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Wed Sep 16, 2015, 12:56 PM

Juan Cole: Obama as Grandmaster of Grand Strategy: Containing China

Since he took office in 2009, Obama has faced an unremitting chorus of criticism, left and right, domestic and foreign, dismissing him as hapless, even hopeless. “He’s a poor ignoramus; he should read and study a little to understand reality,” said Venezuela’s leftist president Hugo Chavez, just months after Obama’s inauguration. “I think he has projected a position of weakness and… a lack of leadership,” claimed Republican Senator John McCain in 2012. “After six years,” opined a commentator from the conservative Heritage Foundation last April, “he still displays a troubling misunderstanding of power and the leadership role the United States plays in the international system.”

Viewed historically, Obama has set out to correct past foreign policy excesses and disasters, largely the product of imperial overreach, that can be traced to several generations of American leaders bent on the exercise of unilateral power. Within the spectrum of American state power, he has slowly shifted from the coercion of war, occupation, torture, and other forms of unilateral military action toward the more cooperative realm of trade, diplomacy, and mutual security — all in search of a new version of American supremacy.

Moving from repair to revival, from past to future, President Obama has been using America’s status as the planet’s number one consumer nation to create a new version of dollar diplomacy. His strategy is aimed at drawing China’s Eurasian trading partners back into Washington’s orbit. While Beijing has been moving to bring parts of Africa, Asia, and Europe into a unified “world island” with China at its epicenter, Obama has countered with a bold geopolitics that would trisect that vast land mass by redirecting its trade towards the United States.

Once we subject other American leaders to a similar calculus of costs and benefits, we are, surprisingly enough, left with just three grandmasters of geopolitics: Elihu Root, the original architect of America’s rise to global power; Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Carter, who shattered the Soviet Empire, making the U.S. the world’s sole superpower; and Barack Obama, who is defending that status and offering a striking imperial blueprint for how to check China’s rise. In each case, their maneuvers have been supple and subtle enough that they have eluded both contemporary observers and later historians.

http://www.juancole.com/2015/09/grandmaster-strategy-containing.html

Obama's shift "from the coercion of war, occupation, torture, and other forms of unilateral military action toward the more cooperative realm of trade, diplomacy, and mutual security" has been too slow for many and not flashy enough capture the attention of 'contemporary observers'.

I hope the shift to "trade, diplomacy, and mutual security" which Obama has embodied survives the transition to the next president. If the next one is a republican much of that will undoubtedly be reversed. Another Democrat, OTOH, might well continue the trend and improve on it.

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Reply Juan Cole: Obama as Grandmaster of Grand Strategy: Containing China (Original post)
pampango Sep 2015 OP
Wellstone ruled Sep 2015 #1

Response to pampango (Original post)

Wed Sep 16, 2015, 01:33 PM

1. Mr. Cole nails it as usual.

 

Notice the reference to Johnny Boy McCain. First time since Ronnie the Cowboy wannabe,our Nation is finally doing Foreign Policy that best represents our Founding Fathers Ideals. You have to really laugh at the GOP and their spin misters getting it totally wrong. And to thing we have many Dems in Congress that just owe their collective asses to the Military Industrial Complex.

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