Wednesday, September 17, 2014

FP: A Critical Indictment of US Foreign Policy Over the Last 20 Years

...Look where the United States was in 1993. Communism had been vanquished, Saddam Hussein was out of Kuwait and fully contained, and the United States faced no hostile states of any consequence. American prestige was at an all-time high and the Israelis and Palestinians were signing the Oslo Accords. Open markets and democratic institutions were spreading and a new World Trade Organization was preparing to foster further liberalization of the world economy. Some people thought we'd reached the "End of History" and Thomas Friedman was busy congratulating America for inventing "DOScapital 6.0." The future was so bright, we had to wear shades.

Fast forward to 2014. Great-power rivalry is back, even if the level of competition has yet to reach the intensity of the Cold War or other turbulent periods in world history. The peace process in the Middle East is kaput, and most states in that region are either pariahs, politically stagnant, or convulsed by civil war. At this point, it is not outlandish to imagine a substantial redrawing of several Middle East borders and/or the emergence of several new states, along with an intensifying struggle for Palestinian civil rights inside Greater Israel. The EU is still on economic life support, the United Kingdom may lose Scotland, Ukraine is torn between East and West, and Islamic extremists are operating from Nigeria to Pakistan and beyond. Pakistan (!) and North Korea (!!) have joined the nuclear club in the past 20 years, and there are growing disputes over territorial claims and navigation rights in the waters adjacent to a rising China.

As sure as a sunrise, the GOP wants to pin the blame for a lot of these problems on President Obama. Neoconservatives like Robert Kagan -- who cannot seem to find enough quagmires to dive into -- also blame the American people for being less enthusiastic about fighting foolish wars than he is. But in fairness, there are several reasons why things have gone so poorly over the past two decades, and plenty of blame to go around.

Read the rest here.

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