I have been wondering why our foreign policy (in my opinion) has become so hopelessly, even excruciatingly and absurdly awful, to say nothing of unproductive and harmful to our once privileged position in the scheme of things. I have concluded that the reasons for this have to do with the fact that our “leaders,” including our Secretary of State, John Kerry, our Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, and even our President, Barack Obama, as well as many others in the current administration. are simply lost in the past. They seem unable to comprehend that the “American century” is over, that we are no longer the “sole superpower,” the “shining light on the hill,” the “exceptional” and “indispensible,” “moral leader” of the “free world,” or that our hubris has now finally been exposed for what it is.
We once led the world in wealth, manufacturing, education, democracy, standard of living, technology, science, military superiority, and (perhaps) even moral authority. All of that has slipped away, especially, I think, during the Bush/Cheney nightmare years that began the present century. We no longer appear to lead in any category except apparently in military spending. But even our military superiority has proven illusory as we have lost repeatedly now to smaller countries with rag-tag armies and smaller weapons. Our billions and billions of dollars worth of nuclear bombs are basically useless and no longer separate us from other nations with the same shameful stockpiles of such weapons. Similarly, our billions of dollars worth of tanks and other armor are equally useless. We have undeniably lost power, influence, and control around the globe, even as we continue to pretend we have not. Our hypocrisy knows no end.
Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than our recent attempt to separate Ukraine from Russia and, more ridiculous than that, our apparent plan to somehow bring about regime change in Russia itself by making conditions in Russia so bad eventually Vladimir Putin would be removed from power and a ruler more to our liking would result. The hypocrisy involved in President Obama and others chastising Putin for attacking smaller countries, considering our own behavior in this regard, is so transparently foolish and dishonest as to be laughable. Our days of bringing about regime changes have come to an end in both Syria and Russia. Obama announced that “Assad must go.” Assad remains, just as Putin will, and just as Cuba and Venezuela have survived our repeated attempts against them. We have lost our control over Latin American countries and are losing it over other countries as well, naked exploitation just isn’t what it used to be.
Russia and China are not going to be cowed or controlled by the United States, and combined they represent new international politics. Similarly, a German/Russian collusion would also mean a formidable threat to American hegemony. Besides, what the hell are we doing meddling in the affairs of Europe and Russia anyway? What business is it of ours what happens there other than our now feeble attempts to control the world? There is a good reason why we (along with Israel) are now considered the greatest threat to peace.
But even as we have lost our last several wars, more and more control over others, and have sacrificed our own well-being in our futile attempt at a world-wide empire, we still have Hagel lecturing the Chinese on how to behave in the South China seas, and Kerry lecturing Russia on how to behave in the Ukraine, and Obama patronizing Putin, and Kerry pretending to be an equitable broker in the Israeli/Palestinian situation. It’s as if things haven’t changed in the past few years of the 21st century. I don’t know if Obama and others recognize the changes and just do not want to admit it, or if they still somehow cling to their beliefs about our exceptionality. Of course no one wants to admit we lost our empire during their time in power (even as we are).
“I have not become the Kings First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire.
Sir Winston Churchill