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Old 01-21-2013, 05:24 PM  
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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If there's an Obama doctrine on foreign entanglements...

I've been thinking about what a single Obama doctrine must look like, one that makes sense of all our entanglements from Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, Egypt, North Korea, Iran, Burma, and so on.

It's two-pronged. One is with soft power, and the other is hard power.

When it comes to soft power, the Obama administration sees engagement as preferable to isolation, as evidenced by his Cairo speech early on and the constant overtures towards Burma as well as the other ones to Egypt, and Iran.

But this is hardly revelatory; Obama's hardly the first to embrace it.

Where Obama I think really lays an interesting path is on his pluralistic embrace of hard power -- although I'd say this isn't really revelatory either since it largely follows in the steps of George Bush the first.

Conflicts or struggles against foreign nations do not have to be lead de facto by the United States, but instead should be lead and shaped by the nations closest to the conflict politically. In those cases, should the administration find their case compelling on some mishmash of humanitarian or profit-oriented grounds, American will provide logistics, support, and power where it needs be and is specified by those at the front of the conflict.

See: Libya, Iran, Syria, Yemen, and most recently the American support in the French intervention in Mali

In entanglements where there's no real opportunity for engagement, or any particular mood internationally, the administration either doesn't engage (the country's continued snubbing of North Korea and Cuba) or pulls out (Iraq and Afghanistan).

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule -- if we get a pure profit out of the deal, we're of course going unilateral, as we've continued to do in Bahrain and Kyrgyzstan, and to a lesser extent in Pakistan or Yemen.

But what this has done, is it has expanded American reach globally, cemented America as the arbiter of foreign engagement, and allowed for our influence to expand militarily without sparing much in the way of American lives.

I came across this thought today reading about the French intervention in Mali to expunge the country of the Islamic extremists who'd taken a huge portion of the country. It was an invasion of extremists that tormented the Malians, and threatened a ton of the natural resources there that France depends on. So France uses our ample military logistical power on the continent with their troops and Malian support to largely fight the radicals off. The whole thing played like a repeat of Libya: a successful intervention that was celebrated by the local population rather than reviled, and cost absolutely zero American lives.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:10 AM   #16
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Originally Posted by InChiefsHell View Post
I'm just saying, RIGHT NOW it IS an Obama thing.
Absolutely, and I'm very comfortable holding him to that sin.

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Originally Posted by InChiefsHell View Post
I don't see how we make money off of this deal though. We are GIVING them to Egypt, not selling them...
"Aid package" is diplomatic code for bribe.
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:19 AM   #17
InChiefsHell InChiefsHell is offline
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Originally Posted by Direckshun View Post
Absolutely, and I'm very comfortable holding him to that sin.



"Aid package" is diplomatic code for bribe.
Okay. I would think you would be disappointed that your guy is every bit the suckass as those previous to him were. If the guy can't make an adjustment based on current events, then what the hell??
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Old 01-24-2013, 07:43 AM   #18
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Okay. I would think you would be disappointed that your guy is every bit the suckass as those previous to him were. If the guy can't make an adjustment based on current events, then what the hell??
Under Obama, the United States government has adopted rhetoric favorable to the Arab Spring, up to and including what has happened in Egypt.

The United States government's actual response to it, however, has been confused. In some cases it has taken supportive measures, in a couple other countries it has actively supported the dictators. In almost every case, however, it's made its determinations based on what America can simply benefit/profit from the most.
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Old 01-30-2013, 10:39 AM   #19
Direckshun Direckshun is offline
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Ambinder takes his best shot at doing the same thing.

http://theweek.com/article/index/239...as-silent-wars

Obama's silent wars
Marc Ambinder
January 30, 2013, at 12:54 AM

Part of a continuing series of observations about the Obama Project, which takes a long-term view of the president and what he wants to look like.

President Obama's foreign policy is a work-in-progress. Even though world events do not conform to the terms of United States presidents, Obama will be judged by what happens during the next four years. Left out will invariably be the dogs that don't bark: what didn't happen, and also, what happens after four years that wouldn't have happened without Obama's imprint.

In Libya, the president demanded that NATO step up and enforce a United Nations resolution, and NATO did.

In Syria, the president has placed the onus on solving the problem on Syria's largest patron, Russia, and on it neighbor, Turkey, which craves a larger role in the Middle East.

Obama has attempted to persuade China to take a stronger (meaning, more public) hand with North Korea.

And now, in Mali and Algeria, the president is content to leave the hard work to the French, who have significant cultural and economic ties to the country.

Where President Bush and his advisers used the pretext of September 11 to try and shake up the Middle East and force it towards democracy, Obama is using events very differently. There is finally some substance to his vague notion of using U.S. hard and soft power to encourage other countries to accept responsibility for problems better handled by them. It is an orthogonal approach to interventionism.

In Libya, Syria and Mali, the U.S. has provided technical intelligence assets and helped with the supply chain: arms and fuel and transportation. We have not, as a country, "stayed out." That phrase no longer means what it used to. It is possible now to intervene in a conflict without putting U.S. soldiers in danger and without expanding the United States geopolitical footprint in a way that crowds out local values.

Where Obama wants the United States to lead is against transnational problems like drugs, trafficking, proliferation of weapons and WMD and crime syndicates, as well as in anti-terrorism and counter-terrorism. It is not possible to fight these wars without U.S. troops. But these wars are worldwide, overlapping, and observe no borders. The troops to be used in these wars are not the troops that stand ready to fight land wars in Europe and Korea.

So: One way to look at the Obama Project is to observe the battles he chooses to associate with and the battles he chooses to leave to others. Obama, I believe, does not want the United States to be expected to take a leading role in every conflict. That has meant a series of difficult decisions: In the short term, it might even mean more death as the world adjusts to the expectations of its new superpower. Obama hopes that by refusing to overreact, or to bring to bear U.S. military might, which often changes the problem (rather than solves it), other major powers in the world will begin to step up.

Will this work? Is it rational? Is it a counter-reaction gone too far? I don't know. But I am beginning to see how different an approach it really is.
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