America is not responsible for the world’s ills. But as the only military-economic superpower, our country does carry special responsibilities. The wise exercise of this power can hold the world peace, at least in most places. Recent American withdrawal from these responsibilities has generated dangerous arms races around the world. The primary American actor here is President Obama, but hardly without the firm support of Republican leaders.
Syria. Israel. Crimea. Ukraine. Iran. North Korea. Gulf emirates. Saudi Arabia. Japan. Egypt. Libya.
Click off the sites where the US does not play the superpower, whether via serious sanctions, meaningful reassurances (such as substantial re-stationing of troops) or follow-through on the violation of American “red lines.”
Obama’s “red line” in Syria? He does not follow through.
Russia’s capture of Crimea and foment of violence in Ukraine? Obama promises punishing sanctions, then does keep his promise.
Iran? Obama declares that Iran will not go nuclear. The jury is still out, but the prospects of America actually stopping Iran grow dimmer by the day.
North Korea? It’s a concentration camp. However, “never again” seems not to apply to North Korea.
Gulf emirates? They’re deathly afraid of Iran. Ditto, Saudi Arabia. But Iran is still spinning its nuclear centrifuges.
Japan fears that its Senkaku Islands in the South China Sea will be swallowed up by China. Obama promises that it won’t happen . . . but he also promised that Bashar Assad would suffer if he used weapons of mass destruction.
Egypt? First the US abandons an ally, Hosni Mubarak; then embraces a terrorist group, the Muslim Brotherhood; then slams the Egyptians who overthrew the terrorist group. Consistency in American policy in Egypt? None.
Libya? Still, no wholly forthright investigation by the White House of how the American ambassador was killed there, despite Vice President Biden’s promise during the 2012 campaign debate.
How is the world reacting to the refusal of America, the superpower, to play the role of superpower? With arms races.
For the first time, the Economist reports, Asia outspent Europe on arms — “a sign that countries calculate they will have to stand up for themselves.”
The Economist also reports: Egypt shops for Russian weapons. Israel looks to China and India for military deals. Gulf states arm themselves. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and UAE order huge arsenals. Syrian rebels turn to Iran. Not to mention, Russia and Ukraine are at swords’ends.
And if, G-d forbid, Iran gets the atomic bomb, Egypt and Saudi Arabia are sure to follow. American isolationism is not making the world a safer place.
Copyright © 2014 by the Intermountain Jewish News