Saturday, March 26, 2011

Why Obama's Foreign Policy is Such a Mess

Iran is on the brink of getting nuclear weapons and its declared goal is to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. Islamists are seizing power throughout the Middle East. Turkey has turned away from the West to rediscover its inner Islamofascism. Israel is increasingly isolated. China owns more and more of the debt of the US as the US drowns in ever-increasing deficits. Obama announces a withdrawal date from Afghanistan, which encourages the Taliban to hold on. Pakistan is in chaos as usual. North Korea is restless. Nobody fears the US, especially the radical Islamists, who have sized Obama up and concluded that he is a paper tiger. The UK descends into relativism and anti-Christian cultural Marxism while the US gives its former main ally the back of its hand. Obama bows to dictators and then acts in such a way as to make sure we know it wasn't just symbolic. The French are more decisive in Libya than the US. - the French, for heaven's sake!

What an unbelievable mess: Barack Obama makes George Bush look like George Washington!

George Weigel has a wonderful post at National Review Online explaining the worldview of the currently dominant wing of the Democratic Party. It is entitled: "How Democrats View the World." He writes:
"Those ideas have a precise and definable origin: They first emerged when the New Left challenged the Truman/Acheson/Kennedy/(Scoop) Jackson Democratic consensus during the Vietnam War. In softer forms, they then became the new orthodoxy among Democratic foreign-policy mandarins like Cyrus Vance and Warren Christopher. Despite the fiascos to which these ideas led during the Carter and Clinton administrations (cf. the Iran hostage crisis and the American inability to prevent genocide in the Balkans), and despite the efforts of some in the old Democratic Leadership Council to change the intellectual template of Democratic foreign-policy thinking, these bad ideas have shown a remarkable resilience. They remain operative at all levels of the Obama foreign-policy team; they explain a great deal of what otherwise seems inexplicably stupid over the past several weeks; and they must be challenged by any 2012 Republican presidential candidate serious about American leadership in the world."
He then lists eight ideas:
1. Conflict is not the normal political phenomenon that it was assumed to be for millennia. Conflict is an aberration, and if there is conflict between nations or blocks of nations, or within nations, it must be because of some palpable injustice, the remedying of which will assuage the conflict in question and restore the natural order, which is peace.

2. Peace is not a matter of a rightly ordered and law-governed political community; rather, “peace” is a state of mind that can be willed into being.

3. The notion that the United States should actively seek to shape world politics is pernicious, not for the old isolationist reason that it’s bad for us, but because we tend to be bad for the world. Thus the United States should withdraw from the leadership role it has played in world affairs since 1941, scale down its military commitments, eventually end its work as global sheriff . . .

4. The use of armed force is almost always a bad idea and reflects, not the intractability of certain situations to other forms of conflict-resolution, but a failure of imagination and will on the part of U.S. policymakers. Moreover, if a combination of pressures compels the occasional use of force, the prime strategic imperative is to devise an exit strategy that will end the use of force at the earliest possible moment.

5. The present state system should be replaced by some form of international governance, in which multilateral and international bodies play the leading role.

6. The primary responsibility of U.S. policymakers is to advance the construction of a multilaterally organized and run international order, not to defend and advance the interests of the United States.

7. With the Cold War (which was in no small part Harry Truman’s fault) now over, there is no power, group of powers, or ideology that poses any grave threat to the United States.

8. We are not the indispensable nation. There is nothing morally or politically distinctive, much less special, about the American democratic experiment in ordered liberty. So there is no distinctively American approach to world politics, and the United States ought not seek any distinctive role in 21st-century world affairs.
He expand on each one briefly. Read it all here.

It is obvious that the intellectual father of these ideas is not Augustine, but the modern anti-Augustine: J. J. Rousseau. It is also obvious that these ideas are incompatible with a Christian worldview, in which evil is real, original sin is universal and peace is an elusive goal in this present age. The roots of these ideas are Utopianism and Pelagianism.

No wonder Obama's foreign policy is such a disaster. It is not because he is inexperienced or because the world is particularly bad right now, it is because his beliefs are wrong and his worldview does not correspond to reality. Bad ideas lead to death, destruction, tyranny, injustice and war.

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