The Appeaser

The National Security Strategy (NSS) released by the Barack Obama administration on May 27 is not so much a look forward as a look back. It is an attempt to return to the optimistic days following the end of the Cold War when it seemed a peaceful new world order was possible. In 1999, President Bill Clinton claimed “perhaps for the first time in history, the world’s leading nations are not engaged in a struggle with each other for security or territory. The world clearly is coming together.” President Obama says essentially the same thing in the opening paragraph of his cover letter to the NSS when he notes that “globalization”—the buzz word of the post-Cold War era — has “made peace possible among the major powers.” The dangers that remain are of a different sort, “from international terrorism and the spread of deadly technologies, to economic upheaval and a changing climate.”

That the world looked like the classical liberal model expounded by Clinton in 1999 was doubtful even then. A decade later, the cracks are even larger. Five months before the terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001, a Chinese fighter rammed a U.S. Navy EP-3 reconnaissance plane over the South China Sea, an area Beijing has been trying to claim as sovereign territory. The rise of China and the emergence of other ambitious powers herald not a new world but a new cycle in the old world of international rivalry. The NSS explicitly rejects the “world as it is” in its attempt to fashion “the world we seek.” But the NSS does not lay out a path between worlds; it simply assumes the new world already exists.

There are still a few odds and ends to be cleaned up from the Bush administration, such as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The NSS pledges “a focus on defeating al-Qa’ida and its affiliates in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and around the globe” but sees no real dangers after that which would require a military effort. Though the NSS identifies the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (nuclear and biological) as problems, the two most menacing rogue states, North Korea and Iran, are to be dealt with through diplomacy. As the NSS states on page 23, “If North Korea eliminates its nuclear weapons program, and Iran meets its international obligations on its nuclear program, they will be able to proceed on a path to greater political and economic integration with the international community. If they ignore their international obligations, we will pursue multiple means to increase their isolation and bring them into compliance with international nonproliferation norms.” This is at best a containment policy.

But how can Pyongyang or Tehran be contained, let alone “isolated” when they have friends among the other major powers? The NSS depends on there being a consensus among the powers on issues like non-proliferation within a general spirit of cooperation. That is not how world politics is evolving.

According to the NSS, “The European Union has deepened its integration. Russia has reemerged in the international arena as a strong voice. China and India—the world’s two most populous nations—are becoming more engaged globally. From Latin America to Africa to the Pacific, new and emerging powers hold out opportunities for partnership, even as a handful of states endanger regional and global security by flouting international norms.” Under the Obama policy, “We are working to build deeper and more effective partnerships with other key centers of influence—including China, India, and Russia, as well as increasingly influential nations such as Brazil, South Africa, and Indonesia—so that we can cooperate on issues of bilateral and global concern, with the recognition that power, in an interconnected world, is no longer a zero sum game.”

The integration of the EU is being called into question by the sovereign debt crisis that has ripped through Greece and has threatened to spread to Spain, Portugal, and Ireland. The single euro currency, once thought to be an alternative to the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, is in free fall. Euro skeptics in England, France, Holland and Germany are balking at “saving” the Mediterranean and Eastern members of the bloc.

The NSS singles out Brazil for special praise saying, “We welcome Brazil’s leadership and seek to move beyond dated North-South divisions to pursue progress on bilateral, hemispheric, and global issues.” Yet, Brazil just brokered a deal with Iran over its nuclear enrichment program meant to shield it from a new round of UN sanctions being pushed by the U.S. Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva had told President Obama personally at the Nuclear Security Summit that he would not back additional sanctions on Iran, and repeated this stance when meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Brasilia immediately after the two leaders left Washington. The Hu-Lula meeting took place within the larger context of a BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, and China) summit where the emerging powers coordinate policies formulated primarily against the positions of the United States and EU.

South Africa joins the mix in BASIC (Brazil, South Africa, India, China), a coalition at the UN that opposes the American and European demand for mandated limits on green house gas emissions to fight alleged global warming. Supported by Russia and the group of 77 developing nations, BASIC represents the world’s rejection of President Obama’s obsession about climate change that appears repeatedly in the NSS as a priority global threat.

The core value of BASIC and its allies is unrestricted economic growth, which means intensified competition in domestic and world markets. For some time, American officials have made it clear that unless China, India and Brazil provide substantial market access to U.S. exports commensurate with their high economic growth rates, there can be no conclusion to the Doha Round of trade talks. These negotiations have been stalled virtually from their inception in 2001 due to a fundamental clash of national interests.

The Obama administration has hailed China and Russia for supporting a draft sanctions proposal against Iran at the UN. Yet, Beijing and Moscow watered down the resolution to prevent it from crippling the Tehran regime. Most importantly, Russia and China will be allowed to continue investing in Iran’s energy sector, which will boost the country’s revenues which the mullah’s use to finance their aggressive foreign policy as well as nuclear development. To improve relations, the Obama administration dropped sanctions against Moscow’s state arms export agency and three Russian entities previously found to have transferred technology or weapons to Iran. The UN sanctions proposal would also allow the Russians to sell S-300 air defense missiles (which have an anti-missile capability) to Tehran. So even if the UN Security Council adopts the resolution, it will not “isolate” Iran from its main international backers.

Nor is international rivalry confined to economics and rogue states. China’s massive military modernization program, led by new weapon systems designed to attack U.S. and allied forces across Asia, is not mentioned in the NSS. To do so would have undermined the fanciful vision of a peaceful, cooperative world. It would also have called into question why the Obama Pentagon is cutting back on the high-end conventional forces, from armored units and air superiority fighters to missile defense and naval shipbuilding, that would be needed to not only counter rising “peer” competitors like China but to defeat major regional powers like North Korea and Iran.

The NSS attempts to conjure up a world in which an NSS is not needed, but the Obama administration does not have the power to change the true, dangerous nature of global politics. What the NSS reveals is the unwillingness of President Obama to deal with the world as it is. Thus, America will remain vulnerable, as its leaders are continually blindsided by the strategies of adversaries they cannot bring themselves to think about.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/WilliamJWard WilliamJamesWard

    With a president like Obama we do not need enemies and will not be able to keep
    any friends, evil attracts like and America is on a down hill ride with the present
    false generation of politicians. Enough of the PC rot and nanny state, we are
    confronted by thieves emptying the treasury and destroying our economy and
    it goes back to Bill Clinton, the democrats will never wake up, just morph into
    and unrecognizable rabbel bent on self destruction, lets not let that hapen.
    The November elections will be the most important in our History……..William

    • Kanwi

      Passive Jihad can not be ruled out but at this time it may be incompetence. Why are there so many question marks about Obama that won't be answered?

      • http://intensedebate.com/people/WilliamJWard WilliamJamesWard

        I sent you a reply earlier Kanwi but it is sidelined somewhere. I think the man
        is and actor, take off his mask and there is another underneath, he does
        well as long as the lines are in front of his nose, he is a man meant to play
        a part but is never that man. A man without personal character, void in the
        core of his being, always play acting…………and its going bad for us as he is
        being pumped with all anti-American scenarios. As president he is not
        being assassinated like Lincoln at a play, he is playing president and is
        assaassinating the audience………….William

        • Kanwi

          Thanks for the consideration but I did not get or see your reply :-(

          • http://intensedebate.com/people/WilliamJWard WilliamJamesWard

            Replys are randomly held for review before posting and why mine was
            not released is a mystery to me could be alien abduction. There are
            many questions about Obama that will never be answered as the
            answers are to inocuous, he has a false image and he needs it to
            stay that way. He in my opinion is all talk and no action as was
            said of him during the presidential campaign, "and empty suit" a
            vacuum, if nothing is there, there is nothing to talk about………..William

  • ExAtcZdc

    The only way Obama can claim to be the sharpest knife in the drawer, is to be the ONLY knife in the drawer. Same as him walking into a room. He will always be the dumbest person in the room!

  • jim

    Unfortunately, the nuclear non-proliferation pact of the past seems to be dead.

    Obama won't stop N. Korea or Iran from developing nukes, so in the very near future any terrorist group or rogue regime will have access to nukes. A suicide bomber will not kill 10's or 100's of innocent civilians, the numbers instead will be 1,000's and 100's of thousands. Like the World Trade Center (remember?), Times Square and Wall Street, the Statue of Liberty and the Washington Monument, the Golden Gate bridge and Hoover Dam, all will continue to exist, but only in history books.

    Talk of UN sanctions, etc, only works to the advantage of our enemies. It's not too late to stop N. Korea and Iran, but the window is closing fast. Very fast.

  • USMCSniper

    Sarkozy was so annoyed with Obama’s weak-kneed approach that he reportedly told Le Monde that “we live in the real world, not in a virtual one”, a cutting and mocking reference to the US president’s drive for a new arms control treaty. The WSJ quotes him as saying:

    “President Obama himself has said that he dreams of a world without nuclear weapons. Before our very eyes, two countries are doing exactly the opposite at this very moment. Since 2005, Iran has violated five Security Council Resolutions . . . I support America’s ‘extended hand.’ But what have these proposals for dialogue produced for the international community? Nothing but more enriched uranium and more centrifuges. And last but not least, it has resulted in a statement by Iranian leaders calling for wiping off the map a Member of the United Nations. What are we to do? What conclusions are we to draw? At a certain moment hard facts will force us to make decisions.”

    • code talker

      Reading a bit of your Bio makes me ask you if you might be my brother.Did you go to Iwo Jima couple months back?? Remarkable..If not you two should get together..

  • Kanwi

    There sure must be something amiss. Some questions from http://www.worldnetdaily.com that have met a stone wall: "The president who campaigned for a more 'open government' and 'full disclosure' will not unseal his medical records, his school records, his birth records or his passport records. He will not release his Harvard records, his Columbia College records, or his Occidental College records… he will not even release his Columbia College thesis. All his legislative records from the Illinois State Senate are missing, and he claims his scheduling records during those State Senate years are lost as well. In addition, no one can find his school records for the elite K-12 college prep school, Punahou School, he attended in Hawaii."
    And now the disclosure of multiple Social Security numbers that Obama has used. All this concealment confirms that Obama is not a true American and is in the Whitehouse because of frauding the electorial system by both he and his supporters. The Democrats have a lot to answer for and November 2010 is not that far away.

    • http://intensedebate.com/people/WilliamJWard WilliamJamesWard

      Exactly so, he is what he says he is because he says so but will not or can not
      prove it…………….I was unaware of multiple social security numbers, that would
      be the sign of potential fraud, something and illegal alien would do………
      November will be very telling of where the voters are heading, the points you
      bring up are excellent……………….William

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