Like it or not, the era of President Barack Obama and American weakness, real or perceived, has already emboldened many nations with long-term anti-American strategic goals: namely, Russia, China, Iran and North Korea.
Many in the world have already concluded that Brack Obama is soft, for his overtures so far toward the Taliban, Russia, Iran and others.
President Obama’s move to close the terrorist prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba (Gitmo) was cause for applause in human rights circles and also with terrorists.
On Afghanistan, Peter Begen of the New America Foundation said “It is a longstanding cliché that there is no military solution in Afghanistan, only a political one.” On President Obama’s idea to hold talks with the Taliban he said, “Doing deals with the Taliban today could further destabilize Afghanistan. “
And economically, there is no dobt that the U.S. is weakened.
Just today, North Korea threatened war with the United States — a war that would certainly involve Japan and South Korea. North Korea could not be making such threats and could not even think about testing a long range strategic missile just now unless China consented to this brazen move or at least looked the other way. China supplies North Korea with almost all of its food, oil, luxury goods and currency. Without China, North Korea would be impotent and meaningless.
Yet China is acceding to North Korea’s bluster and browbeating of the United States just as China itself is harassing a U.S. Naval vessel in international waters — a violation of international law.
This US Navy file photo shows the military Sealift Command ocean surveillance ship USNS Impeccable (T-AGOS-23). Five Chinese vessels maneuvered dangerously close to a US Navy ship in the South China Sea on Sunday, March 8, 2009, approaching within 25 feet of the unarmed surveillance ship, the Pentagon said.(AFP/NVNS)
China doesn’t care much for international law and international waters: just ask Japan and Vietnam. Both those nations have long struggles with China encroaching upon the coasts of Japan and Vietnam as the Chinese super power searches for more oil beneath the sea floor.
China has become the most voracious user of oil and other mineral resources on the planet as it strives to keep its factories busy producing goods for sale overseas. China is in Afghanistan, protected from the Taliban by U.S. troops, while Chinese companies exploit Afghan copper. And China just signed a $50 billion (U.S. dollars, cast) agreement to get oil from Russia for ten years.
Last year China was no help when the U.S. wanted access to Myanmar to deliver humanitarian relief supplies to those stricken by the cyclone. After the crisis passed, China signed a big oil deal with Myanmar.
China wants the U.S. out of its sphere of influence from North Asia to Somalia, and is planning an ocean-going navy to eventualy make that goal a military reality.
China recently opened the largest sea port in the world, in Gwadar, Pakistan — directly astride the sea lanes used to bring out out of the Persian Gulf to Japan, the U.S. and others.
Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to go into debt — to China.
China allows North Korea to antagonize the United States because that is in China’s long term strategic interest — and a weakening U.S. plays into China’s strategy perfectly.
Russia also wants the U.S. out of its area of influencce. Russia recently paid off Kyrgyzstan, which was helping the American effort in Afghanistan with an air base. Just after Russia gave Kyrgyzstan its big aid deal, that nation announced the closure of the Manas air base supporting the U.S.
A KC-135 Stratotanker sits on the flightline at Manas Air Base, Kyrgyzstan, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2006. Ground crews will have to de-ice the tanker before it can take off on a refueling mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Paul Clifford)
Generous Russian loans to Kyrgyzstan totaling US$2 billion and a non-repayable US$150 million grant, were announced the day before Kyrgyzstan said Manas would be closed and the U.S. Air Force evicted.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation had been insisting on the closure of Manas to the U.S. Air Force since 2005.
What the heck is the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation?
The Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) is an intergovernmental mutual-security organisation which was founded in 2001 by the leaders of China , Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
But the key players of the SCO are Russia and China who don’t want the U.S. or anyone else in the West anywhere near that region of the world, rich in oil and other minerals, that includes Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.
China and Russia conducted their largest joint military exercise ever last year.
And finally Iran wants the U.S. out of the Persian Gulf, away from Arab oil, and at arms length from Isreal.
Joshua Gross wrote for the Christian Sciences Monitor today, “Iran recently launched its first satellite into orbit in what The New York Times called, ‘a shot across the bow of American diplomacy,’ and US President Barack Obama passed along a secret letter to in an attempt to enlist the Russians in an international effort to contain Iran’s nuclear program.”
The global economic crisis, which has eliminated something like $50 trillion in world wealth, has hit the United States and NATO very hard, which fuels the beliefe that Mr. Obama and the U.S. are weaker than ever just now.
That’s why Iran and North Korea are talking missiles and nukes, China has chosen just now to harass a U.S. ship, and Russia is gloating like a cat bird that Obama is already pleading for help with Iran from Putin and Medvedev….
John E. Carey
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia
March 9, 2009
Iranian clerics watch the launch of a Shahab-3 ballistic missile outside Qom in 2006. A top Iranian military commander said that the country has missiles that can reach the nuclear sites of its arch-foe Israel.(AFP/File/null)
CNN on Peter Bergen and Afghanistan:
Joshua Gross on Iran: