Monday, February 28, 2011

America's new Foreign Policy Entanglement

The events of the past weeks have served as a dramatic wake up call for President Obama and his retinue of advisors, as well as America as a whole regarding re-thinking their approaches to foreign policy in North Africa, the Middle east and worldwide. Although Most African Americans are familiar with Egypt and the turmoil occurring across its chronicled cities and other nation states in the region, grievously most have a curbed comprehension of the impact these occurrences have on President Obama and any policy deliberated as a function of these events. For President Obama and his administration, the conundrum from this vantage point is not purely formulating policy for America, but conspicuously deciding how to formulate policy on behalf of Israel and ally’s in the region or the inchoate masses of the secular populations in revolt.

First and foremost is dealing with addressing emotion, better know as terror as a singular attribute that Americans alone confront in concert with dealing with autocrats all for the good of us, under the guise of peace and Islamic fundamentalism. Mistakes made some 30 years ago in Iran, and what we have observed in Egypt and Libya, still fall on deaf ears – even for the prophet of all prophets Obama. In addition, our monolithic approach to supporting what is best for Israel and a myopic focus on Al Qaeda is misplaced and may do more harm than good. Common sense would advocate looking at all nations singularly but our focus on terrorism prevents such. There are differences between military dictators and monarchs, but starvation, repression, discrimination and poverty are least common dominators if one accepts and place the people of nations first.

In Libya, The United States is openly spoken out against the violence in the country’s second-largest city, Benghazi, where there are reports of security forces firing on peaceful protesters and where human-rights groups say many have been killed in recent days. In Iran, unconfirmed reports of anti-government gatherings on being broken up by a security police and members of the feared pro-government Basij militia patrolling the streets again he has spoken out.

The hand he is dealing with is progresively getting difficult to contain. There is Raymond Davis, the American who shot dead two men in Lahore, triggering a diplomatic crisis between Pakistan and the US. A former CIA agent, he opened fire with a semi-automatic Glock pistol on the two men who had pulled up in front of his car at a red light on 25 January. The 36-year-old former special forces soldier fired 10 shots and got out of his car to shoot one man twice in the back as he fled. A third man was crushed by an American vehicle as it rushed to Davis’s aid. Police confiscated from his car: an unlicensed pistol, a long-range radio, a GPS device, an infrared torch and a camera with pictures of buildings around Lahore. Plus, the possibility of unrest growing and spreading in the region and its impact on the price of Oil and the recovering US Economy makes all even more difficult. We have already seen militant actions lead to blowing up Iraq's largest oil refinery.

This is the position Obama is in. His taciturn inactivity places us in more danger by ignoring this for the people which make matters worse, for they will not forget either his inactivity or ineptness when orating support for the likes of King Abdullah of Saudi, a Mubarak of Egypt, Bashar Assad of Syria, or King Hamad bin isa al-Khalife of Bahrain. President Obama needs to make a decision regarding what is next for Libya and the Middle East. He must no make the mistake of the past and be able to see that the protest in North African and the Arab world are closer to the protest observed here in America during the 60s and the civil rights era. For one they are the youth of these nations just like it was the youth in the united sates that hit the streets then.

It will be difficult. On the one hand he will need to defend individual policy parameters that support nation building, democracy and human rights; not just in North Africa and the Middle East but Russia and china also. He must in addition, re-establish US credibility, and form new relationships with the new leadership of Egypt, Tunisia, and other places if such comes to fruition. And if not, engage the opposition leadership while maintain close ties with the military of said countries.

This will mean changing the US Foreign policy assumption of a one sixe fit all approach. Although outside of the region, we may be able to learn a thing or two from the riots in Greece and India, and use this to re-evaluate what we did wrong for example in Iran in 1979. Regardless, this is a difficult situation he faces since it is obvious his noted difficulty is siding with the ideas of freedom, liberty and democracy for the citizenry or maintaining an autocratic association with a dictator for the sake of a quasi-peace for Israel, and good standing of the US in the eyes of the regions other despots.

The President’s talk has been top shelf; demanding change now but it is rhetorical seeing that he and his state Department are torn between advancing democracy in the region and the old school, approach that change “taking time” Obama’s decision will become even more difficult in the future and will range from the role of Islam in politics. He should take into consideration that polity should be based on security and the well-being of the US first and foremost.

Things in the Arab world will continue to surprise and if Obama is to maintain any type of control, he must become a student of history and learn from the mistakes in US foreign policy of the past. he does have one advantage, he was opposite Rush Limbaugh, Glenn beck, Newt Gingrich, and Mike Huckabee who criticized the President for not Support Mubarak.


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