EDITORIAL – Military running out of steam
IN RECENT MONTHS it is well documented by many political analysts that while Arab nations were settling old scores with their insufferable dictators, United States foreign policy started taking a backseat as events unfolded at a giddy pace.
Attempts at swaying Arab revolts teetered between shameless diplomatic efforts to sustain American interests in Yemen and a NATO military intervention, as in Libya, which is still being “marketed” to the global public as a humanitarian intervention, instead of a war it really is.
The indecisiveness and double standards on display are not new and should be a signal lesson for CARICOM leaders who should always remember that American foreign policy is based on its vital interests rather than friendship.
The United States’ stance during the Tunisian popular revolution ranged from complete lack of interest (when the protests started last December) to sudden enthusiasm for freedom and democracy (when the revolts led to the ousting of long-time President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January).
The same foreign policy pendulum repeatedly swung both ways during the Egyptian Revolution. The American political definitions of former President Hosni Mubarak shifted from that of a friendly leader to that of a loathsome dictator who had to go for the sake of Egyptian democracy.
Politically and economically exhausted, and attentive to their electorates clamouring for a shift of priorities to urgent domestic concerns, Europe and America are no longer very capable of imposing their values and interests through costly military interventions in faraway lands.
It would be interesting to see how global affairs develop during this prolonged economic cycle affecting the United States and Europe. Recent statements emanating from the Obama administration officials do not inspire much confidence.
Secretary of Defence Robert Gates was blunt when he recently lambasted NATO’s European members for their lukewarm response to the alliance’s missions and for their poor military capabilities. He warned that if Europe’s attitude to NATO did not change, the Alliance would degenerate into “collective military irrelevance”.
Europe is in the midst of its own economic crisis and is in a desperate struggle to secure the very existence and viability of the European Union. As a result, it is retreating into a narrow regional outlook – like all other countries – and assuming that the United States will carry the burden of major global issues. Not so any more!
These are trying economic times for America, largely owing to its imperial overstretch financed by Chinese credit. According to Gates, “Any future defence secretary who advises the president to send a big American land army into Asia or into the Middle East or Africa should have his head examined.”