Eliot Cohen: Witnessing An American Decline

I am not an alarmist by nature, nor am I willing to subscribe to the currents that recycle academic circles regarding American decline.  Such Cassandra’s have been in vogue since Solzhenitsyn’s misplaced Harvard address some thirty years ago.  Nevertheless, Dr. Eliot Cohen’s admonishment of retreat, both intellectual, political and strategic is on international display for those with fortitude to examine.

Gone are the days whereby American enemies and allies alike understood the central tenant grounding integrity:  consistency in principal either spoken or enacted.

Dr. Eliot Cohen resides as a Professor of Strategic Studies at the John’s Hopkin’s University for International Relations in Washington, D.C.; for years he demonstrated keen prudential prowess as he advised both the Department of State, Dr. Condoleezza Rice and hosts of others entangled with the domestic pathologies of the Near East.         He has written extensively on related matters, most often presciently with the sardonic acumen reminiscent of Dean Acheson.  His latest column reveals further evidence that the Obama administration possesses a vast reserve of strategic naivete as it pursues American interests.

In the last thirty days allies, competitors and enemies alike have proclaimed the ambivalence of American strategic depth in maintenance of its interests.  Our enemies are watching and calibrating accordingly.

We refused to engage Turkey in its cynical embrace of the botched flotilla.

Secretary of Defense Gates was publicly rebuffed in Beijing.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg of Britain declared the special relationship with America over!

All of the above reveals an administration inept at handling allies, alliances, competitors or enemies.  The Unites States continuously maintains relations with aligned and nonaligned nations.  How we demonstrate such commitment reveals the administrations character.  Those on the receiving end of our largess continue to gauge our commitments in light of shifting challenges.  The United States has solid and secretive alliances and allies that need continuous cultivating and reinforcing.  When we falter, it shows.

The bottom line explaining why such behavior was demonstrated is simple:  they do not think they have anything to fear about American anger.   Their is no penalty for crossing this President.

The larger arch thematic throughout such demonstrated resentment shows a broader pattern revealing both the strength of our enemies and an implicit perceived weakness of our Executive.

Dr. Cohen hastens us to believe that the Obama administration is making a dangerous world even more deadly in its ineffectual posture or grasp of contemporary events.

About William Holland

Systematic Theologian/International Relations
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