Thursday, December 12, 2013

The US foreign policy "tilt" to Asia

William Pfaff has some useful cautionary thoughts on the Obama Administration's clearly announced but little explained foreign policy "tilt" to Asia, i.e., China, in How History Will Remember Obama (Hint: Not Well) TruthDig 12/10/2013:

The last time the United States caused its overseas military forces to "pivot" from the American mainland and their commitments in Europe was 1950, when North Korea invaded South Korea, where units of the American occupation army were deployed. That produced a bloody war in which China became involved as North Korea’s ally. The dispute has yet to be settled, a nominal state of war still existing so far as North Korea is concerned, that recently took an 85-year-old American tourist and war veteran belated prisoner of war, but now have released him, the affair no doubt proving bad for tourism.

Barack Obama decided to run for president in 2007 and won, as the man who would end George Bush’s Iraq war. He did so up to a point (see above) but enlarged the one in Afghanistan, following the generals’ advice about which he had little choice, having been, in civilian life, a community organizer and teacher. Since then, he has followed the beat of the drum in the Middle East and South Asia, bombing Libya and enthusiastically offering to bomb Syria. He has inaugurated drone assassinations (not something endorsed in international law) and perpetuated Guantanamo imprisonment (ditto). He has opened a new era in America of governmental secrecy and persecution of dissidents, matters in which the United States was, in the past, considered to have an edifying record.

The wars that he has not ended and the moral climate he has sustained in American government, in succession to George Bush, will be the remembered qualities of his presidency. This seems a disheartening disappointment, which the United States might have been spared. [my emphasis]
He makes an important point. There are various ways to frame it, but a militarized, war-oriented foreign policy like the one the US has now will be a persistent barrier to developing a progressive (i.e., left-leaning) "tilt" in US economic and social policies.


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