Monday, March 4, 2013

Domestic And Global Agendas

Among the things one can be reasonably sure of is this: An Obamunist foreign-policy announcement or initiative will not have the interests of the United States at heart. This has been true since Obama's 2009 inauguration. There has been no counter-evidence to it since then.

Obama's recent choice of John Kerry as his second-term Secretary of State is quite consistent with that guideline. Kerry is an opportunist, pure and simple. His statements and actions are always chosen to bring him personally the maximum possible benefit, or to minimize the damage that would otherwise be done to him. That's obvious all the way back to his much-discussed Vietnam service, the recounting of which need not be repeated here.

Concerning the acceleration of tension in the Far East and violence and tyranny in the Middle East, Obamunist statements have been sculpted to provide "deniable threats." That is, the Administration has been trying, simultaneously, to appear to threaten American military action in those theaters to protect our favored parties and movements, while making it possible to deny any intent to threaten anyone in particular. This is not a new tactic. Indeed, it's called the "gray chicken" in strategic-analysis circles -- "gray" for its ambiguity; "chicken" because that's what usually comes home to roost.

America's energy available for foreign involvement is that which is left over from our domestic activity. A foreign power interested in how likely America is to take (further) military action anywhere in the world is likely to base his assessment on our current degree of domestic political fractiousness. Inasmuch as we're internally divided about as badly as possible just now, an aggressive power will rate the current probability of American intervention anywhere as quite low. That makes for a high degree of danger, especially to those nations that have relied upon American protection and deterrence.

I see no indication that this troubles Barack Hussein Obama or his lieutenants in the slightest degree.

There's been a lot of loose talk about the budget sequester in recent weeks, for obvious reasons. We can discount the scare talk, except for one aspect thereof, which I'll address in a moment.

The Obamunists have been so resolved to force tax increases on the American people that they've pulled out all the rhetorical stops, threatening figurative Armageddon should the GOP caucus in the House of Representatives not accede to such increases. Now that the sequester has been triggered, it would be natural to assume that the political combat over it will cease. I regret to say that this is unlikely to be the case.

We have yet to reckon with the Washington Monument Defense.

If you've never seen that term before, it refers to the bureaucratic counterstroke, frequently threatened in response to the discussion of a budget cut, of cutting back those activities or services the public values most. The intent, of course, is to evoke a popular outcry against the proposed cut, hopefully pressuring legislators to back away from it. Less often discussed is the use of the Defense after a cut has been effectuated: to maximize the public's pain and increase the probability that the bureaucracy will prevail in future political combats.

Though the Obama Administration has used the Defense most voluminously in the hope of compelling Republican Congressmen to accede to tax increases in place of the sequester, the sequester is now law. But the Defense remains relevant, particularly with regard to funding for the military. Our military is our principal foreign-relations instrument. No sane nation wants to hear that American forces have set forth for its shores. Were it not for our unchallenged military pre-eminence, American influence on other governments would be minuscule at best.

But the sequester imposes a disproportionate fraction of its cuts upon the Department of Defense, now under the control of Chuck Hagel, no friend to the armed services. Working through Hagel, Obama could use the sequester to weaken America's available military power considerably. Merely by cutting back on gun-toting personnel and their equipment, while sparing civilian employees and administrative operations from the cuts, the Obamunist team could preclude any possibility of an American intervention overseas, regardless of the occasion for it.

The one and only branch of the federal government that still commands overwhelming popular respect and support is our military. Its emasculation would both encourage aggressive foreign powers and appall the public, though to what specific end I cannot say.

During the Cold War years, smaller states had to balance their positions between the superpowers carefully, to maximize the possible gains and minimize the hazards. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, America stood unchallenged as the world's military master. The most important question foreign potentates could entertain over any subject in international relations became "how would the Americans react?" If the Obamunists proceed to weaken our military dramatically, as a political counterstroke against Republicans in the House of Representatives, the consequences could be much farther reaching than just to the upcoming rounds of appropriations talks.

Obama and his henchmen must know this. Whether they regard it as a regrettable undesired consequence of their far more important domestic campaign is open to discussion.

Given that there is no evidence that the Obamunists consider America's pre-eminent role in international relations to be something it's important to preserve, and that several Obamunist moves have weakened American military credibility, my guess is that such a consequence isn't undesired but "spinoff:" a pleasant bonus to whatever the Administration might gain domestically. Which would imply that the use of the sequester to weaken America's effective military power and limit its ability to respond promptly to unpleasant foreign developments would gain impetus from that recognition, rather than lose it.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When the wounds of 9-11 were still fresh, the democrats in power and their allies in the press were as willing as any to send troops wherever necessary to root out our enemies.

When the going got tough, rather than admit their support was a matter of political calculation, they turned and screamed they had been misled by the perfidious Bush administration into voting actions they never would have agreed to otherwise.

From that point on, America's enemies knew all they needed to do was put up a strong enough fight and half the nation's electorate, fifty plus percent of its politicians, and virtually all of its media would determine the game to not be worth the candle, and the military would be hung out to dry.

What the Obama administration is doing now is merely signaling the success of a process which has been going on for half a century: the destruction of United States military power as a factor in foreign policy.

That does not mean they intend to eliminate the military, but simply that, like all other institutions: education, entertainment, the family, et. al., the military is to be transformed into a tool for social change.

The Obamas and their ilk still envision a role for the new American military - that role is to help defend progressivism against its domestic enemies rather than the country against foreign threats.

When the transformation is finished, and the United States military is a fully diversified organization committed to the cause of creating a better, fairer, country, any spending cuts will be made good many times over, and its new mission will begin.

The funny thing is, any republicans left in office at that point will cheerfully line up to vote for increased military funding, because they are pro military after all.