September 7, 2008
President Bush “made explicit the goal of maintaining U.S. military superiority over any other nation or group of potential adversaries.”
The pursuit of permanent military supremacy has been an ongoing objective of the current White House. Coupled with the country’s economic strength, the generally accepted view was that American hegemony was assured for the foreseeable future.
In 2008, Russian troops occupied undisputed Georgian territory, destroyed the Georgian army and its hardware, sunk ships and brought the country to its knees.
And what has been the US reactions? Messages of support for Georgia and condemnation of Russian action. President Bush signalled that the break-up of Georgia or the loss of its sovereignty was unacceptable to the US. Washington would seek to preserve “a sovereign, free Georgia and its territorial integrity”.
Russia has now recognised the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
The Asian scene is a litany of failures. Iraq is an ongoing débacle; there is no end in sight in Afghanistan; the Pakistani illusion is drawing to a close; there is a clear impression that the West is being teased in Iran with little to show in return; scant progress is being made in North Korea, none in Myanmar nor Sudan.
How did this happen? Because the US forfeited its moral leadership and respect, thanks to the neocon’s vision of the world, beginning with the disastrous invasion of Iraq and continuing with the pursuit of unrealistic goals (eg democracy in the Middle East) by the wrong means (imposition from the outside).
“Any failure traceable to arrogance or our lack of comprehension…would inflict upon us a grievous hurt, both at home and abroad”, said President Eisenhower in his farewell address (see post of 23 August). Another history lesson ignored!
We are witnessing the result of the bankruptcy of the GW Bush foreign policy era. Needless to say, European leaders sat on their hands most of the time, and have still failed to step into this leadership vacuum, a development which would be welcome in several parts of the world. We are all quick to criticise American leadership, but, on many occasions, nothing would have happened without it.Author : Stanley Crossick