A Review Of Obama’s Foreign Policy Agenda: Success Or Failure?

Their are plenty of signs from which to divine an assessment of Obama’s ‘engagement’ with what it saw as Bush’s tainted idealism.  Ironically the extended hand to Beijing, Moscow and Teheran has paid very little dividend toward enlarging the range of Pax Americana.

Brutal authoritarian anti-democracy crackdowns throughout Moscow reveal a ruthless Russian autocrat unafraid of an American response.  We seem to be very reluctant to raise topics that annoy the supreme leader.  American restraint has emboldened Russia domestically.  We are witnessing a throwback to the Brezhnev era in witnessing a new Russian law that permits the KGB to arrest anyone creates the conditions for a crime.  Still, America does nothing do demonstrate its displeasure with Putin.

All of Obama’s reluctancy offends American principals.  A repressive Russia is an unreliable long term partner for any common cause against militant Islam or stability in Central Asia, a region that Russia has historically dominated.

Arabs are ever more disillusioned.  The U.S. policy for democracy in Egypt has fallen drastically.  We have cut our funding in Egypt and Jordan along with Morocco.  Obama has much to answer for in providing opportunities for militant autocracies to consolidate their grasp domestically.  In 2005-2005 their were 11 democratic elections throughout North Africa and the Near East.

South America is looking even worse.  Strong men now rule Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Cuba.  As in the Arab world, American financial commitments have receded in our support for civic society throughout autocratic Latin America.  Their is much repression, and very little liberty.

China has never really felt fear of American reprisal either political, economic or military.  When Iran’s Ahmadinejad put down the Green Revolution, Secretary of State Clinton called human rights a distraction to the broader Sinic dialogue between Beijing and Washington.  Communists in Beijing felt emboldened to move against American interests without fear of serious international repercussions.

The global trend is clear and very worrisome.  We are witnessing Jimmy Carter II.  According to the Wall St. Journal, “for the fourth consecutive year, more countries saw declines in political and civil rights than advances, citing ‘Freedom In The Word 2010’ the annual report from Freedom House.”

For the last 18 months this President has been engaging lethal autocratic regimes with no upside to speak of.  The Journal’s Editorial Board was right when it exclaimed “its time for Obama Freedom Agenda”.

Let’s Roll!

About William Holland

Systematic Theologian/International Relations
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