CNAS Report: America’s Extended Hand

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 5 months ago

The Center for a New American Security has issued a report (h/t Blackfive) entitled America’s Extended Hand: Assessing the Obama Administration’s Global Engagement Strategy.  More on that shortly.

Recall the ineptitude, blunders and poor judgment we have discussed recently regarding the Obama administration and its foreign policy.  The administration has chosen to work with criminal and gangster Ahmed Wali Karzai in Kandahar in the belief that they can change him.  In Rapidly Collapsing U.S. Foreign Policy Part II we discussed how Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and even the UAE are so certain that our “diplomatic” efforts with Iran will fail to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons that they have all begun pursuing nuclear power programs in earnest (as predecessors to a nuclear weapons program).  Iran is increasingly aggressive in the region.  An Iranian aircraft buzzed the U.S. Aircraft Carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower as reported by the Navy Times, and I reported that “During the 2008 deployment of the 26th MEU, an Iranian helicopter all but landed on the deck of the USS Iwo Jima.  The Marines could almost touch it from a standing position on the deck, but no actions were taken.  The Navy refused to allow the Marines to fire on the aircraft.”

In spite of recommendations to seriously engage the Caucasus region, we have snubbed our allies in Georgia (in spite of their having sent the Georgian 31st Infantry Battalion to assist us in Afghanistan)  and most recently it appears that we are losing Azerbaijan.  “Azerbaijan’s long-standing alignment with the United States is rapidly unraveling in the wake of Washington’s recent policy initiatives. As perceived from Baku, those US initiatives fly in the face of Azerbaijan’s staunch support over the years to US strategic interests and policies in the South Caucasus-Caspian region.”  Read the entire sad and depressing Jamestown report.

Just today it was reported that:

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, said Wednesday that if Israel attacked Iran it would be destroyed within a week.

Speaking at a political conference of ultra-conservatives in Iran’s north, Mashaei said, “If the Zionist regime attacks Iran, the Zionists will have no longer than a week to live.”

The semi-official Fars news agency quoted him as saying that the Islamic Republic would destroy Israel “in less than 10 days”.

On his visit to Saudi Arabia he then claimed that “the annihilation of Israel should be a global goal.”  The additional instances are too difficult and time consuming to catalog – from our “ally” Russia attempting to undermine our presence at the Manas air base (ending this fiasco cost us a fortune) to Obama’s ghastly and dreadful West Point speech on Afghanistan, to the refusal to fund the reliable replacement warhead program, to the decision to grant Russian inspectors full access to our nuclear weapons sites, to the idea that we can find moderate elements of Hezbollah.  Exhaustion prevents me from completing the matrix of all of the gaffes, blunders, screw-ups, ill-conceived notions, and failed policies.

Now to the CNAS report.  The money quotes are given below.

We conclude that, in many ways, the Obama administration has achieved its initial objective of “re-starting” America’s relationship with the world. The administration clearly understands the importance of dialogue and of listening to foreign publics, and it is attempting to incor­porate a sensitivity to public opinion into its foreign policy decision making and translate public support into political leverage …

America’s global standing was in tatters due to an unpopular war in Iraq, a perception of unbridled American unilateralism and charges that the United States hypocritically advanced democ­racy abroad while compromising democratic values at home.

The folks at CNAS aren’t stupid; they just comprehend the world differently than do I.  But this comprehension is so ideologically skewed and out of touch with reality it makes their work literally unusable.  Time will be brutal to “scholarship” such as this.  When Iran goes nuclear, reports like this will be trumpeted to show how naive this kind of research is.  When Israel has to go it alone and war comes to the Middle East, my (and Michael Ledeen’s) advocacy for regime change (and my advocacy for fomenting an internal insurgency) will look like a cake walk compared to the mess we are left with, and much less violent and convulsive.  When Russia invades Georgia again on their way to relieve their bases in Armenia, we will look stupid and weak in our alliance with the mobster Putin (and even more ignorant if we award the tanker contract to EADS, a company in which Vladimir Putin owns a significant part).

With scholarship like this, CNAS is simply irrelevant.  They will have neither a positive nor a negative impact on policy.  The studies they are producing lack seriousness and gravitas.

  • Warbucks

    The US Institute of Peace, a bi-partisan institute in Washington is coincidentally offering one of its researcher’s books, “How Do Americans Negotiate?,” which is part of a larger compendium of country by country foreign policy negotiating style of every world class power…. Japan, Germany, France, Russia, and so on. http://www.usip.org/node/5678

    I’m ordering my copy to compare USIP theory derived from the past with facts derived from the current administration. The question that needs to be answered is: Does in-depth research on foreign policy demonstrate a substance different from our national political rhetoric?

    Commenting rhetorically, the Obama Administration seems to be all about talking-the-talk, not walking-the-walk as to domestic issues. This ideologue posture worked to put him in office.

    But he seems caught in a rut of his own making when it comes to foreign policy. When he drags his rhetoric into the chambers of his cabinet members and into foreign policy, we seem to see an administration of ideologues caught in a closed-loop supported by fewer and fewer US voters and much of his own base.

    What’s more, there does not seem to be a Republican around that wants to rhetorically offer any alternative emotions to take charge of this War. It is not, fully, President Obama’s war as he settles deeply into office, too far in to pass the buck off back to President Bush, even though he tries constantly. There is no fire-in-the-belly from Republican opposition and the world sees our domestic silence and moves in to test our resolve once more.

    Republicans have decided that what really matters (and I think they are correct in this observation) is Tea-Party emotions — small government and personal liberty, best represents American values even if this has to include Wall Street – bad boy- regulation.

    Broadening the war in any major front does not fit the scenario of either party as we approach the 2012 election campaign cycle which will get into full swing come 2011. Dealing with domestic energy, cleaning up the oil spill and responding to future disasters (Oil Spill In The Gulf — How Do We Adapt? http://umc-unofficiallaymanopenforum.ning.com/forum/topics/oil-spill-in-the-gulf-how-do-1), Wall Street regulation, all fit both parties’ rhetorical-emotional political bases, both from opposite poles of response.

    Small government and personal liberty appears to be the battle ground for 2012. No matter what we say or do, we are not going to move off that message as long as there continues to be victory for the opposition in the Tea Party message: small government, personal liberty.

  • Warbucks

    Whoops &*%$#!!! I meant to say “It is now, fully, President Obama’s war” not “It is not, fully, President Obama’s war”. We need an edit button. Sorry about that.


You are currently reading "CNAS Report: America’s Extended Hand", entry #5014 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Center For a New American Security,Obama Administration,Policy and was published May 20th, 2010 by Herschel Smith.

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