09 February 2012

American Evangelicals Beating the War Drum Against Iran Part 3

Contrary to Santorum Obama seems to subscribe to the idea that future American power in the Middle East needs to be soft power. Proxies, mercantilism and cultural influences will probably have more success than a military presence.
The United States isn't going to evacuate the region by any means. The military is switching to a policy based on stand-by troops, drones, and Special Forces. Obama wants to increase the American footprint in East Asia in terms of naval power and the Air Force. At this point South Korea and Japan are the only American satellites in the region. Australia has been salivating for some time wanting desperately to be a player, to become a more active and assertive member of the Anglo-American alliance.

Despite an already significant presence, new bases are in the planning and the United States is trying to re-establish ties with old satellites like Indonesia and the Philippines. I cannot fathom why these countries would want anything to do with the United States after the horrible record of bloodshed in their lands resulting from American Imperial policy. Yet the South China Sea is critical to their political and economic security and they are uncomfortable with China's self-assured and somewhat aggressive posturing. Though the United States has a terrible record in these lands, at least it's far away and perhaps they think they can play the two sides off against each other? Hard to say. Maybe it's something far more simple, the love of money. When empires can't win over allies, or cow them with threats, they can always find someone to buy.

Taiwan, though estranged compared to the past will also continue looking to the United States on security matters and the Americans may use it as a wedge in China relations.

And it may be the supreme irony that Vietnam's historic antagonism with China may actually drive them into a more friendly relationship with America in the not too distant future. Few Americans remember that in the late 1970's Vietnam and China renewed their ancient animosity and the two 'communist' nations actually fought a brief conflict. Few also remember 'communist' Vietnam forced the Khmer Rouge from power. Pol Pot and his forces returned to the jungle but were backed by the United States in the UN assembly and also received other aid from freedom loving American tax dollars. This is not to say the United States admired the genocidal mind of Pol Pot, but they hated the children of Ho Chi Minh far more.

It's an ugly game and ideology matters little in the end. It's power, blood, and money most of the time. Power is like a magnet on a compass. The compass needle is powerless and is quickly drawn away from its true direction.

Of course the American presence and projection will exacerbate the situation and instead of relieving tensions and securing the region...it will increase tensions and create fault lines. This is how the Cold War started. It wasn't necessary but the American public succumbed to fear and listened to people who wanted it...people who ironically gained a massive amount of wealth and power from the forty year exchange. We seem to be headed down this road once again. Obama did not bring any kind of change at all. He's proven quite friendly to the establishment even in the way his supposedly 'radical' social changes have been engineered. Somehow the same people always manage to stay on top.

These matters are all related but returning to how they affect the situation with Iran...

The Chinese would rather have the United States tied up in the Middle East than expanding back into East Asia. The Americans have never left but lost quite a bit of their influence throughout the 1980's and 1990's. The Mao era was over, the Sino-Soviet split, and Nixon's visit had helped calm the situation and the Americans were looking to the end of the Soviet Union and the Middle East...but now East Asia is once more in the sights, it will be the new theatre for a new paradigm. New but not new. New boss same as the old boss.

If the Middle East crisis created by the Bush regime continues, this can only help China. America's economic realities will not allow it to maintain a massive force presence in the Middle East (with the necessary support bases in Southern Europe), while at the same time it engages in a massive buildup in the Asia-Pacific. China perhaps wouldn't mind a new arms race, but they also don't want to see the American economy collapse.

This was par t of the rationale for Globalization. Bind the nations together through political and economic ties and they can't go to war against each other anymore. Control can be exercised through political arrangements, military alliances, and trade agreements delivering massive wealth and influence to multi-nationals. We're still waiting to see if it's going to work. One of the tests right now is in Europe. Not a few have noted that France is keeping itself closely tied to Germany...the powers that be do not want these countries to start operating separately again. And I can't begin to describe the resentment toward the Cameron administration for effectively pulling Britain out of the arrangement and quest for a solution to the crisis.

The Anglo-American alliance also plays a part in Britain's relations with the Continent, something entirely missed here but very apparent to the people in France, Germany, and elsewhere. There's a growing resentment in Britain toward their American cousins. Britain has long been the 'lesser partner' in the post-War arrangement, but increasingly the United Kingdom seems to just be taking orders. American politics seem to get as much coverage on the BBC as their own domestic issues, and frankly the commentary is often more helpful than the flashy entertainment that passes for news in the United States.

All these things work together and actually I'm only touching on part of the picture. There are many more factors I could discuss and not a few areas completely beyond my grasp...technical aspects concerning currency and trade, debt, and the particulars of the global petroleum economy.

While some may think I've been horribly sidetracked, others will see I'm trying to present a panoramic view because in order to understand any one event or incident, you have to be able to look at the big picture. Nothing is isolated. There are many factors playing into what may seem simple or even unrelated to the whole.

I've been disappointed in some of the Conservative coverage and commentary concerning these events. Why did Russia and China veto the UN resolution on Syria? Well, because they're evil regimes and they're afraid that someday the UN might want to pass a resolution against them. So they're protecting themselves. This was the argument one Christian commentator gave recently. I was shaking my head. His news from a Christian Worldview is neither Christian nor able to grasp the way things really work. I have no problem calling the Russian or Chinese governments evil as long as the same label is applied to the Pentagon, White House and State Department. This commentator might be willing to apply the label to the Obama White House, but certainly would not have done so prior to 2008. He is quite blind in this regard.

Of one thing I'm sure. Russia and China are not worried about the United Nations coming after them. Christian conservatives have long been very hostile the United Nations. This particular commentator I mentioned isn't a Dispensationalist looking for the coming global government under the Antichrist who will be a UN General Secretary. But, he's still echoing the same conspiratorial fears of the United Nations and the threat it poses to American sovereignty. If he really understood the world situation and talked to anyone outside of American Conservative circles he would soon realize the UN is a laughing stock, a joke. It's used to dress up actions and give them legitimacy but it wields no power and all too often the General Secretaries are made to look foolish, running around the globe practically begging world leaders to listen to them. They are patronized, patted on the head and sent on their way. The UN is a tool and one easily set aside when it's not needed. They didn’t veto the resolution because they were afraid of Ban Ki-moon.

Go to part 4

1 comment:

Michael Snow said...

Who is Santorum Obama ?

What will it take for evangelicals to learn the ways of Jesus?