The following piece is in a continued series of opinion features Our Political Essay is running. Each piece goes through extensive editing and must be properly cited, as per OPE’s rules on op-ed pieces.
A quick glance at the current state of international affairs leaves one fearful for the state of the future. Abroad we have a mass murdering, maniacal, radical Islamic terrorist organization bent on the destruction of Western values, a Russian totalitarian who seeks domination over other countries, an egotistical psycho seeking nuclear weapons at the expense of his own people’s livelihood in North Korea, a regime which funds terrorist groups and actively chants death to America being allowed to continue and expand its weapons program in Iran, and a powerful and corrupt country building its own islands in direct violation of surrounding countries’ sovereignty in China.
Under the Obama administration we have turned against our allies and opened up negotiations with our adversaries. Our president has dedicated himself to making our nation more like the rest of the world rather than recognizing the uniqueness of our country and the incredible ability for it to act as a force for good. And this is a fundamental foreign policy failure and misinterpretation of the importance of America’s role in the world.
The foreign policy which has been adopted by the current administration over the last seven years has led to this grim state of the world today. Our dominant policy can best be described as reactionary, one that leads from behind, rather than being proactive and leading the nations of the world. In a multitude of case studies around the world the failures of this policy can readily be seen.
In the case of Syria, our president gave up any serious legitimacy with his failure to act upon his self-appointed “red line.” This line represented a guarantee for action if there was proof of Assad’s employment of chemical weapons, and yet that proof came long ago without any response from the president.
We let ISIS gain serious ground and capture billions of dollars of military equipment and oil fields before taking action. Our carrying out of limited airstrikes against ISIS forces highlights our failure to truly commit to the conflict and the eradication of the group.
We have turned away from Israel in a time of need. We have allowed for a state which calls tirelessly for the Israel’s destruction, the ability to gain nuclear weapons in a short time period.
We have seen a president who is more readily attempting to secure his preferred legacy rather than evaluating the issues at hand and placing the interests of American citizens first. His accelerated move out of Iraq was dangerous to say the least. It squandered all that we had fought to secure and left a natural vacuum for radical Islamic terrorism, which ISIS was quick to fill. He made every attempt to commit the same actions in Afghanistan, but with recent terrorist expansion, he knew that it was physically impossible to leave another political vacuum in the Middle East for ISIS to fill.
His most recent announcement of his attempt to close Guantanamo Bay is a clear example. He would actively choose to close the prison solely as a political statement while moving dozens of the world’s most dangerous terrorists onto American soil.
What we need now more than ever is for the next American president to reassert our nation and its beliefs on the international stage. We need a president who recognizes that the world stands to gain from our leadership in international affairs.
Much of what America does in the world is moderating the free and fair conduction of trade and travel, and the protection of human rights. The United States Navy stands dedicated to protecting sea lanes and travel, the Marines ready to intervene in internationally recognized human rights abuses, and the Army ready to help deliver humanitarian aid and rebuild societies torn apart by struggles.
I advocate not for America to play the role of the world’s policeman, but rather a guiding force for good in an international moral, commercial, and humanitarian application. I stand to propose the question: if not America then who? If America rejects its position as a global leader then who fills the political power vacuum? I fear the bleakness and moral destitution of a world dominated by Russia or China in the international political forum.
Feature photo courtesy of Robert Claypool.