America’s Faltering Foreign Policy- A Sign of a Pacifist US in the Making?

Written by: Pathikrit
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New Delhi, July 7: Is American Foreign Policy failing? At least three important incidents of the recent past point towards diminishing influence of American foreign policy and increasing frustration of those who have either been waiting for American assistance or have increasingly lost faith in the American ability to protect their interests.

The Iraq Crisis and the American Vacillation

The first case invariably is the case of Iraq where the frustration of the Iraqi Government is palpable given the sheer reluctance of the US Administration to come to their rescue. The US Administration not only refused to get involved directly through any kind of targeted bombing of ISIS bastions with US fighter jets, there is also the issue of perpetual delay and dilly dallying by the US Administration to deliver the proposed F-16 fighter jets to Iraq which were promised to them.

As part of the contract, Iraqi Government was supposed to receive 36 F-16 combat jets from US but none are expected to arrive even in the next few months. This delay is especially happening at a time when Iraq needs the planes the most since its own territorial integrity and future of the nation is at stake given the meteoric rise of deadly terror group ISIS and the lightning speed at which it captured almost half of Iraq.

To put things in perspective, US is not only unwilling to get its own forces involved in the quagmire of Iraq, but has also created a situation where Iraq, which has been depending on the American delivery of F-16s, is now feeling stranded and left in the lurch by the American vacillation and delay tactics.

From moral perspective, given the fact that the entire Iraqi Air Force was destroyed in the war with US and that US occupied and controlled that nation for years, the onus no doubt should have been on US to protect the territorial integrity of Iraq, which unfortunately is not happening.

Iraq's Shift to Russia - A Royal Snub to US?

The increasing Iraqi frustration eventually resulted in Iraq seeking fighter jets from Russia which were supplied promptly. With Russian Su-25 now making practice sorties in Iraq and also supposedly engaged in pounding on ISIS bastions, Iraq perhaps would not forget the royal ditch by America soon enough.

In any case, the sheer rise of ISIS, the manner in which it was funded in Syria, its swift capture of half of Iraq and Syria and its declaration of the Islamic Caliphate indicate towards the definite possibility of either of the two alternatives. It is either that US intelligence agencies have been completely aware of the rise of this deadly fanatic group and remained silent about it or it is that the US agencies have been completely clueless about this phoenix like rise of the ISIS.

In any case the issue of CIA's funding of the rebel groups in Syria is no more a secret and thus, part of that funding going to ISIS, as part of Al Nusra Front ( before they split) cannot be ruled out. The US also cannot absolve itself of the mistake of remaining mute spectator when many of the rich and powerful Sunni Arab states of Middle East continued funding of ISIS. Was US silent because it considered whoever fighting Assad in Syria to be good? And now that the same ISIS invades Iraq and threatens not only the governments and monarchies of Middle East but also of the whole world, is it that the same ISIS now becomes a threat?

Therefore the core of issue of cluelessness and vacillation of the Americans and their faltering foreign policy is now something that can no more be ignored. What happened in Iraq is quite possibly going to get replicated in Afghanistan as well, in the aftermath of the US exit from the region after a messy war whose actual yields remain questionable.

The Ukraine Crisis and the Ukrainian delusion of promised American Help

The issue of faltering American Foreign Policy is not just restricted to Middle East only. Another glaring example of the same is in the Caucasus region where face-off between Ukraine and Russia has been going on for more than a year now resulting in Ukraine losing its Crimean province to Russia and facing stiff trouble from Russian backed rebels. The situation in Ukraine is such that its territorial integrity is now equally at stake with more provinces of eastern and southern Ukraine which have considerable Russian speaking population now tilting towards Russia and resorting to rebellion.

Betrayal of the Budapest Agreement?

Now if one looks at Ukraine in the aftermath of the disintegration of Soviet Union, it was left with one of the largest stockpiles of nuclear arsenal. In spite of its initial intention to retain its nuclear stockpile, Ukraine eventually relented and under the Budapest Agreement decided to destroy its nuclear arsenal and sign the Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in lieu of assurances of territorial and sovereign guarantee and protection against any external aggression given by US, Russia and UK.

Two decades down the line, Ukraine stares at a precarious future and have been left in the lurch by the US and its western allies. The crux of all the problems that Ukraine faces today is the literal promise of paradise shown by those who have always aspired to set foot in the backyard of Russia by making countries like Ukraine and Georgia part of NATO and EU. Ukraine's attempts towards increasing cooperation with European Union and its quest to be part of NATO was met with strong political, economic and military retribution by Russia, in the face of which, beyond the proverbial lip service and token sanctions against Russia, with negligible impact, neither US nor her European allies came to the rescue of Ukraine, which today is now a nation in tatters and is perhaps regretting its decision to expect US to come to her rescue against Russian reprisal.

Today the reality is that US is in no position to face and counter Russia, at least in Russia's backyard and given the sheer dependence Western Europe has on Russian gas supply, it too backs off more often than not given its precarious financial condition and military inferiority. Therefore the moot question is why does US tend to play the grand role in the Caucasus region or elsewhere, especially when it does neither have the wherewithal nor the will power to back its words with actions?

The Remilitarization of Japan- A sign of losing faith on US?

Last but not the least is the Japanese proposal to reform its constitution on the issue of defense. Since the end of the Second World War, Japan's constitutions prohibited the state from using force to attain any national goal. The Article 9 states, ‘the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes"

The Japanese quest for changing the structure of their constitution is a direct consequence of the changing geopolitical situation in the Asia Pacific region, coupled with the rise of China and increasing question mark on the capability of US to protect Japan. Since the end of the Second World War, Japan has been under the American nuclear umbrella. But recent developments indicate that Japan may be willing to go the nuclear way on its own.

While certain quarters of apprehension would still be there about the rise of militarized Japan given its violent imperial past, the geopolitical compulsions may necessitate many to support this as a counter to the rising intransigence of China and the growing pacifism in US.

Over the last few years, the increasing pacifism of US, its dilly dallying, its reduced economic and military influence have become more profound. While certain sections would rejoice and term it a positive event, reality is that it has created a situation of half measures by US. And such half measures are making more problems than solving them, be it in Middle East or in the Caucasus.

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