Front Page
NMJ Search
Editorials
Commentary
Archive
NMJ Radio
Constitutional Literacy
Islamofascism
Progressivism
Books
NMJ Shop
Links, Etc...
Facebook
Twitter
Site Information
About Us
Contact Us
  US Senate
  US House
  Anti-Google






Archive Email Author

About Victor Davis Hanson
Victor Davis Hanson is the Martin and Illie Anderson Senior Fellow in Residence in Classics and Military History at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, a professor of Classics Emeritus at California State University, Fresno, and a nationally syndicated columnist for Tribune Media Services. He is also the Wayne & Marcia Buske Distinguished Fellow in History, Hillsdale College, where he teaches each fall semester courses in military history and classical culture. He was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2007 and the Bradley Prize in 2008. http://www.victorhanson.com
Social Bookmarking
Print this page.
Jumping Off the Global Tiger’s Back
Victor Davis Hanson
November 15, 2013
The United States has ridden -- and tamed -- the wild global tiger since the end of World War II. The Globefrantic ride has been dangerous, to us, but a boon to humanity. At the same time, America's leadership role has been misrepresented and misunderstood abroad and at home, including by some of our country's own leaders. Accordingly, our current president, Barack Obama, has decided to climb down from the tiger, with the certain consequence that it will run wild again.

The crowning achievement of postwar American policy was the defeat of Soviet Communism. After the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, America aimed at a "new world order." There was to be no place, at least in theory, for renegade dictators like Saddam Hussein or Slobodan Milosevic. After 9/11, the US declared a "war on terror" and led an international effort to stop Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda, and Islamist jihadists.

Despite the occasional mishaps, setbacks, and errant strategies, US leadership nonetheless ensured worldwide free commerce, travel, and communications. When it could, America promoted free-market economies and democracy in authoritarian states.

Our key allies -- the United Kingdom and its former commonwealth, Europe, Japan, South Korea, and Israel -- were assured of our unwavering support and got rich. Neutrals and enemies alike assumed that it was as unwise to be on the wrong side of America as it was beneficial to be on friendly terms.

The Obama administration apparently has tired of the global order that American power created. The president seems determined that America should become unexceptional, and his five-year-long efforts are now bearing fruit. The result is that no one knows where global violence will break out next, much less who will stop it.

France, not the United States, pushes for a tougher front against radical Iran, Islamism, and WMD proliferation. Its socialist government is to the right of the United States. Germany is the more adult fiscal power, Japan the more realistic about Chinese aggression, Israel and the Gulf states the more accurate in assessing Iranian nuclear ambitions, and Russia the more dependable problem-solver.

The superpower United States chose to be led in Libya by much weaker Britain and France. Syrian president Bashar Assad ignored serial American red lines. In response, Obama vowed to intervene before vowing not to -- and finally outsourced influence to Vladimir Putin. That back step apparently fulfilled the president's preelection open-mic promise to Russia to be more flexible.

The prestige of the United Nations suffers terribly from the erratic nature of the supposedly pro-U.N. Obama administration. We exceeded the resolutions of the U.N. on Libya; we never even sought them in Syria; and we are now undermining them over Iran.

Turkey, under increasingly Islamist prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, is closer to the Obama administration than is Israel, America's best friend in the Middle East. The Muslim Brotherhood's Mohamed Morsi came to power in Egypt on assurances of American support -- before being removed by Egyptian generals for subverting the constitution.

It is not clear to Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, or even Australia and New Zealand that they are still firmly under the American defense umbrella. China often seems to remind -- and warn -- them of just that reality.

There are many reasons why America jumped off the tiger. After five years of near-record budget deficits, we are struggling with the highest level of national debt as a percentage of GDP since the immediate postwar period. That dismal fact is known to both allies and enemies who expect the US military to limp homeward.

Abroad too many states do not trust the word of an American president. Obama has misled over Benghazi, flipped and flopped over Syria and Egypt, and deceived the American people on the Affordable Care Act. When the American secretary of state has to assure the world that its proposed military action "will be unbelievably small" while the president is forced to explain that our military doesn't "do pinpricks," we appear hardly credible or formidable.

Obama himself seems unable to fathom the fallout from the NSA's tapping of German chancellor Angela Merkel's cell phone or from allowing Vladimir Putin to adjudicate the Syrian mess. It is unclear whether Obama has even appreciated the traditional US role of world leadership. Or perhaps he feels America lacks either the moral assurance or material resources to continue to ride the global tiger.

Obama rightly senses that Americans certainly seem tired after the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. We are reaching oil and gas independence from the Middle East and don't see it as central to our security. After the Arab Spring, and the rise and fall of dictators, Islamists and generals, things still stay mostly the same and beyond remedy through more American blood and treasure.

America does not seem to have any strong preferences for our old allies, free markets, or democracies. If Obama wanted to change America's role in the world, he instead has changed the world itself.

Riding the tiger's back was always risky, but not as much as jumping off and allowing it to run wild. The world now wants someone to get back on -- but is unsure about who, when, how, and at what cost.








The BasicsProject.org informational and educational pamphlet series is now available for Kindle and iPad. Click here to find out more...

The New Media Journal and BasicsProject.org are not funded by outside sources. We exist exclusively on tax deductible donations from our readers and contributors.
Please make a sustaining donation today.







Opinions expressed by contributing writers are expressly their own and may or may not represent the opinions of NewMediaJournal.us, its editorial staff, board or organization.  Reprint inquiries should be directed to the author of the article. Contact the editor for a link request to NewMediaJournal.us.  NewMediaJournal.us is not affiliated with any mainstream media organizations.  NewMediaJournal.us is not supported by any political organization.  Responsibility for the accuracy of cited content is expressly that of the contributing author. All original content offered by NewMediaJournal.us is copyrighted. NewMediaJournal.us supports BasicsProject.org and its goal: the liberation of the American voter from partisan politics and special interests in government through the primary-source, fact-based education of the American people.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance a more in-depth understanding of critical issues facing the world. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 USC Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information go to:http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The Media Journal.us © 1998-2014    Content Copyright © Individual authors
Powered by ExpressionEngine 1.70 and M3Server