I previously wrote about what I thought Obama’s administration will look like with respect to the social issues, so now I want to discuss what his foreign policy agenda will look like. As I’ve said countless times before on my own blog, I highly doubt that Obama’s foreign policy will differ very much from that of his predecessor. Indeed, a lot of neocons have warmed up to the idea of Obama being in the White House just as they liked the activist foreign policy of Bill Clinton. Neo-Wilsonians of every stripe have no problem with Obama precisely because he believes in an interventionist foreign policy. In fact, as The American Conservative magazine reported earlier this year, Obama may even be more belligerent than President Bush.
Here’s a brief overview of what I think will take place on the foreign policy front under an Obama administration:
1. Our occupation of Iraq will continue indefinitely. Despite campaign promises to the contrary, Obama will keep our troops in Iraq for an extended period of time. This is especially true given the fact that Robert Gates is expected to remain as the interim defense secretary. The “troops home now” rhetoric was simply a ploy by the Obama campaign to keep the antiwar Left behind him both in the primaries as well as the general election. In point of fact, Obama has no intention of bringing our troops home, at least not any time soon. Expect our new president to issue statements attempting to rationalize the continued occupation.
2. The war in Afghanistan will be expanded further and we may unilaterally invade Pakistan. Now this part of his platform I actually do believe precisely because he’ll have plenty of support from the neocons to do it. Throughout the campaign, Obama had to look “tough on terror,” so he proposed even more belligerent actions within the region. Since the Afghan front was always seen as the “popular war” compared to Iraq, he’ll get away with this action easily. He’s calling for even more troops into Afghanistan and this may in fact erupt into a wider war.
3. NATO will not be disbanded and like the neocons Obama will push for further expansion of this archaic alliance. This, of course, will only provoke the Russians even further and set the stage for another cold war. The expansion of missile bases into Poland and other areas has done enough damage as it is, but don’t expect Obama to promote a more humble foreign policy. He’ll back those expansions just as he’ll welcome more Eastern European nations and former Soviet republics into NATO. Georgia will continue to be a de facto extension of the American Empire and this may inevitably drag us into a war with Russia.
4. Obama will not take the threat from Communist China seriously at all and it will be more of the same. As I said earlier, Defense Secretary Gates–who is known to be soft on China–will remain aboard for the interim and many of Obama’s other cabinet picks are leftovers from the Clinton administration. Basically, this means that we’ll have another four years of appeasement when it comes to Communist China. Meanwhile, Communist China is blatantly violating the Monroe Doctrine by establishing naval bases in ports throughout Central and South America. Like the neocons, Obama will be so focused on trying to establish “liberal democracies” throughout the Middle East and Africa that this growing threat from China won’t even be a blip on the radar screen.
5. Expect more U.S. troops to be involved in UN “peacekeeping” missions as they were during the Clinton administration. Haiti, Somalia, Bosnia…do the names of those nations ring a bell? The countries we’ll help occupy may be different, but it will be more of the same. Our occupation in the Balkans will continue indefinitely while our commitments will increase. We’ll see more U.S. troops being placed under foreign command and more of them being sent home in body-bags.
6. Obama will continue to promote a lopsided support of Israel at the expense of the Palestinians. No doubt Obama is going to be influenced by groups such as AIPAC and he’ll continue the unconstitutional foreign aid programs to Israel. He had to suck up to the Israeli-lobby during the campaign in order to secure the Jewish vote, so he’ll have to deliver on his promises as such. Of course this isn’t anything unusual for a man who is used to playing the game of group/identity politics.
7. Finally, we should expect more saber-rattling toward Iran, if not an outright war with them. His primary opponent, Hillary Clinton (who may become the next Secretary of State), talked about wiping out Iran if they threatened Israel. Why should we expect Obama’s policy to be any different? Since we’ve already got an occupation force already in Iraq, it is not beyond reason that this would serve as an invasion force into Iran should he decide to do that. To be sure, I believe that an invasion of Iran is probably not likely, but it’s not out of the question either. Obama may be prodded into doing so because of pressures from the Israeli-lobby and others, but only time will tell if he follows through with that neocon fantasy.
When you strip out all of the window dressing, Obama is basically no different than the neocons in the Republican Party when it comes to foreign policy. He’s a rabid interventionist who sees America as a “global cop” much the same way Clinton and the Bushes did. Obama upholds and believes in the ideals of this “new world order” and won’t likely budge from it. To be fair, he’ll probably go about this in a more multilateral fashion as compared to Bush, but the ends will remain the same. I sincerely feel sorry for all of those liberals who supported Obama because they thought he was the “peace candidate.” I can only wonder what they’ll think when we’re still occupying Iraq two years into his term and possibly involved in yet another war. Such is the politics of “hope.”