28 February 2010

An Incoherent Foreign Policy

Jake is currently mid-flight across the Atlantic, and I am posting on his behalf.

The Bush administration got a lot of things wrong—but at least they usually had some idea of who America's adversaries were and who America's friends were. For example, Bush's policy of maintaining the special relationship with Britain was a simple recognition of the close bonds of alliance, friendship and interests that the British and Americans have had since World War I.

In contrast, [President] Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are apparently clueless about some of the most basic aspects of foreign policy: supporting one's friends and fencing in one's adversaries. The declaration of neutrality on the issue of the sovereignty of the Falklands issued by the U.S. State Department is clear proof of the uselessness of the Obama administration.

In the grand scheme of things it makes little sense for America to give moral support to the Kirchner government in Argentina. [President Cristina] Kirchner is no friend of the U.S. and Kirchner's government is in deep domestic trouble for its gross mismanagement of the economy and its attempts to suppress the press criticism of the regime at home. One has to wonder what benefit America gets out of hurting Britain on this issue. Perhaps Obama thinks that the more Leftist Latin American regimes will somehow approve of the U.S. If that is the case, he is truly mistaken, as most Latin American nations dislike the Argentinians, and have little sympathy for the mess Argentina got into over the Falklands.

But this mess is just typical of the drift in U.S. foreign policy—if one can say that it even HAS a coherent foreign policy these days. . . . In his first year in office Obama made numerous apologies for America's past to the Third Worlds, he effusively greeted the Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez, he bowed low to the Saudi ruler, and called for a "reset" of relationships with Russia—all the while implying that America was at fault for all these problems. At the same time he rudely undermined the security of America's Eastern European allies by cancelling the ballistic missile defense with no notice and no prior discussion, he failed to push for a free trade agreement with Columbia—America's strongest ally in South America—and he supported Chavez's allies when they tried (luckily unsuccessfully) to unseat a democratic and pro-U.S. government in Honduras.