Category Archives: Diplomacy

Of Pre- and Postmodern Poseurs

Obama’s postmodernism has met its match in premodern Putin.

by Victor Davis Hanson // PJ Media 

Vladimir Putin thinks he has a winning formula to restore the global clout of the old Soviet Union. Contemporary Russia is a chaotic, shrinking, and petrodollar-fed kleptocracy. It certainly lacks the population, the vast resources, and territory of its former communist incarnation. For Putin, restoring a lot of the latter without necessarily the former failed communist state makes sense — especially if he can do it on the cheap with passive-aggressive diplomacy and not getting into a shooting war with the far more powerful U.S. If there is a downside for Putin annexing the Crimea in the short term, no one has yet to explain it. Read more →

Peace for Our Time

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

The Iranian agreement comes not in isolation, unfortunately. The Syrian debacle instructed the Iranians that the Obama administration was more interested in announcing a peaceful breakthrough than actually achieving it. Read more →

Jumping Off the Global Tiger’s Back

The Obama administration has little interest in world leadership.

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online 

The United States has ridden — and tamed — the wild global tiger since the end of World War II. The Globefrantic ride has been dangerous, to us, but a boon to humanity. At the same time, America’s leadership role has been misrepresented and misunderstood abroad and at home, including by some of our country’s own leaders. Accordingly, our current president, Barack Obama, has decided to climb down from the tiger, with the certain consequence that it will run wild again.

The crowning achievement of postwar American policy was the defeat of Soviet Communism. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, America aimed at a “new world order.” There was to be no place, at least in theory, for renegade dictators like Saddam Hussein or Slobodan Milosevic. After 9/11, the U.S. declared a “war on terror” and led an international effort to stop Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and Islamist jihadists.

Despite the occasional mishaps, setbacks, and errant strategies, U.S. leadership nonetheless ensured worldwide free commerce, travel, and communications. When it could, America promoted free-market economies and democracy in authoritarian states. Read more →

Syria In Historical Context

What lessons does the past have for President Obama’s policy?

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

President Obama’s on-and-off-again planned American attack on Syria is nothing new. Besides its five declared wars, America has a habit of intervening all over the world. Read more →

Our Contrary President

by Bruce S. Thornton // FrontPage Magazine

Remember the “contrary” Sioux warrior from Little Big Man? He did everything backwards––said “hello” for “goodbye,” washed in sand instead of water. Our president is the foreign policy contrary. He has gotten backwards every maxim of proven wisdom for dealing with the rest of the world. Teddy Roosevelt counseled, “Speak softly and carry a big stick,” but Obama has spoken loudly and carried a little stick. Churchill said, “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing—after they’ve tried everything else.” Obama can be always counted on to do the wrong thing––before he’s tried anything else. The Roman general Sulla was “no better friend, and no worse enemy.” Read more →

America as Pill Bug

Closing out embassies was prudent in the short term. But what message does it send?

by Victor Davis Hanson // National Review Online

We’ve all run across the pill bug in our gardens. At the first sign of danger, the tiny paranoid crustacean suddenly turns into a ball — in hopes the danger will have passed when he unrolls.

That roly-poly bug can serve as a fair symbol of present-day U.S. foreign policy, especially in our understandable weariness over Iraq, Afghanistan, and the scandals that are overwhelming the Obama administration.

On August 4, U.S. embassies across the Middle East simply closed on the basis of intelligence reports of planned al-Qaeda violence. The shutdown of 21 diplomatic facilities was the most extensive in recent American history.

Read more →

Who Will Bell America?

by Victor Davis Hanson

National Review Online

Remember the medieval fable about the mice that wanted their dangerous enemy, the cat, belled, but each preferred not to be the one to attempt the dangerous deed? Read more →

American Recessional

by Victor Davis Hanson

Tribune Media Services

Republicans and Democrats are blaming one another for impending cuts to the defense budget brought about by sequestration. Read more →

Diplomacy: What Not To Do

by Victor Davis Hanson

NRO’s The Corner

1980 Redux

We are in scary times. The horrific photos of Ambassador Stevens bring to mind memories of Mogadishu or Fallujah, and make us ask why were there not dozens, if not vastly more, Marines around him in his hour of need. By preemptively caving into radical Islam and not defending the US Constitution and our traditions of protecting even uncouth expression, the Cairo embassy’s shameful communiqué only invited greater hostility by such manifest appeasement. Read more →

Democracy Promotion or Islamist Promotion?

by Bruce Thronton

Frontpage Magazine

The hope that democracy would bloom in Egypt following our collusion in removing Hosni Mubarak looks more and more delusional every day. Even our foreign policy wishful thinkers are no longer peddling the canard that the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood is “secular” and “moderate,” thus proving that Muslims devoted to the global expansion of Islam and illiberal Sharia law can be liberal democrats friendly to our interests. But despite being mugged by the Islamist reality, too many democracy promoters in the West still refuse to acknowledge that the Iranian Revolution, not the American Revolution, is the likely model for the so-called “Arab Spring.” Read more →

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