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Sunday, December 06, 2009

Obama may lead the US to isolationism

In Friday's JPost, Amotz Asael slammed President Obama's naivete and expressed the fear that it will lead the United States to isolationism (Hat Tip: Paul Mirengoff).
Middle Israelis hoped at the time to learn that Obama had reached early understandings with local leaders; that Israel would announce some concessions in the morning and Washington's Arab allies would announce others in the evening. It turned out there was no such preparation with either side, because for this president oration was not a way to announce plans, it was the plan itself. Now all understood that just like he wasn't asking Americans to sacrifice anything economically, Obama also wasn't asking much from the rest of the world (except Israel.)

THE DIPLOMATIC cost of all this is exorbitant. Governments across the world are losing respect for the US. Turkey, which once didn't lift a finger without America's approval, is openly waltzing into the sunset with Syria and Iran. Iran has made a mockery of Obama's dialogue gesture. China has made a joke of Obama personally, when it censored his very plea that Beijing ease censorship. Saudi Arabia has ignored Washington's pleas to deliver a peace gesture. And finally, in a natural extension of all this accelerating disparagement, Hugo Chavez publicly backed Iran's nuclear adventurism with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad alongside him in Venezuela - a three-hour flight from Miami.

All of them, from Chavez to Kim, are humiliating America because they have concluded that the decade that began with the 9/11 attacks and later saw a meltdown in Wall Street and now a military entanglement in Afghanistan is about to end with America as dwarfed as Russia was last decade.

Where, then, is all this leading?

Eventually, when the deficit and the dollar sink even deeper while unemployment and interest rates rise that much higher, Americans will understand that action must be painful, swift and immediate. That is when, with or without Obama, they will set the world aside and focus on nothing but economic rehabilitation. The US will cut defense spending deeply, possibly retrieving the entire mini-armies it has in Japan and Germany. Afghanistan, like Iraq and Vietnam before it, will be quit, and all foreign aid programs will be discontinued.

A neo-isolationist Washington will effectively tell the world to try to run its affairs alone, just for several years, during which the US will be geopolitically closed for economic renovations.
The good news is that if this actually happens, Israel will discover that it can live without US aid, and will emerge stronger and more independent (which is ironic because Israel is the only country from which the US is making demands that is listening to them).

The bad news is that the last time the US went isolationist was the 1930's and we all know what happened at the end of that decade.

Here's hoping that Obama is replaced in 2012 and that there's still time to save the America's economy and world standing without such drastic steps.


At 6:20 PM, Blogger chanan dov said...

When Gorbachev pushed for a withdrawal from Afghanistan, he did so because he understood that the real battle was inside Russia's borders where the Communist party was losing its grip on the country. Obama similarly wants to withdraw in order to focus on his real agenda, tightening the grip of the Democratic party and of his own left wing backers on America. For a man who considers his real "extremist" enemies to be Republicans not Taliban, the only real plans Obama has for Afghanistan is to surrender on a timetable. - sultan knish

At 7:27 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Chan Dev, Obama's priorities are entirely domestic. Such shifts between isolationism and engagement are generational in American politics. We can only hope it won't take another 9/11 (G-d forbid) for America to reassume its hegemon role in world affairs. I believe that's what Sultan Knish wrote on his blog. Obama's moves in Afghanistan are about getting out not about victory over the Taliban and Al Qaeda.


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