While George W. Bush was President, there was a Senator who was one of his most vocal critics.
This vocal critic of Bush often criticized his foreign policies. A few years later the same critic, then Senator Obama, won the 2008 Presidential election and was chosen to lead the country and given the opportunity to run the foreign policy according to his views.
As a result of this, America’s influence in the world has diminished and we see a number of problems for the smaller countries who previously enjoyed her protection. Just look at the list of aggressive actions occurring throughout world in the last six years. Not only has Russia invaded its neighbors and not only has Iran dared to openly pursue nuclear ambitions-- but the latest example of countries out to exploit American weakness comes from the South China sea, where the communist army is involved with building and militarizing artificial islands in international waters.
As China takes advantage of formally free areas of water and flexes it’s muscles - America seems to remain silent. Let’s examine the effects of lessening America’s influence on the world stage and some of the most popular accusations brought up against America.
Is America A Bully?
Firstly, it is important to discuss a well-known accusation that we hear about America, particularly
from Europeans, that America is a bully and tries to force its agenda on other countries.
Is America really a bully?
Why does America get involved in the affairs of other countries? Why doesn’t America
just mind her own business?
Consider a typical bully in a high school. This bully is has great physical strength and usually picks on other students who are not as strong as him because he knows he will win. Almost always, the bully continues to bully weaker students until another student of equal or greater strength steps in and prevents him from harassing the smaller students. Would we call this individual who stood up to the bully a bully? Of course not. We would hail the person who “interfered” as a hero.
Just like the hero in the illustration, America often stands between bullies and their intended
victims. It promotes freedom around the world, and only threatens military violence to those who
are actively engaged in it themselves. When a weaker nation is being “bullied” by a more powerful nation, America is usually the only nation that will help and ends up using a lot of her own resources to protect the small guy.
Does that make America a bully? Maybe to the bully it does, but not to the
rest of us.
Does America Take Advantage of Other Nations?
Contrary to the popular media opinion, the United States is a very compassionate nation because
Americans not only believe, but they practice the adage that “with great power, comes great
responsibility”. The US gives away more money in foreign aid than any other nation on earth, and
beyond that, they contribute more military assistance and sacrifice more soldiers defending other
countries than anyone else does. Even in the case of Iraq, which was an international effort to oust a ruthless tyrant who was in defiance to international law, it was the US who sacrificed the most in
man power, resources and time. Many have claimed the U.S. went into Iraq not to aid the people
but to steal their oil.
However, if this is true – we have to ask the question – where is all America’s
Iraq oil? The answer: America didn’t take it.
Now look at the situation in the South China Sea.
Since President Obama has been running his foreign policy, America's “competitors" have been exploiting America's weakness at a growing rate. Who can forget Obama's around the world “apology tour” shortly after he became President, where he visited a number of countries apologizing for America’s foreign policy in the past? Did he think this would win new friends and respect for America? Clearly, it had the opposite effect. Russia invaded Ukraine and annexed Crimea, Iran laughs as John Kerry tries desperately to negotiate a deal that allows them nukes, and now China is seizing control of the South Pacific Sea. That last action alone would be a disaster to any President's legacy, because it will have devastating and permanent effects on smaller nations in that area, like Taiwan, the Philippines, Japan, and others.
There is a common theme here. The “bully” nations no longer fear America’s “interference.” The
more they get away with, the more aggressive they become. The Left loves to point the finger at
America’s intervention and accuse her of being the bully, but as demonstrated earlier, standing up to a bully is not bullying. America standing up to China is the only hope the smaller nations in that part of the world have for justice.
President Obama, however, has different agendas and priorities. Instead of confronting China on
human rights abuses or their oppression of neighboring countries – Obama claims that global
warming is his administration’s number one challenge, and he is working hard with China to reduce it. Perhaps he does not want to provoke China by taking military action because he worries that it might affect his negotiations on global warming. The US Navy was beefed up in the area for a while, but the Chinese are happy to see them keep their distance while the communists continue to build
Here’s Our Take-Away
As the next election season draws closer, America needs to be reminded that the nation needs a real leader who is unafraid to lead a superpower. People may not agree with everything Bush did, but it cannot be denied that the world was a less chaotic under his foreign policy and America’s enemies feared her. It's pretty sobering to realize that the world was less dangerous and more stable during Bush’s war than it is under Obama peace-- but considering the chaos and violence that broke out during Obama's term, (in the Ukraine, Middle East, and now in the Pacific), the only exaggeration would be calling what Obama has "peace."
What would a true leader do with the South China Sea situation?
Certainly not focus on pollution controls! China has been creating artificial islands in international waters, building military airstrips on them, arming them with weapons, and warning surveillance planes to stay out of "China's territory" when they fly over formally free areas. Some of these new islands are within firing range of its weaker neighboring countries.
If China is building their military presence should America and the rest of the world be building their own?
That’s up for discussion and debate. However, one thing is certain – America looks as if she
doesn’t notice and she doesn’t care because we have a commander and chief more focused on
climate change than on nations military development on a global scale. This should frighten any
American. Freedom isn't free. (That’s why so much is spent on the military.) How many trillions would it save the world by preserving international freedom in waterways that provide 40% of the world’s commerce? And don't forget the fishing rights to numerous counties in the region. China sure hasn't forgotten it. Like the bully at school stealing milk money, they want it all for themselves!
If we look at the big picture, the US is the only country involved in the conflict that can afford to lose commerce in that part of the world and still survive. They can also lose prestige in the area and survive. The people who would really suffer the most are the democracies in Taiwan, Japan,
Australia, South Korea, the Philippines et al. America’s leadership in standing up to China is
necessary, because everyone else is frightened to challenge the bullying behemoth. If China remains unchallenged, they won't be satisfied. They'll move on to the next target. Taiwan perhaps?
Or settle old scores from WW2 and seize disputed islands from Japan. Who would dare stop them?
After all, they will have annexed and fortified the South Chinese Sea.
May Americans never forget how privileged they are to live in a free land. Thomas Jefferson stated it well when he said – ‘My God! How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!’ And may those of us outside the US never forget how much America has sacrificed for other democracies, going all the way back to
President Bush once said – ‘The wisest use of America’s strength is to advance freedom’. If that’s
what critics consider “bullying,” I’d hate to see what they consider a better use of the military.
According to Obama, it seems to be watching our America's allies get the stuffing beaten out of them.