Digg! Reddit! Del.icio.us! Google! Live! Facebook! Slashdot! Technorati! StumbleUpon! Add this page to Mister Wong Newsvine!Furl! Print This Page | Send to a friend
die Tageszeitung, Germany
A Cop Without a Plan
By Bettina Gaus
The United States relied solely on its military might in ending conflicts for far too long a time. That now haunts them — in Iraq and other locales as well.
Translated By Ron Argentati
23 June 2014
Edited by Laurence Bouvard
Germany - die Tageszeitung - Original Article (German)
Glenn Beck is a self-confessed reactionary and is proud of that fact. A few days ago, the television moderator declared publicly that he had been wrong and his liberal colleagues right: Invading Iraq, he admitted, had been a mistake. One can never bring democracy about at gunpoint.
This view of military intervention is shared by many in the United States — even by those who think Beck is a right-wing radical lunatic. The conviction that military engagement by the United States will result in freedom and democracy in other lands is widely held by many Americans. Opposition to American troops is often considered to be a display of ingratitude.
Isolationist tendencies have solid footing domestically to back up the notion that the affected populations deserve neither U.S. troop support nor the sacrifices they often make. Some cases of success and gratitude can be found. The iconography of these wars support this view, from the “candy bombers” of World War II as a positive image, to the photos of dead American soldiers being dragged through the streets of Mogadishu as a negative example.
Geostrategic and economic interests aren't good selling points for war. In addition, people have lost faith that the terrorist threat can always be permanently defeated by invading foreign lands. Whoever happens to be the U.S. president, he or she will face a public weary of war. On top of that, a Nobel oeace laureate like Barack Obama has no desire to go down in history as the man who plunged his nation into yet another high-casualty conflict.
Opportunities, Not Guarantees
Obama has other options. It doesn't have to be war or nothing: A well-functioning network with other nations that have interests other than American ones could help defuse complicated crises. There is no guarantee, but that provides opportunities. But America in recent history has always threatened to use the big stick. Thus, foreign policy discussion in crisis areas has been limited to whether or not to go to war, and if so, how big of a force to send to fight the battle. Now the chickens have come home to roost; so has the fact that the United States has always chosen its allies opportunistically. That way, U.S. presidents have not had to fear public opinion: No one in the world is so interested in the United States that it need explain why it condemns Iran for persistent human rights violations but not Saudi Arabia. Or why Saddam Hussein was once a good guy until he changed to being a bad guy. And that Tehran no longer needs to be fought but should be courted.
The Depressing Truth
In recent months, Washington seems to be constantly surprised by dramatic new developments, whether they occur in Ukraine or Iraq. That begs the question of whether the legendary U.S. intelligence community is getting bad information — or is the administration just ignoring it?
The truth is probably even more depressing. The White House must surely know what's going on in the world — but no one there seems to know how to react to unfolding events. The 300 military advisers being sent to Iraq will not be able to accomplish much. There are many good reasons why the United States doesn't want to be a global cop, but without America a functioning system has to be established to act internationally. As of right now, no such thing exists. The U.N. Security Council fails repeatedly. This isn't the end of history; it's chaos. http://watchingamerica.com/News/241226/a-cop-without-a-plan/