At Time Of Crisis, US Lacks Diplomatic Heft

David Rothkopf writes in Foreign Policy that it is not off-point to wonder whether Russia’s Vladimir Putin felt free to move into Ukraine “because he has felt there would be no consequences — at least none serious enough to dissuade him.” He describes American foreign policy as Lox Americana, rather than Pax Americana, adding that US policy has “effectively been to just lie there like a fish.”

However, Rothkopf does not make a claim similar to other analysts that America is turning an isolationist page because, he says, foreign policy is not that black and white.

“But here again, unilateralist and isolationist are not the only options. Almost all presidencies operate in the shades of gray in between. Shifting a few notches toward waiting longer to act, acting less forcefully, and sending a signal that we are more rather than less reluctant to actively work to mobilize international opinion on our behalf opens the door to adventurism and abuse by the world’s bad actors and places doubt in the minds of our friends and allies.”

At a time when the world is more chaotic than calm, Roland Flamini points out that the Obama administration is dealing with tense situations in both Moscow and Beijing at a time when there is a transition between ambassadors.

“Obama is now threatening to boycott the summit to protest Russia’s incursion into Ukraine, and the administration may decide not to appoint a new US envoy to Moscow as a further sign of its opposition. In Beijing, meanwhile, Baucus (who told his nomination hearing that he was “no real expert on China”) is walking into another territorial dispute—the current flare-up of tension over the rival claims of Beijing and Tokyo to the uninhabited, but disputed islands in the East China Sea, which the Chinese call Diaoyu, the Japanese Senkaku, and which Japan administers,” he writes.

Tensions are not confined to Beijing and Moscow. South Korea has expressed its concern that North Korea will conduct more nuclear or long-range missile tests.

According to the Voice of AmericaSouth Korea’s Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin told a parliamentary committee that he “could not exclude the possibility” of long-range missile or nuclear tests.

Meanwhile, the a new Defense Department report has identified North Korea as “a significant threat to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in Northeast Asia and is a growing, direct threat to the United States.”

The 2014 Quadrennial Defense Department Review outlines US military strategy.

 

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