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Posts Tagged ‘Venezuela’

The Weak-willed President and his Abject Foreign Policy Failure

April 8, 2014 Leave a comment

Our allies and our enemies have seriously recalculated where the U.S. stands. It was not difficult to define American geopolitical strategy over the seven decades following World War II — at least until 2009. It was largely bipartisan advocacy, most lead_from_behind_MDambitiously, for nations to have the freedom of adopting constitutional governments that respected human rights, favored free markets, and abided by the rule of law. And at the least, we sought a world in which states could have any odious ideology they wished as long as they kept it within their own borders. There were several general strategic goals as we calculated our specific aims, both utopian and realistic.

(1) The strategic cornerstone was the protection of a small group of allies that, as we did, embraced consensual government and free markets, and were more likely to avoid human-rights abuses. That eventually meant partnerships with Western and later parts of Eastern Europe, Great Britain, and much of its former Empire, such as Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. In Asia, the American focus was on Japan, the Philippines, South Korea, and Taiwan. The U.S. military essentially guaranteed the security of these Asian nations, and they developed safely, shielded from Soviet or Chinese Communist aggression, and more recently from Russian or Chinese provocations. Read more…

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Why People-Powered Revolutions are Overrated

March 22, 2014 Leave a comment

Kiev’s mass anti-government protests are a thing of the past, but the barricades remain, a shrine to the victims. Visitors trickle through the site, paying homage to thearticle_inset_lifer_0 Heavenly Hundred, those murdered in the final days of the struggle. The martyrs’ names are taped to the trees, their photographs covered in mounds of flowers. Children holding little Ukrainian flags pose for photographs in front of these monuments. They don’t smile.

They will remember coming here for the rest of their lives, for this is how nations are built: on legends, on emotions, on stories of heroes. Tales of those who stood for months in the square will be told and retold. But that doesn’t mean that the protesters will necessarily have triumphed. On the contrary, Ukrainians are about to learn that the exhilaration of “people power”—mass marches, big demonstrations, songs, and banners—is always an illusion. And sooner or later, the illusion wears off. Read more…

There Has Been and Will Be No Obama Doctrine

March 19, 2014 Leave a comment

By the beginning of 1980, Jimmy Carter was in big trouble. Almost everything he had said or done in foreign policy over the prior three years had failed — and he wasobama-doctrine-cartoon running for reelection.

Carter had come into office in 1977 promising a new American stance abroad predicated on human rights. He bragged of an end to our supposedly inordinate fear of Soviet-inspired Communism. He entertained the hope of not losing a single American soldier in combat during his tenure. And he rejected the realpolitik of the Nixon-Kissinger years.

The State Department would end the excessive influence of the bellicose National Security Council. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance would put a kinder, gentler face on American diplomacy. We championed Robert Mugabe in Zimbabwe over more moderate black reformers. We broke with the Shah of Iran, who fled his country in January 1979. We for a while praised the Ayatollah Khomeini and sought ways to reach out to him. Read more…

Obama’s New World Disorder

March 6, 2014 Leave a comment
President’s foreign policy invites chaos. kn032311dAPR20110323064519

Count me among those — a dwindling minority, I’m afraid — who think that politics should end at the water’s edge. No one, Republican or Democrat, ought to take pleasure at the spectacle of America’s foreign policies failing and the perception of America as a hobbled giant.

That is, self-evidently, what we’re seeing: Russian boots are on the ground in UkraineNorth Korea is firing missiles. Iran’s negotiators are playing high-stakes poker, while the U.S.-led side doesn’t seem to know a flush from a straight.

In SyriaIran’s proxies confront al Qaeda forces (forces the administration two years ago congratulated itself for having defeated) while the much-ballyhooed agreement to remove chemical weapons has stalled.

Hard-won gains in Iraq have been squandered. There’s a real possibility that the Taliban will reclaim Afghanistan once American troops depart. Venezuela is in turmoil. China is acting the bully in Asia. Read more…

A World Without Consequences

March 4, 2014 Leave a comment

Why Putin, Assad, and their ilk are making chaos the new normal. Russia invades Ukraine. The United States responds with threats of unspecific “costs” Moscow will shield from follyincur if it doesn’t reverse course. We offer Putin-esque photos of Obama in almost comically aggressive postures on a telephone call with the Russian leader. We threaten not to invite Russian President Vladimir Putin to future summits of global big shots. NATO dispatches some of its elite corps of press release writers to offer up limp admonitions. And the U.S. president’s critics are left wondering aloud: Is this the weakest American president since Jimmy Carter? Or is it unfair to Carter to include him in that question? House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers illustrated the critique, suggesting that “Putin is playing chess” while “we’re playing marbles.”

Or alternatively, in the view of the president’s defenders, perhaps Barack Obama is just doing as much as a responsible president, respectful of his mandate and the current limitations on American power, can do.  Read more…

Iran’s Offensive in America’s Backyard

June 4, 2012 Leave a comment

While much attention lately has rightly been focused on Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the mullahs have also been busy elsewhere-especially in America’s own backyard. During Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s two-term presidency, Iran has expanded its activity in the Western Hemisphere to an alarming degree.

Tehran has found hospitable terrain among some of Latin America’s most anti-American regimes, including in Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela. The jihadist regime’s hundreds of commercial, diplomatic and security ventures across the region not only help it break out of isolation, evade U.S. and international sanctions and forge relationships that provide access to needed resources, but also gain a foothold for Iranian intelligence, military and terrorist operations within striking distance of the American homeland. Read more…