In the July/August 2007 issue of Foreign Affairs, Barack Obama published his plans for foreign policy under the title, “Renewing American Leadership”, which appears at the start of each section. In the same way that Bush repeated that Iraq had WMDs or Iraq was connected to 9/11, it seems Barack Obama wanted to make sure it was clear he will be renewing American leadership. But will that renewal bring necessary changes or keep America on the same path it is on? Will he simply be renewing America’s stranglehold over the world or will we be cooperating with others to bring about a more peaceful globe?
The introduction cites Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms which defended America against fascism, Truman’s pairing of military strength with the Marshall Plan, and Kennedy’s modernization of our military doctrine, strengthening of our conventional forces, and creating of a Peace Corps and Alliance for Progress. Barack Obama then dove into how he plans to deal with threats just like FDR, Truman, and JFK did:
“Today, we are again called to provide visionary leadership. This century’s threats are at least as dangerous as and in some ways more complex than those we have confronted in the past. They come from weapons that can kill on a mass scale and from global terrorists who respond to alienation or perceived injustice with murderous nihilism. They come from rogue states allied to terrorists and from rising powers that could challenge both America and the international foundation of liberal democracy. They come from weak states that cannot control their territory or provide for their people. And they come from a warming planet that will spur new diseases, spawn more devastating natural disasters, and catalyze deadly conflicts.”
Mr. Obama, the Bush Doctrine published in 2002, which can be found under the title, “National Security Strategy of the United States”, stated that, “We will defend this just peace against threats from terrorists and tyrants,” and also stated, “Now, shadowy networks of individuals can bring great chaos and suffering to our shores for less than it costs to purchase a single tank. Terrorists are organized to penetrate open societies and to turn the power of modern technologies against us.” That rhetoric in Bush’s introduction is very similar to yours. Does that bother you? Do you think it will bother the American people? Or do you think that your personality and the fact that you aren’t George W. Bush will make it acceptable to continue talking with ignorance that promotes fear? We may their alienation and perceived injustice to be unfounded but they don’t and when America responds to them the way you just did, America inflames them further and guess what? Terrorism increases.
Continuing on, Barack Obama addresses how Bush responded to 9/11 with “state-based and principally military amenable solutions that showed conventional thinking of the past” and then added that the world has lost trust in us because of Iraq and Abu Ghraib. At this point, I think Bush and his cohorts could admit that is a harsh truth. Keep going:
“After thousands of lives lost and billions of dollars spent, many Americans may be tempted to turn inward and cede our leadership in world affairs. But this is a mistake we must not make. America cannot meet the threats of this century alone, and the world cannot meet them without America. We can neither retreat from the world nor try to bully it into submission. We must lead the world by deed and example.”
Mr. Obama seemingly ignores that many of the threats have been produced because of years of flawed foreign policy that has involved interventions, cultural ignorance, and globalization that has economically depleted many countries. We have occupied sacred lands that have increased Islamic extremism yet failed to admit America is responsible for Taliban forces running crazy terrorist operations all over the world. But he did not stop there in his introduction. He had more to say:
“The American moment is not over, but it must be seized anew. To see American power in terminal decline is to ignore America’s great promise and historic purpose in the world. If elected president, I will start renewing that promise and purpose the day I take office.”
Strikingly similar to this last sentence in the Bush Doctrine’s introduction which is, “Today, humanity holds in its hands the opportunity to further freedom's triumph over all these foes. The United States welcomes our responsibility to lead in this great mission.” Well, if you don’t agree that they are related, it bears the same tone and conjures up images of America leading missions and operations all over the world to convince the world that our way, the American way, is the right way and all other ways are the wrong way.
Obama on Moving Beyond Iraq
With respect to Iraq, Obama recognizes that “civilian leaders must acknowledge that military solution cannot be imposed on civil war” between the Sunnis and the Shiites. However, his way for solving the dilemma should cause many to stare in disbelief for Obama wishes to “pressure parties” so that they make a lasting political solution. He plans to pressure them by supporting a phased withdrawal that will remove all combat brigades by March 31, 2008.
I don’t know how this would work, Mr. Obama. Do you honestly expect to get the Iraqi people to do as we say by threatening to remove troops from the region? Is that what they want? Various news stories have pointed to Iraqi government officials wanting us to leave Iraq. And they want us to leave because our troops are targets for terrorism and are causing an influx of terrorists to move into the broken country and increase the chaos.
It gets better though because Obama states that redeployment could be “temporarily suspended if the Iraqi government meets security, political, and economic benchmarks.” These would no doubt be benchmarks we set. And yes, you read the quote correctly. Obama’s foreign policy involves leaving troops in Iraq if the Iraqis cooperate. So, Americans if you thought Iraq is fun now, just imagine what it will be like when Barack takes over.
In all fairness, Barack Obama in this section calls for dealing with the civil war more effectively, making it clear that we seek no permanent bases, and leaving behind a “minimal over-the-horizon military force in the region to protect American personnel/facilities, continue training Iraqi security, and root out al-Qaeda.” So, don’t worry, Iraq. Those bases are only “temporary” if Barack wins. And you can expect American troops to continue to be in the way of the Iraqi people as they protect American contractors and military outposts while attracting al-Qaeda, which they will be “rooting out” as they defend American personnel. Oh, and don’t forget, while al-Qaeda is flowing in to kill Americans, these same Americans who are al-Qaeda targets will attempt to show Iraqi people how to maintain security in their country, which we may or may not let them run on their own at some point in the not so distant future.
Really though, Barack Obama does not want to deal with Iraq anymore. He believes in his policy that America needs to move from Iraq to addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that Bush has ignored. Pay attention because is where Barack Obama’s AIPAC connections come into play. For example, Obama believes the starting point for solving the conflict must always be “clear strong commitment to security of Israel”, our “strongest ally in the region and the region’s only established democracy.” Already the Palestinians are getting kicked to the side. The policy will be designed for Israel and maybe it will make the Palestinians happy. Who knows?