Op-Ed: The Snowden Circus and America's Diminishing Influence
The Snowden circus is just the most recent example of Obama’s foreign policy of “leading from behind.”
It all started at the end of June when Hong Kong rejected the U.S. extradition request of NSA leaker Edward Snowden because the U.S. documentation did not “fully comply with the legal requirements under Hong Kong law.” Snowden arrived in Russia over three weeks ago, but Putin stands firm on rejecting U.S. demands of extradition. Since then Bolivia, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Ecuador have offered Snowden asylum; all of them ignoring America’s demands. Tiny, poor and weak countries can now defy the U.S. without any fear of reprisal.
Is this a deliberate strategy by Obama? Absolutely.
In 2009, when asked if he believes in American exceptionalism, Obama gave a very political answer in which he said yes, but made it very clear that he meant no. Obama answered “I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.” In other words, no, he does not believe in American exceptionalism.
So, if America is not exceptional but clearly the most prosperous nation in the history of the world, this prosperity has to be unjust.
Thus Obama’s foreign policy has been characterized by punishing and weakening the West while rewarding the failures of the world. What has this strategy looked like in his first and early part of his second term?
One of Obama’s main foreign policy ideas while running for U.S. President in 2008 was to offer America’s enemies an opportunity to sit down and negotiate. Many of America’s enemies saw this (correctly) as weakness and capitalized on the opportunity. Shortly after Obama won his first term, North Korea launched its first rocket in three years which was a significant step toward putting a nuclear warhead on a missile capable of reaching the U.S. The day after Obama offered to sit down with the Iranians, they responded with the usual “death to America.”
Obama sees America as the bully of the world.
During Hillary Clinton’s first encounter with her Russian counterpart she gave him a symbolic “reset” button. Unfortunately, the text was in Russian and did not say “reset” but rather “overcharged.” Watch the incredibly awkward moment here. There has been no such reset in U.S.-Russia relations, instead after almost five years of Obama’s leadership the relationship is closer to what is was during the Cold War. The Snowden circus certainly gave Vladimir Putin plenty of opportunities to embarrass the U.S., which of course he did.
And then we have the Middle East where Obama acts inexplicably. He refuses to support pro-democracy protests in Iran in 2009, anti-Muslim Brotherhood protests in Egypt and recently anti-Erdogan protests in Turkey. The only ones he has supported were pro-Sharia protests in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria.
Obama intervened in Libya to “stop genocide,” but refuses to intervene in Syria to prevent much greater genocide. The U.S. intervention in Libya resulted in the first assassination of a U.S. ambassador in over three decades. The U.S. support for toppling Hosni Mubarak (America’s closest ally in the region besides Israel) has resulted in an Egyptian economy on the brink of collapse and over 100,000 Christians Copts fleeing the country. Al Qaeda is carving out its own country in Mali, with Algeria, Yemen and now Syria following a similar path.
It took the Obama administration over two years to enforce new sanctions on the Iranian Regime which has surely hurt Iran’s economy and its people, but has not slowed down their nuclear ambition one iota.
At the same time Obama and his team have been very critical of Israel, and even allies in Europe are turning on the U.S. over the latest Snowden circus.
Obama sees America as the bully of the world. I, on the other hand, believe a strong and prosperous America has been the number one factor in maintaining world peace for the last 60 years. We are about to find out which one of us is right, as America’s days as world leader are numbered.