Obama to follow discredited European Policy

Posted in Europe , Peace and Conflict , United States | 12-Sep-08 | Author: Judith Apter Klinghoffer| Source: History News Network

Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama.
Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Barack Obama.
Poor Barack Obama. He got where he is today by being an excellent student, by listening carefully to the advice and council of respected Ivy League professors and MSM pundits. Following reverently the teachings of Harvard professor, he argues that American foreign policy, like the EU one, should focus on soft power rather than on the old fashioned hard power favored by McCain. As Fouad Ajami correctly observes

Though the staging in Denver was the obligatory attempt to present the Obama Democrats as men and women of the political center, the Illinois senator and his devotees are disaffected with American power. In their view, we can make our way in the world without the encumbrance of "hard" power. We would offer other nations apologies for the way we carried ourselves in the aftermath of 9/11, and the foreign world would be glad for a reprieve from the time of American certitude.

As hard power is the American trump card, it should not be surprising that those lacking it would prefer to see the US give it up. Hence the global popularity abroad of American candidates less likely to use it. Since Obama is correctly perceived as the least likely to use American hard power, he is the pronounced choice of most foreign populations. That is until another country, such as Russia is currently doing, uses its hard power and then everybody does a rethink.

This is what is happening right now in Europe and the timing could not be worse for Barack Obama and his Ivy League trained soft power experts. The Economist reports:

Thus the second casualty, after wretched Georgia, is the idea of a common European foreign and security policy. This was supposed to be a morally superior combination of the soft power of Europe’s economic attraction (morally superior, of course, to trigger-happier America) with an occasional harder edge only in the lawless bits of the world beyond Europe’s shores. After Georgia’s folly, not even the United States was proposing to take on Russian tanks as they rolled in. Yet how quickly talk of sending EU troops to uphold the ceasefire that Russia was flouting died away. Instead, civilian EU monitors—not even the paramilitary police Europeans claim to be their speciality and who might protect Georgian villagers from South Ossetian militias—may eventually, if Russia agrees, join those from the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, a body to which Russia belongs.

Such a collective Euro-shrug only stores up trouble, since there are other places where Russia enjoys fomenting bother. NATO needs to reassure all its members, including places like Estonia and Latvia with large Russian minorities, that they are protected by the alliance’s mutual defence guarantees. Harder to help will be Ukraine, genuinely divided over whether its closest ties should be with the West or with Russia, and with plenty of ethnic Russians. But the EU can do more to encourage economic reform and the fight against corruption.

So what does the Economist suggests? Essentially, what McCain/Palin have been implying in their call: Drill Here; Drill Now! The EU must end it's dependence on foreign, including Russian energy sources.

In fact the most useful cure for the Eurowobbles over Russia lies not in diplomacy but in Europe’s internal market: liberalising the EU’s energy markets and where possible connecting up its internal supply lines. It makes economic sense and does not involve picking a needless fight with Russia. As long as governments like Germany’s prefer to cut separate deals with Russia, Europe’s inevitable dependence on Russian oil and gas will always offer a tempting way for an opportunistic Kremlin to exert pressure on this country or that, by turning off the taps for “pipeline repairs”. Recent promises that Russia will remain a reliable energy supplier should be viewed warily.

Oh, yes, even Germans are beginning to understand how stupid they have been in following through with the phase out of nuclear power initiated by the Green Party. Indeed, "Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany must reverse plans to phase out nuclear power in just over a decade to limit rising power prices, Reuters reported."

In other words, those of us living in the real world, must realize that nothing will lead us faster to a major war than turning over the world security to a man whose ideas of the appropriate way to run it are based on nothing but discredited academic theories. We are lucky that Putin was kind enough to demonstrate it earlier rather than later.

For the sake of world peace, let's hope we will not need an even more dangerous demonstration.