The problem with American foreign policy right now is that we aren't seeing the trends properly. The world is not coming together under the banner of globalization, as John Kerry would like to see it, but rather the reverse: the world is degenerating into "spheres of influence" similar to what happened for the First World War.
Right now Russia, China, and the Middle East are moving toward a policy geared specifically to consolidate their own hegemony within their areas. For all intents and purposes this is not necessarily a bad thing. What we aren't seeing here in the American Empire is that trend towards self-determination. We are still caught up in the idea that we can still, somehow, control the agenda of countries far away to act in our interest instead of their own.
It is no big secret the Russians want the Ukraine back, in some c olonial form, as it is equally as obvious the Chinese want African oil. Our presence in these areas only presents a temporary roadblock to the inevitable. What Kerry and much of the status-quo in the west would like to believe is that we can somehow align their selfish interests with our own. Couple that with our complete ignorance of prevailing culture in the area, and what this all spells out is disaster.
Ultimately, people have to go through their own growing pains. We don't like to see how barbaric the Russians can be with certain sectors of their populations, but we have to understand that we are in no position to dictate to them how a civilized people should act when we are barely above our own savagery here. It is unfortunate that the Chinese are on a crash course in learning, the hard way, why economic growth needs to be married to some kind of economic policy - it would be nice if we might spend a little more time learning these lessons ourselves. But they have to learn these lessons, and we have to allow them to, if the planet is ever going to progress towards some sort of unity of purpose.
One thing we are seeing is that the idea of forcing people to behave as we'd like is not working, and our own hypocrisy indicts us. We can no more expect the Russians, Chinese, and Middle Easterners to behave like good little advocates of democracy and fair commerce when we aren't acting in kind. Globalization, as long as it is simply, in practice, a euphemism for "empire", will continue to be a failure as long as we continue to ignore the truth that all people on the planet need to have some control over their own destinies - they have to learn and grow on their own terms. And, regardless of how painful it may be to watch that process unfold, we have to let them.
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