Der Spiegel, Germany
A Comment on US Foreign Policy:
America’s Dangerous Hesitation
By Severin Weiland
The situation in Iraq highlights Obama's dilemma: In his foreign policy, he often acts with one eye on U.S. domestic policy, and can be alarmingly passive and indecisive.
Translated By Annaliese Stewart
17 June 2014
Edited by Bora Mici
Germany - Der Spiegel - Original Article (German)
Jihadis are marching into Baghdad, but America is ducking away. Only a handful of soldiers have been dispatched. President Obama is running the risk that large parts of Iraq could fall into the hands of radical Islamists – a historic change of course.
The jihadis of the ISIS terrorist group are spreading a regime of terror. Now, the fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria are marching into Baghdad, and on the other side of the world many Americans are asking a question: Do we have to go back there – perhaps even with ground troops?
So far, Barack Obama has only given half-hearted responses to this question. A mere 275 soldiers have been deployed, a special unit to protect the U.S. Embassy and American nationals in Iraq.
The president is ducking away – once again. He speaks but does not act. He has excluded the use of ground troops for the time being, as he wants to keep other military options open. Air strikes and the use of drones are part of the conversation.
But clear decisions? So far, they have been nonexistent.
Of course, under Obama, America is undergoing a historic change in its foreign policy. It will no longer be the world's policeman; instead, it intends to act with restraint. This is not bad per se, and it is understandable, particularly after all the deaths in Iraq, but there is a problem that cannot easily be dismissed out of hand: After the military-political excesses of the Bush administration, America is now threatening to fall into the other extreme. Will it continue to refuse to help in the future when it is needed? It is clear that since the Iraq war, the U.S. has had a special responsibility for the country, so Obama cannot pretend that it is none of his concern.
Obama hopes that he will be spared making a decision. He appears to be relying on the factor of time and the success of the Iraqi government troops – and he wants to encourage the Iraqi Shiite President Nouri al-Maliki to change his policies. The Sunnis have been marginalized for many years, and this has indirectly driven the fighters toward ISIS.
Obama's waiting is risky: If the ISIS militia manage to conquer the Shiite heartland around Baghdad, Obama's withdrawal of troops would in retrospect end in a total defeat. ISIS is trying to establish a radical Islamic state in Iraq that could act as a huge training camp for international terrorists.
Does America want to stand by and watch that happen?
Obama's policy of military restraint may now even force him to seek contact with Iran. The Shiite regime in Tehran has, aside from the sluggish nuclear talks in Geneva, cleverly brought itself back into the international game and offered Maliki help in the fight against ISIS. So, Iran could be a regulatory regional power – with the express acquiescence of Washington. It would be an amazing twist.
The situation in Iraq highlights Obama's dilemma: In his foreign policy, he often acts with one eye on U.S. domestic policy, and can be alarmingly passive and indecisive. "You got the job done," he said five years ago in front of his soldiers when he announced the withdrawal from Iraq.
So much for that! This job is far from done.http://watchingamerica.com/News/241148/a-comment-on-us-foreign-policy-americas-dangerous-hesitation/