The Obama administration has had a fairly busy month trying to keep a wayward internet site from flummoxing up people’s health insurance coverage, charging inadvertently their bank accounts for insurance they did not yet have, and struggling to maintain the site with a capacity for volume and security remotely consistent with sites one fiftieth as big in scope. Its very stressful, and it absolutely doesn’t help that the rest of the world will not give America a break and allow it the space and time to be converted to a socialist utopia, without forcing international instability on the administration as well. After all, the governmental takeover of one sixth of the largest economy in the world was to be the Magnum Opus of this president, and his entire foreign policy was designed to put international issues behind him, so he could concentrate on domestic revolution.
The Obama Doctrine, removal of the United States as a determining force in world affairs, initiated with the infamous apology tour. the Russian Re-Set, and the extrication of American forces from the hard won military stability in Iraq. With the United States acting more like an absent uncle singularly concerned about the world’s environmental health, respectful and even submissive before all other nations, regardless of their malevolence or darker intent, Obama assumed a period of tranquility that would allow him the time to focus on the real enemy, America’s individualist tradition.
The roll call of untoward responses to this policy is mind boggling, starting with A and the Arab world chaos and ending at Z with Zawahiri and the re-emergence of Al Qaeda, and constituting a myriad of mis-steps in between. After a summer of ineffective and contrary bungling of the Syrian debacle and the dangerous appeasement of the Iranian totalitarians in their desire for nuclear armament, the last thing the President needed was two more cracks to develop in the Doctrine.
The above photo captured an event in Kiev, Ukraine last week but shadowed eerily the events of 1989. An enormous mob decides the period of Soviet dominance has stood long enough and pulls down and destroys the primary symbol of all powerful communist oppression, Vladimir Lenin. Across eastern Europe and even parts of Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union, this was an epic and essentially peaceful sight twenty years ago, but this time there is a more ominous pall to this event. The Ukrainian people are not celebrating the demise of a dictatorial foreign oppressor , but rather the re-insertion of it in their lives. The president of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovych, on November 21, announced the reversal of a decades long movement of Ukraine into the European orbit pointing towards the establishment of ties with the European Union and NATO, instead directing Ukraine back into the sphere of direct Russian influence and dominance. President Yanukovych, who since his election in 2010, has succeeded in positioning his family and friends along the lines of a typical Russian criminal oligarchy, syphoning key Ukrainian industries and power into their hands, hoped to “seal the deal” with blessing of the ultimate overlord Putin, who has perfected the format in Russia and seeks to restore old fashioned Russian dominance on former Soviet Republics. The minority Russian population of Ukraine, ~18% of the Ukranian population has felt its influence diminish with independence and supports the president. The great majority of the Ukrainian population has no intention to go back to subservience and demands follow through with impending agreements with the European Union. The BBC has reported on the massive rallies in the Ukrainian capital and this time tearing down Lenin statues in Europe’s second biggest country may not go down so peacefully.
The Obama Doctrine would have suggested that the Russian Re-Set fashioned by the president and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would have solved this issue, but no one bothered to tell the Ukrainians that their future might not jibe with the acclaimed Re-Set. Dealing with a more belligerent Russia certainly would be within the capabilities of the United States as long as the Pacific sphere of American influence was to remain – ‘pacific’. Unfortunately, not so much.
At the very moment the European door is coming off its stable hinges, the Pacific Rim, stable for decades is wobbling dangerously. China, seeing the bent knee nature of American foreign policy evidenced in a tired ‘here-we-go-again’ presidential bow to another tin horn dictator, this time Cuba’s Raul Castro, moved aggressively to declare the South China Sea in its sphere of influence, extending its military defacto control over strategic islands that just happen to be in the sweet spot of oil and gas deposits. Sphere of Influence just happens to be a sensitive subject in these parts, given that the Imperial Japan declared a Co-Prosperity Sphere of Influence leading to World War II, that wasn’t Co anything and was prosperous only for Japan. Japan and South Korea, having more than enough instability from the deranged Chinese client state North Korea, are in no mood for unilateral declarations of influence, and issue is setting up for some serious moments of potential conflict. Earlier this week a Chinese naval vessel attempted to get the US Guided Missile Warship the USS Cowpens to stop in its transit through previously accepted international waters in the South China Sea. This move was clearly designed to intimidate, and forced the 560 foot 10,000 ton craft to perform dangerous avoidance maneuvers. This kind of action, against naval vessels of countries such as Vietnam, Korea, and particularly Japan, may create a tension that is not so easily deflected, given the history of the region. Since the days of the British Imperial Navy ruling the waves, the maintenance of “open sea lanes” has been considered the critical ingredient to world trade and peace. China may see the current guarantor of safe and open international waters, the Untied States, weakening in its resolve. Somebody, somewhere is bound to make a fatal mistake in such a vacuum.
When you own the car, and drive the car, all the passengers are at the mercy of your skill in operating the car. The United States for decades has “owned” the position of guarantor of world stability, and its weaving all over the road, is making the passengers very nervous, and very leery of the driver’s competence. The best we can likely hope for under this administration is, despite their tendency to overt their eyes from the road and spend their time texting while driving, that we don’t end up in a major pile-up. The reality is putting incompetent drivers in charge of such a powerful car is bound to lead to multiple serious fender benders at the least, and nobody is going to want to be along for the ride.