Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Screw Turns: Maybe the "American Empire" Wasn't So Bad After All

Niles Gardner, writing in his Daily Telegraph blog this morning expresses the second thoughts many Europeans are having over the fact that their wish has come true and the White House is now occupied by someone who does not believe in American Exceptionalism or an active role for American power worldwide. All those anti-American, European Leftists, cowering in safety under the US nuclear shield, who decried "Globalization," "American hegemony" and "the American Empire" have had their wish come true.

As 2010 draws to a close, the United States faces a world that is ever more dangerous, with the looming spectre of a nuclear-armed Iran in the Middle East, a resurgent and increasingly aggressive Russia in Europe, a rising totalitarian power in the East in the form of China, a malevolent rogue state in North Korea, and the global threat of Islamist terrorism. Yet Washington seems almost passive in the face of these huge challenges, with an administration whose focus is overwhelmingly upon domestic politics, and lacking any coherent long-term vision in maintaining America’s place as the world’s superpower.

Last week The Times of London summed up the fears of many US allies in an editorial on the passing of veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke, when it lamented America’s lack of leadership in the face of its competitors:

America today is arguably less convinced in its moral mission than at any time in the past century. This unease spreads to its natural allies worldwide. As global power shifts, and other growing economic powers learn to flex their might, the West appears increasingly uncertain in its occasional role as the world’s policeman.

The Times makes a strong point. With Ronald Reagan you knew clearly where America stood, and it what it stood for, with the key goal of building up America’s military might, and defeating the Soviet Empire. More recently under George W. Bush, the presidency had a twin strategy in foreign policy of advancing liberty across the world, while waging war against al-Qaeda and its backers.

With Barack Obama there appears to be no great moral cause which drives his foreign policy, no overarching strategy for enhancing American global power, no concept of a global war against Islamist militants, and no desire to strengthen America’s defences. In fact Obama’s approach to international affairs is the exact opposite of Reagan’s. It is based upon a naïve belief that America’s enemies can be won over through “engagement” rather than confronted with maximum strength . . .

Unlike Reagan, Obama does not even believe in American exceptionalism, and is not driven by a sense of American greatness and destiny as the leader of the free world. Nor does he appreciate the importance of preserving and building America’s alliances. For President Obama, the Anglo-American Special Relationship is an irritation rather than a centerpiece of Western leadership in the world. The Obama administration’s betrayal of America’s closest friend over the Falklands is something Reagan would have greatly deplored.

All that remains is for Obama to withdraw all US troops from Europe and dissolve NATO. Then the Europeans can see if it is possible to borrow enough on the bond market to fund the creation of a military strong enough to defend it from invaders from the East and Middle East. A nuclear Russia will want to assert itself in Eastern Europe again and a nuclear Iran will want to impose Islam on Europe at an even faster rate and we will see if Europe has the ability to maintain its cushy welfare state and defend its sovereignty at that same time.

Meanwhile, the US can retreat into isolationism as if it were the 19th century again and create "Fortress North America." Left-wingers can rejoice that now there is no one to prevent North Korea from conquering South Korea or prevent Israel from being destroyed by Muslims. China can assert its power over Africa, Indonesia can be radicalized and persecute Christians. Chavez can make Bolivia into a Stalinist hell-hole. Every tin-pot dictator in the world can become a nuclear power. And the list goes on.

What a great Utopian vision! What wonderful freedom and peace and justice will undoubtedly ensue once the Great Satan retreats into its fortress like Saruman holed up in a flooded Isengard. What great foolishness paraded as wisdom!

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