10 September 2014

Uncommon Commentary #423: Between Barack and a Hard Place

Much has been said and written lately about the USA’s abdication of leadership of the “Free World” under Obama.  Indubitably it is true that the President’s obvious reluctance to take any sort of action that might help to redress the international situation, and his ineptitude in managing US intervention when his critics and public opinion prod him into taking such action, have contributed significantly to the recent rapid deterioration of the state of our world.  Hawks, however, ought to keep a few things in mind:
  1. A bankrupt country cannot be a superpower.  “Sequestration” has had deleterious effects on our ability to fight wars, but a land that owes as much money as ours does must make drastic cuts in spending on the military as well as in other areas of government.
  2. Our performance as the world’s policeman was rather less than adequate even before Obama became commander-in-chief.  On occasion we had a success like the 1949 Berlin Airlift or the 1983 invasion of Grenada, but more often we had a failure like the botch in Vietnam or that in Somalia.  As I’ve written previously, there is at least one thing worse than isolationism: incompetent intervention.
  3. Should the USA cease to exist, some adjustments would have to be made—most countries in Europe have gotten lazy about the need for defense, preferring to rely upon their alliance with us—but civilization would likely survive, as it did for five millennia before the founding of the USA.  (It ought to be noted that most threats to peace and prosperity nowadays come from such non-state actors as terrorist groups, which can be thwarted by polities that don’t have high defense expenditures.  We saw an example of this in 2013, when the French military expelled Al-Qaeda from Mali with no assistance from us except for our supplying a few remotely-operated vehicles, known colloquially as “drones”.)
In conclusion, I implore the interventionists to remember their mistake regarding Libya three years ago, and just leave bad-enough alone by allowing Obama to not lead from behind or from anywhere else.  If we really want to do something to oppose the false goddess ISIS (or ISIL; now, it seems, known correctly as the Islamic State), let’s first amend the US Constitution so that we can have recall elections to oust the President in mid-term, and then replace the current one with somebody who would make a competent commander-in-chief.