add that would be of any use. Click on that link at the top of this post to read it for yourself.
(Hat tip to Shooter.)
5 thoughts on “Obama’s Foreign Policy Challenges”
The Europeans, specifically Germany and Sweden, are already making it clear that there will be no greater contribution. Somehow I don’t think President Obama’s popularity will survive his first formal request for more troops in Afghanistan, or any attempts to introduce those promised protectionist measures.
The analysis underestimates the extent to which domestic political developments will affect Obama’s foreign policy. The reverberations from a bankruptcy of any of the Big 3 automakers, which seem more probable by the day, will be substantial and unpredictable. Paulson’s attention to the disruption to the consumer credit markets also signals that the credit crunch could soon hit Elm Street, with implications for the breadth of Obama’s support. Democrat control of the legislature may not prove to be the blessing for a Democrat President that one normally might expect. Understanding the ’30s becomes easier daily.
There will be no new help from Europe, at least in any significant numbers. But Obama will deliver on his additional troop promise. He already wants to significantly increase the numbers of Soldiers and Marines, and with the help of a falling economy and willingness to increase deficits, he should be able to recruit those new troops. The better question is what he’s going to do with those troops when he gets them there.
I won’t pretend that I’m better informed than the essayists at Stratfor, but, really, an essay about the challenges facing the new administration with no mention of the Chinese, Indians, or Japanese? No mention of Korea?
I’m sorry, but this author is trapped in the Eurocentrism of the last century. Europe is already gone. The future of the US lies first in Asia, and secondly in S. America, both of which are chock full of very serious challenges all their own.
Europe is a dead issue, and the cooperation or lack of it by comatose bureaucratic glaciers masquerading as soveriegn states is meaningless.
I’m sure the analyst in the essay is correct as far as it goes, but to call it incomplete is a massive understatement.
The other nasty truth is that American commanders don’t want more European forces. Reason why: With a very few exceptions like Great Britian and Poland, the European armies have let their technological capabilities fall so far behind that they are no longer capable of interoperating with U.S. forces. As such, they are largely reduced to the status of immobile obstacles. Add to that the fact that most are burdened by their governments with rules of engagement that pretty much require dedicating American soldiers to defending them, and they become more a liability than a help.
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