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Chasing Obama’s Foreign Policy – II

Posted by on Nov 26th, 2008 and filed under Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

By YOUSEF DRUMMOND

ALL American presidents endure crushing responsibilities; the most important among them is what foreign policy direction or “world-view” she or he intends to carry out and how to implement it “concretely” on the ground to achieve particular results that will hopefully improve theirs’ and other nation’s national security.  Contrary to popular belief among foreign policy experts, particularly those associated with the Bush Administration’s “crash and burn” approach, a national leader’s “world-view” of foreign policy must be associated with a moral dimension that avoids old-fashioned foreign policy concepts that box other nations in a Manichean world-view and foster national imperialist goals.  This approach to foreign policy generates three important consequences:  it dissolves a common perception among nations and peoples today that the United States must, at all costs, remain the most powerful nation on Earth; it allows for a more reciprocal relationship between other world-leaders, one that strengthens a “united front” against pressing trans-national threats; and one that creates a strong level of national security here in the United States.

That Usama bin Laden, the purported leader of that menacing and destructive organization called Al-Qaeda, rose to prominence on the world-stage, only to exact the most horrific terrorist attack here in the United States and other European countries such as Great Britain and Spain, is a direct consequence of an out-dated foreign policy that aimed to “force” a solution to the world’s problems.  This doesn’t mean that the United States should be “soft” on terrorism; terrorism is a real threat to global stability and must be crushed.  International terror is the new trans-national threat to civilization as we know it today.  And common sense tells us that this trans-national threat could not have developed in a vacuum.

For eight years now the world has witnessed the Bush Administration’s corrosive foreign policy that neither benefits the United States nor any other nation.  Its world-view of foreign policy allowed the United States to invade Iraq’s sovereignty on a mistaken notion, due to faulty intelligence, that Saddam Hussein’s political activities were associated with Al-Qaeda and Usama bin Laden.  It then had recourse to force “regime change” in Iraq by enforcing a particular view of representative government unique to a Eurocentric world-view.  This most “powerful” nation on Earth, with all its resources at its disposal, could not have allowed itself to fight threats without sufficient intelligence.  The result is that this nation expended wasteful billions upon billions of dollars on misdirected military expeditions.  Colin Powell, an expert military commander and secretary of state during the first four years of the Bush Administration, is keenly aware of this point.

We are witnessing a change in foreign policy in an Obama administration that supplants “neocon-ism” with “realism”.  A realistic approach to foreign policy demonstrates that other nations must negotiate coolly, not aggressively, with each other to achieve national interests.  The only consequence of a “neo-con” approach to foreign policy is a sense of alienation among other world-leaders. This is precisely the consequences of the Bush Administration’s debacle in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. One by one, other nations began to distance themselves from this nation’s involvement in the Iraq War by pulling out their troops. 

Richard Danzing, Secretary of the Navy during the Clinton Administration, recently made this statement about Barack Obama:  “Having worked for two Presidents and with many Presidential candidates during the last thirty years, I have not seen one as psychologically well balanced, and as good about not injecting his ego into a problem”.  Obama’s qualities are an attractive alternative to George W. Bush.  Obama views foreign policy with a view of how America looks to non-Americans.  Barack Obama believes that Great power competition, long a staple of American foreign policy, no longer exists.  Instead, Obama wants to build a new international consensus around trans-national threats and its challenges.  The United States, Obama believes, should instead focus on “terrorist networks intent on repelling or disrupting the forces of globalization, potential pandemic diseases like avian flu, or catastrophic changes in the earth’s (sic) climate”.  In April, 2007, Barack Obama delivered his first foreign-policy address in Chicago:  “When narco-trafficing and corruption threaten democracy in Latin America, it’s America’s problem, too.  When poor villagers in Indonesia have no choice but to send chickens to market infected with avian flu, it cannot be seen as a distant concern.  When religious schools in Pakistan teach hatred to young children, our children are threatened as well.  Whether it’s global terrorism or pandemic disease, dramatic climate change or the proliferation of weapons of mass annihilation, the threats we face at the dawn of the twenty-first century can no longer be contained by borders and boundaries”. 

Expect an Obama administration to add new elements to U.S. foreign-policy “tool-kit”.  These new elements will seek to avoid traditional nation-to-nation military and diplomatic dealings and dismiss notions that world conflicts should be managed but not resolved through supportive environments.

The writer is a recent revert to Islam and can be contacted at:  drummondhugh@verizon.net          

  

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