At the Lincoln Day Dinner in Iowa a few weeks back Gov. Jeb Bush talked about Obama's weak foreign policy. He reminded his audience that Obama promised to improve U.S. relations with countries around the world. "Name a country where the relationship is better than the day that Barack Obama came into office?” Bush asked. “Iran. Cuba. I rest my case.”
Everywhere you look around the world U.S. foreign policy seems to be unraveling and the bad guys know now is the time to act if they want to take advantage. It started with the Russian "reset" policy put into action by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. We threw away the trump card of building missile defense with our Polish and Czech partners in exchange for Russian help with Iran. Instead of helping contain Iran Russia invaded Ukraine.
|U.S. acquiesced to this sea grab by|
China in 2013.
The shock waves of Russia's aggression have spiked fears in Central Europe of dangerous Russian aggression, perhaps a new ground war in Europe. After decades of peace the U.S. is now sending troops, tanks and missiles to Central Europe to assist our NATO allies. Imagine the outcry if a Republican President were to do that.
In late 2013 when China unilaterally declared a "Great Wall in the Sky" when it extended an air defense zone hundreds of miles past the boundaries of it's territorial waters in the East China Sea it threatened conflict with Japan over contested islands in the zone. China now demands that any U.S. flights in the new zone must be identified and obey Chinese instructions or face a military response. The U.S. reaction amounted to a strongly worded statement along with a directive to U.S. airlines to follow the Chinese order.
|China creating military bases far from|
home at key strategic point along
the world's busiest shipping lanes.
In a speech on May 27, Secretary Carter demanded "an immediate and lasting halt to" China's island building and went on to say that China’s actions “are bringing countries in the region together in new ways,” Carter said. “And they’re increasing demand for American engagement in the Asia-Pacific. We’re going to meet it. We will remain the principal security power in the Asia-Pacific for decades to come.” Carter has repeatedly said that diplomacy to resolve the dispute must take place.
The official response from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs ignored Carter's call for a diplomatic solution and dismissed what they called his "inappropriate remarks on China's long-standing sovereignty as well as rights and interests in the South China Sea to foment dissension and criticized China's normal and justified construction activities on islands and reefs."
Does this look like "normal and justified construction activity?" The Chinese military have made it clear that these projects have a military dimension. Are we listening?
1930's History in Reverse
In the 1930's it was Japan that reached beyond it's borders to secure resources and extend it's control over both territory and shipping lanes. Now, China is doing it. We saw what happened last time this kind of power grab went unstopped. Will we sit back and watch as the situation grows more critical?
In government documents the Obama Administration continues to stress a "rebalance" or pivot to East Asia. But in public speeches Obama continues to insist that the biggest national security crisis we face is global warming. No one wants war with China and we should not treat China as an enemy. But we also must do more than protest as China flexes it's muscle. Given what we have seen in other areas of the world I have grave concerns that Obama understands the problem, let alone has a solution!