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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Pax Romana - Pax Americanus

Let's face it, US foreign policy has been absolutely lousy or non-existent since President Ronald Wilson Reagan.  It just IS.

Obama's foreign policy has been absolutely damaging to the reputation of America, and allied interests, and emboldened our enemies the world over.  I believe we are witnessing the last days of America's greatness, and only our oldest ally England remain, and that largely because we have a shared heritage and many mutual interests globally.  We also have a reputation of standing for liberty the world over.
Do you recall Obama's empty promise to restore America and even borrowing Reagan's famous words "shining beacon on a hill"?


The world has seen several collapses notably Pax Romana, and the British Empire.  When compared to such events, is it really such a stretch to conclude that America's best days are well and truly behind her?  I think NOT and I'm not alone:
Victor Davis Hanson writing for The Hoover Institute draws exactly the same conclusion and details it marvelously:
Amid all the talk of the isolationism that supposedly characterizes the Obama administration’s foreign policy, we forget that since World War II, the global order has largely been determined by U.S. engagement. The historically rare state of prosperity and peace that defined the postwar world were due to past U.S. vigilance and sacrifice.
Germany in the last 150 years has been at the center of three European wars, winning one, losing another, and destroying much of Europe and itself in the third. Yet present-day Germany has the largest economy in Europe and the fourth largest in the world. It is a global leader in high technology and industrial craftsmanship. For seventy years Germany, even after its second historic unification in 1989, has not translated such economic preeminence into military power, much less aggression. In fact, the strategic status quo of postwar Europe—with Britain and France, and their relatively smaller and weaker economies, as the continent’s two sole nuclear powers—remains mostly unquestioned.
That strange fact is due almost entirely to the U.S.-led NATO’s determination to protect the Eastern flank of Europe from potential enemies, to reassure Germany that it need not rearm to enjoy pan-European influence, and to quietly support the European nuclear monopolies of Britain and France. While the U.S. has always talked up the American-inspired United Nations, its first allegiance has always been to assure liberal democratic states in Europe of unshakeable American support. Any weakening of the latter might send Europe back into the tumultuous twentieth century.
A similar paradox exists in Asia. Pakistan and North Korea are two of the weakest economies and most unstable political systems in the region. Yet both nations are nuclear—despite rather than because of U.S.-led efforts at nonproliferation. In comparison, by any logical measure, far wealthier and more sophisticated states like Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, and perhaps the Philippines should all be nuclear, given their expertise, dangerous locales, and the looming shadows of three proud, and sometime aggressive nations—China, India, and Russia—in their midst. Yet none have. That fact too is largely because of American security guarantees.
... Then there is the rogue’s gallery. Just as Rome once put down nationalists, insurrectionists, and challengers of the Pax Romana, such as Ariovistus, Boudicca, Cleopatra, Jugurtha, Mithridates, Vercingetorix, and Zenobia, so too the United States has gone after state and non-state enemies of the postwar system, both during and after the Cold War. Sometimes authoritarians sent their armies across national borders or were guilty of genocide; at other times, unhinged nation-states and free-lancing zealots sponsored or committed acts of international terrorism. In response, the U.S.—sometimes successfully, sometimes not so much—has gone to war or at least gone after the likes of Moammar Gaddafi, Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Slobodan Milosevic, Ho Chi Minh, Manuel Noriega, Kim Il-sung, and the Taliban. Like it or not, only the United States can prevent the theocracy in Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, the Assad dictatorship from gassing its own people, or al Qaeda from staging another 9/11 attack.
... The Obama administration declares climate change the chief global threat. That new inanimate target is welcome news to aggressive nations that had once feared that their own reckless behavior might have been so singled out.
Americans did not fully appreciate the costly postwar global order that the United States had established over the last seventy years. Maybe they will start to as they witness it vanish.
We witness these and similar blunders in the handling of the Middle East under Obama also. The "Arab Spring" and the overthrow of the government in Egypt, the killing of Muammar al-Gaddafi and events in Libya, the events in Syria, and now Iraq have destabilized vast regions, and killed hundreds of thousands of people. With ISIS/ISIL ravaging Syria and Iraq and may be moving into Jordan. Stratfor Global Intelligence summarized the situation: "The conflicts in Syria and Iraq are connected. The border between the two countries has become meaningless, and the emerging crisis in Iraq has direct consequences on the fighting in Syria. Neither the Syrian regime nor the rebels that oppose it stand to gain a decisive advantage from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's recent actions in Iraq. As things stand now, the primary beneficiary will be the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant itself."
Stratfor continues:
Because of the way its military advance in Iraq has played out, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant has earned prestige and a propaganda boost -- it is viewed as a competent organization capable of decisive results. This growing perception will be crucial in the group's ability to attract a growing share of the foreign fighters heading toward the region, and possibly draw additional Syrian rebel fighters to its ranks. The group's seizure of weapons and vehicles -- much of this equipment taken from retreating Iraqi soldiers -- and reportedly more than $1 billion in funds during the recent Iraq offensive will only increase its attractiveness to jihadist fighters.
... The growth in the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's prestige could in theory have detrimental effects on the rebels and on the Syrian regime. Since the transnational jihadists serve the cause of neither, their efforts in Iraq will create a mixed set of variables for the combatants in Syria
... Perhaps the greatest negative consequence for the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad is the shift of Iraqi Shiite militants back to their homeland to confront a resurgent Sunni opposition. The Syrian regime has come to rely heavily on foreign fighters -- be they Hezbollah combatants, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps advisers or Shiite volunteers from across the region -- to bolster its ranks and negate its demographic disadvantage. These foreign fighters, most notably the Hezbollah members, played a critical role in halting the string of defeats that beset the regime in late 2012, and they continue to spearhead regime offensives across Syria. Furthermore, and unlike what has happened with the Syrian rebels, the regime has not suffered from divisive infighting due to the influx of foreign fighters.
... The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's current focus on Iraq has also wrought a notable decline in the intensity of rebel infighting. In the months prior to the fall of Mosul, rebel infighting in Deir el-Zour province in particular resulted in hundreds of rebel casualties as Jabhat al-Nusra and its rebel allies battled against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant fighters. Though these clashes continue, particularly in Aleppo and Deir el-Zour provinces, the intensity of the fighting has markedly decreased, a clear sign that the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant has turned its attention, and likely a large number of its fighters, to Iraq. It could always move its forces back across the unrecognized border, but for now, the group appears to be prioritizing Iraq and will likely keep reinforcing its fight there against Iraqi government counteroffensives.
... However, Washington and its allies will be increasingly nervous about supplying advanced weaponry to the rebels in Syria. Having shown it can seize weaponry from the Iraqi army, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's potential ability to seize weapons delivered by the United States to often ragtag rebel groups worries the Americans. This re-evaluation comes at a particularly bad time for the rebels, who seemed on the verge of finally convincing the United States and other allies to deliver substantially more weapons to their fighters.
Interestingly, while the regime preferred not to interrupt its enemies' infighting, it undertook a notable aerial bombing campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, both within Syria and across the border in Iraq, after the fall of Mosul. Two things can explain this turn of events. First and less important, the regime may sense an opportunity to strike at the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and relieve pressure on regime forces that come into contact with the militant rebels -- particularly the 17th division in Raqqa province -- while the group is busy in Iraq. The primary reason, however, is the regime's need to demonstrate that it is invested in the well-being of its allies, and in particular that it is attuned to the concerns of its patron, Iran. With the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant becoming a major threat to Baghdad, Hezbollah and Tehran's interests in Iraq, the Syrian regime will try to show that it is doing its part in the wider struggle. The al Assad regime can leverage an opportunity to share intelligence with others, since the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant is now the prevalent regional threat.
It is clear that the fall of Mosul and the spike in the fighting in Iraq have further complicated an already elaborate regional conflict where borders are fast losing their importance. For the Syrian battle space, the developments in Iraq bring a mixed array of advantages and disadvantages to the varying combatants. Even if it does not decisively tilt the battle, the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant's Iraq pivot will play an important role in the conflict in Syria.
Read the rest of the Stratfor report here
"Iraq's Crisis Changes the Battle Space in Syria is republished with permission of Stratfor."
Bob Taylor, of Communities Digital News goes even further in observations of this disastrous administration:
CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 26, 2014 — While the media wrings its hands over the formation of a caliphate by ISIL in Iraq, we should understand that we have been living under a mini-caliphate in the U.S. for nearly six years.
Barack Obama never wanted to be a “real” president of the United States. He much prefers to think of himself as a prophet. Obama came into office being hailed as a messiah, but “prophet” is more suitable to his goals during his administration.
What is happening in the Middle East with the formation of a terrorist army called ISIL (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) is no accident. Perhaps it was not the actual design of the Obama Administration, but the president’s foreign policy inexperience combined with his disinterest in international affairs, his Islamic leanings, his political correctness and his ultra-liberal ideologies have resulted in serious global consequences that are far more dangerous than we have the ability to control.
Sadly, while President Obama dithers about what to do in the Middle East, the enemy gains strength by the day.
Retired Lt. Col. Ralph Peters summed it up on “The Kelly File”: “When America is strong, the world complains. When America is weak, the world suffers.”
Meanwhile, there are rumblings about impeachment along with reports that House Majority Leader John Boehner intends to sue Obama for overstepping his presidential authority. At this stage of Obama’s tenure, both measures are a waste of time, energy and resources.
There is already a program in place for removing corrupt politicians from office. It is called an election.
During the campaign of 2012 it was obvious that Obama was lying to the American people about every aspect of his presidency. The pundits followed suit by making it a Republican/Democrat competition for the presidency, but it was never anything close to that. The election of 2012 was about the very survival of our country.
These stark indictments of an incompetent and dangerous president lead me to conclude that Pax Americanus is going the way of Pax Romana, it just won't take us 500 years to get there.
Or have I been eating paint chips again?

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