Wednesday, June 20, 2012

So, is the "Post American" World Really a Better Place?

It is one of the Highest Progressive ideals that the elimination of Nationalism is a good thing, and that the world would be more peaceful with a governing body of delegates to "reasonably" resolve issues.  Essentially that the UN would solve all the issues of the world, the World Court would punish any offender of making "illegal" war, and thus war in general can be avoided.  This is often referred to as the "post-American" world.  America being the last Superpower would (we assume) willingly give up its power and leadership role.  It is rather ironic that diehard Liberals or Progressives (whichever they choose to call themselves) will often accuse the Right, of trying to create a "New World Order" which is essentially what the "post-American" world would look like. 

Now not to get involved in a political fight, but President Obama's leadership style is ill suited to the role as Chief Executive, he is used to being in a Legislature, and perhaps his talents would have been better suited had he remained in the Senate.  While he has pushed many issues, he has never struck me as an "up front" sort of leader.  I could pick on the House and Senate Democrats for the handling of Obamacare, but really it was the President's baby, and one would assume that folks like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Ried would be more in the background behind the President as he gave again and again his very forceful arguments for it.  Indeed one would expect that if the President believed that strongly in the bill he would have been leading the way and pointing out every error in his opponents resistance.  He did not. 

I think also I could cite his handling of Afghanistan.  I'm not going to mention Iraq, because really he had little to do with that.  The Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) had already been signed by President Bush, and I actually think his speech about the end of the war showed a lot of class.  Even though I am philosophically opposed to him, I can still acknowledge that at times he does show class (and not the warfare kind if you catch my drift).  It bothered me how General McCrystal was treated, and how the Afghan war has been treated thus far.  He now has ownership of it, but even though he "inherited" the longest running US war, he seems to have little desire to win it.  We may not win as we see it.  The most we can hope for is a somewhat stable government, but really, Afghanistan is only a country because everyone else says it it.  As a nation it has no history, only the Tribes do, and they can be as varied and diverse as even the most cosmopolitan countries.  "Withdrawal" sounds great until you realize that's exactly the language used to end the Vietnam War, and there we didn't win we didn't lose it just kind of ended.  Sadly the manner of its ending made it all but certain that the North would pounce upon the South as soon as the US turned a blind eye.  Here to that might happen again. 

Libya is another great example of a failure to take a leadership role.  I get that we didn't want to be the ones doing all the heavy lifting.  Really I get that.  I also get the zero ground troops.  I'm sure there were a few Secret Squirrel ops going on, but *hopefully* details of those ops won't leak to the media (another sore spot for me).  But really why did it take so long to accomplish the mission?  The War Powers Act was nearly violated, and we really didn't have anything to show for it.  Qaddafi was bad, ok I get that.  He needs to go ok I get that too, on board with that even. . . so why did it take so long?  In one month of not even heavy aerial bombardment the US was able to support the rag tag Northern Alliance against the Taliban and turn a bitter stalemate into a route.  So why couldn't we do the same?  Surely one Arc Light strike from a Buff (B-52) could have taken out significant portions of Qaddafi's military infrastructure.  He didn't even have the sophisticated radar systems that might hav imperiled the bombers.  Hell, Operation Eldorado Canyon during the Reagan administration, which boiled down to one Alpha Strike from a Carrier Air Group and a Tactical Fighter Wing, scared him silly and had him dancing to our tune for almost 20 years.  So why the haphazard support? 

We let France of all countries, and Brittan lead the attack.  While the French do have some good units their record in war is not something I'd write home about, and the British, after massively scaling back their Ministry of Defense, are having serious issues projecting power.  It seems that America was the only member of this impromptu coalition that could end the Libyan civil war quickly.  But we didn't, and it dragged on and on and on.  In the end Qaddafi met his maker, not the way we would wish, at a trial, but at the hands of a mob which beat him senseless after finding him in a storm drain, then put a bullet quickly to the head.  Couldn't we have flexed a *little* more muscle to see to a speedy and more satisfying resolution? 

We could have (and still can) topple the Iranian regime, which has been giving us a headache for decades.  Iranians have done their level best to be a threat to the West every chance they get.  From supporting Hezbollah, and doing everything they can to wipe Israel off the map (they were actually allies during the Shah's reign) to sending in Quds forces to Iraq to train Shi'a militias and literally kill American Soldiers.  They're doing the same in Afghanistan now.  I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if they're pulling more than a few strings in Pakistan as well.  Here's the really crazy part, students (the same group that supported the Yahoos that got in power in '79) are quietly revolting.  They can't be too overt but Iran is actually in a massive economic recession, and a lot of the people are tired of the iron grip the mad Mullahs have on their society.  Imagine a free and democratic Iran!  It could happen, and we could foster the very people that could make it happen.  But we don't.  I am not privy to the policy discussion there, but if I wanted to prevent Iran from getting Nukes I think "change of government" would probably be the most likely option to succede.

It is truly worrisome the current administration and indeed the Senate is getting restless about Syria.  I believe Assad needs to go, but seeing as were facing a looming crisis with our budget, brought on in no small part by an appalling lack of oversight by the Legislature, I am truly perplexed as to how anyone plans to fight in Syria.  Which is made all the worse because China and Russia together are effectively "checking" the US moves to cut off Assad, and the Libyan adventure has made it painfully obvious that America is the only Western (or NATO) power even capable of doing more than firing a few salvos from a really wimpy destroyer.  At one point someone even floated the idea of a joint US-Russo-Sino military alliance to deal with Assad. . . No that's not a joke someone really suggested that.  After hearing this, I promptly fired off a letter to the State Department requesting senior officials take a drug test.  

So this is the "post-American" world.  America's preeminence as a power to be respected, and one tyrants fear, seems to indeed be on the decline.  The UN has proven time and again hopelessly inept at even the most simple international efforts (to include, but not limited to introducing Cholera to Haiti and killing hundreds of thousands, "Resolutions" that have the effectiveness of spitwads, and attempting to tax "1st world" nations with bogus laws and statutes) and is rife with corruption.  China and Russia can not be trusted, seeming to be indulging some of the worst of their old habits from the Cold War.  So with all this in mind is the "post-American" world really the joyous conflict free utopia we were sold on?  Is the world really better off when we sit back and let others lead?  Or is the reality of the "post-American" world actually quite horrifying?  I'll let you be the judge. 


Anonymous said...

I think you're arguing against a straw man. I've only ever heard the phrase in reference to the waning power and influence of America as a nation, not as advocating a one-world government or supposing that it would inevitably lead to a utopia.

>he seems to have little desire to win it

What would a perfect-win scenario look like? When the entire country is dead then there'll be no one to fight back? Your continuous assumption that, in an era of rising anti-american sentiment, the best way to change that sentiment is to invade sovereign nations that we don't like defies all logic.

Assad should go. Are we an Empire or not? On what authority can we decide, militarily, the future of some country half-way across the globe?

>The UN has proven time and again hopelessly inept at even the most simple international efforts (to include, but not limited to introducing Cholera to Haiti and killing hundreds of thousands

Conveniently ignoring the hundreds of thousands of civilians killed by our own campaigns in the middle east. Even in haiti we have the US-backed overthrow of democratically elected Artiside (twice).

>"Resolutions" that have the effectiveness of spitwads, and attempting to tax "1st world" nations with bogus laws and statutes) and is rife with corruption.

Conveniently ignoring the imposition of our own power onto ostensibly independent nations around the world.

>China and Russia can not be trusted, seeming to be indulging some of the worst of their old habits from the Cold War.

I'm failing to see how the US is not guilty of this as well. The eastern european missile shield is nothing if not left-over cold war paranoia.

>Or is the reality of the "post-American" world actually quite horrifying?

The current American dominated world is quite horrifying as well.

DR_BRETT said...

Truly, I have enjoyed your posts, DR "MAD" !!

All The Best,

(I sometimes comment, at "This Ain't Hell.")

The Mad Medic said...

ok Annon I've heard this advocated by many progressives in academia.

1). Afghanistan would have no "perfect win" scenario, but a scenario where they don't have a resurgent taliban, are economically viable as a nation. Victory isn't about body count in this particular case victory is going to be far more subtle than in Germany, or even Iraq. Also Invading countries works in a limited fashion, but you have to have sufficient forces to maintain security. In the post invasion aftermath, security is nearly priceless.

2). On what authority does the UN have? Simple question. If not us than Who? I don't want to send ground troops into Syria, rather we should employ the Green Berets as they were designed to be employed, to train and assist the Local Forces.

3). It seems to be the first act to run to the body count. The majority of deaths in the ME campaigns were actually not caused by Americans, but by the local insurgent forces. This is especially true of Iraq. Again Security is gold

4). Actually I tend not to ignore that. I think US leadership is generally a good thing unfortunately some Presidents like getting involved in proxy wars as a way to avoid actually flexing their muscles. These presidents are not always Democrats, but the Democratic party seems to love deniable proxy wars. Just the way things work out Historically speaking.

5). Like? The US spent decades trying to be a shield for the rest of the world against communist expansion and aggression. For some very good reasons this was a good thing. Trying to defend the world from an aggressive sphere of influence is bad why? I would also like to point out that many nations benefited greatly by the US "spreading its wings" over them. The downside is that such nations have let their own military lag, and thus are now unable to assist, or even really defend themselves.

6). A missle Shield is not directed at anyone person but rather blanket protection for all people. But if you're wondering why president Bush felt it was a good idea to put the Missile Shield in Poland. . . well Iran is just sitting there and Russia has been selling off their massive arsenal like hot cakes to Iran and North Korea. I wouldn't be surprised if perhaps one might have been secretly put up in S. Korea or Japan when no one was looking.

7). Again how exactly is this a US dominated world. We have let our power projection, and sphere of influence wane in the 90's. The Clinton years were focused on domestic policies completely ignoring at times the goings on in the international scene. We allowed our leadership to decline so much that the post 9/11 world seems like a shock to Americans but this state of global upheaval and religious tension has been growing for almost 40 years (the upheaval part though is a bit more recent). Countries that were stable (if not good by American standards) have come unglued making once stable regions fracture and onetime dangerous powers think they could potential seize old glory.