Without American Exceptionalism, U.S. Influence Wanes

Date: 12-06-2011 | Category: Articles, Energy Security, Geopolitics

By James Jay Carafano PhD.

Family Security Matters

Obama faced challenges on every front last week—many of them can be traced, in part, to administration policies that did more to ferment trouble abroad than advance the safety, prosperity, and freedom of Americans. The long list of foreign policy frustrations started with a NATO airstrikethat killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at a border outpost. “Islamabad responded swiftly to the incident by shutting down NATO supply lines that run through Pakistan into Afghanistan and demanding that all U.S. military personnel evacuate the Shamsi air base in Baluchistan province, which in the past facilitated the U.S. drone campaign in Pakistan’s tribal border areas,” reported Heritage regional expert Lisa Curtis. Such tragic confrontations could have been avoided if Pakistan and theUS were working together to secure their common interests, rather than increasingly adopting strategies that put the two nations at odds. In part, the president has only himself to blame by opting for a rapid withdrawal of US forces—and leaving the Pakistanis feeling they would be much better going their own way, cooperating with and accommodating the Afghan Taliban and groups like the Haqqani Network. Russia moved quickly to exploit Washington’s latest dust-up with Islamabad. After Pakistan closed the main logistics route for US troops crossing its territory, a Russian official threatened that Moscow should do the same. “Russia is trying to exploit U.S. vulnerability in Afghanistan by squeezing concessions on European missile defense,” writes Ariel Cohen, The Heritage Foundation’s expert on Russian affairs. “This is a disturbing development, potentially threatening security of the U.S. logisticaloperations.The campaign of anti-Americanism led by Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s Ambassador to NATO, culminated in his remarks before the Duma that Russia may link its opposition to the NATO missile defense in Europe to the future of the NATO supply line to Afghanistan,” Cohen warned. Russia’s blatant attempt to exploit the US-Pakistan riftdemonstrates how little leverage the US has gained in its “reset” policy with Moscow. Both these incidents demonstrate how this White House is not only losing its leverage overseas, but isincreasingly seeing itself bullied by other powers. This dynamic is a repeat of the foreign policy practiced by Jimmy Carter. During the first part of his presidency, America’s enemies determined that he would not act forcefully to defend the nation’s interests, during the second half of Carter’s term as president they exploited that weakness. Each week there seems to be new evidence that nations around the world are adopting similar tactics for dealing with the Obama administration. For continuing to demonstrate a lack of strong leadership for the week the president gets a grade a “W” for—he should withdraw the Obama Doctrine as the guiding principle of his foreign policy.

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