Read President Obama's full speech on foreign policy here.
After 13 years of the U.S. waging what we call a "war on terror", here is how the Commander-in-Chief explains what now is our nation's most "direct threat"....
"For the foreseeable future, the most direct threat to America at home and abroad remains terrorism."
Either the "war on terror" has a different rationale......or in fighting the "war on terror" the U.S. is failing miserably. The following from Obama sounds to me like the "long war" will only get longer....and wider in scope....
"And the need for a new strategy reflects the fact that today’s principal threat no longer comes from a centralized al Qaeda leadership. Instead, it comes from decentralized al Qaeda affiliates and extremists, many with agendas focused in countries where they operate. And this lessens the possibility of large-scale 9/11-style attacks against the homeland, but it heightens the danger of U.S. personnel overseas being attacked, as we saw in Benghazi. It heightens the danger to less defensible targets, as we saw in a shopping mall in Nairobi."
Obama's argument here will become the justification for America to continue endless war. The key word choices here are "centralized" and "decentralized." Al-Qaeda was always a loosely affiliated organization. That's what Condi Rice meant when she dismissively said President Bush didn't just want to "swat flies." Now, with Obama's new "decentralized" doctrine, even extremists who are not necessarily connected to "centralized" al-Qaeda will become the focus of our endless war around the world.
Obama included mention of the Benghazi attack. The attackers at Benghazi were not affiliated with al-Qaeda. They were "decentralized" extremists. And because these random, unaffiliated-with-al-Qaeda groups can still threaten Americans and U.S. installations throughout the (mainly) Muslim world, it sure sounded to me like Obama was declaring that the "long war" of neo-con wet dreams will now officially become an endless war.
Obama also fully embraced the Bush Doctrine of pre-emptive war.....
"The United States will use military force, unilaterally if necessary, when our core interests demand it -- when our people are threatened, when our livelihoods are at stake, when the security of our allies is in danger. In these circumstances, we still need to ask tough questions about whether our actions are proportional and effective and just. International opinion matters, but America should never ask permission to protect our people, our homeland, or our way of life"
"unilaterally if necessary"......just like Commander Guy told us back in 2002.
Then, Obama went on to brag about "success" in Ukraine through co-operation with our allies......
"Our ability to shape world opinion helped isolate Russia right away. Because of American leadership, the world immediately condemned Russian actions; Europe and the G7 joined us to impose sanctions; NATO reinforced our commitment to Eastern European allies; the IMF is helping to stabilize Ukraine’s economy; OSCE monitors brought the eyes of the world to unstable parts of Ukraine. And this mobilization of world opinion and international institutions served as a counterweight to Russian propaganda and Russian troops on the border and armed militias in ski masks."
As I've written in the past, Russia is not the aggressor in Ukraine. Vlad Putin has been responding to western aggression. For the last two decades, the U.S. and allied EU nations have been pushing NATO membership right to the back porch of Putin's Russia.....all against an agreement the U.S. made with Russia in the 90"s. The U.S. has spent $5 billion inside Ukraine attempting to force "regime change" there. The ousted former president of Ukraine was elected democratically by the Ukrainian people.....and yet, the U.S. agitated, funded, and supported the coup which drove President Yanukovych from office.
Spreading democracy and liberty? You decide.
After careful reading of Obama's foreign policy speech, I can only conclude that the speech was a grab bag of a little bit of what all interested players wanted to here. But that has been Obama's problem ever since he was inaugurated.....wanting to please everyone.
America lost it's way after 9-11. From Obama's speech I can only conclude that America will stay lost for quite awhile longer. Yes, Obama has, and is, ending "combat operations" in Iraq and Afghanistan. But whether it is U.S. propaganda over Ukraine and Russia or "decentralized" justifications to wage endless war......it doesn't seem to me like our "war on terror" will ever be resolved.
Maybe that was the purpose all along.
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