America’s foreign policy under the last two Presidents has been an absolute disaster, and the results of each commander-in-chief’s decisions (or lack thereof) have been virtually the same: Recruiting of anti-American extremists is getting easier, and this is just the beginning.
In late 2002 and early 2003, the world was told by the Bush White House that an imminent threat existed against the United States, and that action must be taken to stop Saddam Hussein. No WMDs were ever found, and the narrative slowly moved towards human rights efforts and the spreading of American democracy (even though the United States is a republic). Was the Bush White House untruthful or simply incompetent? Neither answer is great to hang a hat on.
I believe George W. Bush had a clearly defined and rightful reason to invade Afghanistan, and that still holds water today. Though constitutionalists would rightfully have preferred the President to ask Congress to declare war, authorization was granted to a lesser extent. Iraq was a different situation altogether. As the son of one of the poster children of neoconservatism, George W. Bush just couldn’t satisfy himself with one war, so he started another out of thin air.
The result of Bush’s meddling has been a disaster. Saddam was a bad guy who killed a lot of people and said a lot of dumb things, but he was harmless to the United States—someone that other nations around him would have been more than happy to stomp out if his flame ever got too bright. Now Iraq is devoid of any real leadership, military, or political presence, and the nation is being overtaken by extremists so brutal even Al Qaeda has shunned them.
President Obama claims he doesn’t want to police the world, and, if anyone believed that for a second, the statement would be a breath of fresh air. In contrast to Bush’s “if it ain’t broke, break it” style of foreign policy, Obama wouldn’t declare war on a nation that pulled up on the White House lawn and knocked on the door and handed him a declaration of war in person. Non-intervention doesn’t mean doing nothing. Non-intervention as a foreign policy means fighting back when war has been declared on you, just like the United States did in World War II.
Obama has danced, and dodged, and played a lot of golf, meanwhile a legitimate army of anti-American extremists is growing to the point of recruiting Americans over the internet. While claiming to be a non-interventionist, in reality President Obama is actually just incompetent when it comes to strategy.
Over the past decade and a half, the United States has suffered the results of the worst of both worlds in foreign policy. An overzealous Bush and disinterested Obama have left us in a dangerous position of vulnerability of feeling a need to act while being sick of war.
“Peace, commerce, and honest friendship, with all nations-entangling alliances with none.” — Thomas Jefferson
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