The Danger of America's Diminished Appetite for Interventions Overseas (Le Temps, Switzerland)
the disorderly conditions in places like Syria, choosing sides, providing
weapons or intervening is just as risky a gamble as entrusting responsibility to
regional forces to determine events and their outcomes. However, a passive
posture leaves the field open to more activist states, such as Iran, and
regimes that use violence by bombing and strafing their own people, oblivious
of the demands of decency and proportionality."
The foreign policy
of Barack Obama in his second term may be less spectacular, more modest and
Internal divisions and the economy have influenced
elections and will mobilize much of the attention of the U.S. government
throughout Obama's second term. The "fiscal cliff," tax and
immigration reform, and investments in education and infrastructure, all require
time and effort to achieve consensus and stimulate economic growth. As
President Obama curtly reminded Americans: rebuilding the nation
starts from within.
When it comes to foreign policy, the Middle East is usually
a priority. All efforts at making it an issue that divides opinion failed. None
of the candidates or parties want to be involved in a new war. That means there
will be no use of force before exhausting all peaceful avenues, nor will
sides be chosen in the civil wars that inflame the region and are inherently
Since the end of the Cold War, the Middle East has been
the most unstable region in the world, and one that required the most attention
from the United States. Will this continue to be so? It is an open question. As
the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan come to an end, the Obama Administration has announced
that its new priority is a "strategic pivot" toward East Asia. And with
the United States about to ensure its own energy independence, security in the
Persian Gulf can be regarded as a matter to be resolved by China and other
Asian countries. Terrorist threats against the United States can be countered
by remote drone attacks and according to a military doctrine called "global
strike," which reduces the need for a military presence on the ground.
America's decreasing appetite for ground offensives in
foreign lands are an inevitable reaction to the complications inherent in such
interventions, their rising cost and marginal advantages they bring. This slowdown
on the part of the United States can also be explained by the increasingly
complex situation in the region, as well as Washington's reticence due to budgetary
The Arab Spring remains a hopeful event, capable of delivering
political power to the citizens of the region and ending a long period of
repression by regimes who were cynically motivated by a fear of the future and
the Islamist alternative to their own hold on power. Yet inevitably, the
transition to more representative and effective government is filled with
New governments in Libya and Yemen have yet to assert control
over their territories. In Egypt, the alternative to repressive secular
government could be a takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood, with the risk of
opening the door to the extremist Salafist movement, with all the negative
consequences that would accrue to women and non-Muslim minorities. In Syria,
opposition to a treacherous regime, although well founded, has caused some
30,000 deaths. Mostly trapped by hope, either tenuous or real, the various
opposition groups offer an alternative government model to that of the Alawite
minority to which the Assad family belongs.
Posted by Worldmeets.US
Given these disorderly conditions, choosing sides,
providing weapons or intervening is just as risky a gamble as entrusting
responsibility to regional forces to determine events and their outcomes.
However, a passive posture leaves the field open to more activist states, such
as Iran, and regimes that use violence by bombing and strafing their own
people, oblivious of the demands of decency and proportionality.
With its sectarian connotations, the
civil war that continues in Syria is already a regional problem - and a potentially
unstable one. The wave of people seeking refuge in neighboring states, massive internal
displacements, border incidents with Turkey and the intervention of outside
forces, including Iraqis, Libyans and Iranians jihadists, form an explosive
cocktail for the stability of the region, not to mention Israel.
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