For the first time in a decade, Americans are beginning to think seriously about foreign policy; But are they too late?
and 2008, the American people decided to turn their backs on the world. Between the seeming futility of the war in Iraq and the financial collapse of 2008, Americans decided they’d had enough.
In Barack Obama, they found a leader who could channel their frustration. Obama’s foreign policy, based on denying the existence of radical Islam and projecting the responsibility for Islamic aggression on the US and its allies, suited their mood just fine. If America is responsible, then America can walk away. Once it is gone, so the thinking has gone, the Muslims will forget their anger and leave America alone.
Sadly, Obama’s foreign policy assumptions are utter nonsense. America’s abandonment of global leadership has not made things better. Over the past seven years, the legions of radical Islam have expanded and grown more powerful than ever before. And now in the aftermath of the jihadist massacres in Paris and San Bernadino, the threats have grown so abundant that even Obama cannot pretend them away.
As a consequence, for the first time in a decade, Americans are beginning to think seriously about foreign policy. But are they too late? Can the next president repair the damage Obama has caused? The Democrats give no cause for optimism. Led by former secretary of state Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential hopefuls stubbornly insist that there is nothing wrong with Obama’s foreign policy. If they are elected to succeed him, they pledge to follow in his footsteps.
On the Republican side, things are more encouraging, but also more complicated.
Republican presidential hopefuls are united in their rejection of Obama’s policy of ignoring the Islamic supremacist nature of the enemy. All reject the failed assumptions of Obama’s foreign policy.
All have pledged to abandon them on their first day in office. Yet for all their unity in rejecting Obama’s positions, Republicans are deeply divided over what alternative foreign policy they would adopt.
This divide has been seething under the surface throughout the Obama presidency. It burst into the open at the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night.
The importance of the dispute cannot be overstated.
Given the Democrats’ allegiance to Obama’s disastrous policies, the only hope for a restoration of American leadership is that a Republican wins the next election. But if Republicans nominate a candidate who fails to reconcile with the realities of the world as it is, then the chance for a reassertion of American leadership will diminish significantly.
To understand just how high the stakes are, you need to look no further than two events that occurred just before the Wednesday’s Republican presidential debate.
On Tuesday, the International Atomic Energy Agency voted to close its investigation of Iran’s nuclear program. As far as the UN’s nuclear watchdog is concerned, Iran is good to go.
The move is a scandal. Its consequences will be disastrous.
The IAEA acknowledges that Iran continued to advance its illicit military nuclear program at least until 2009. …read more