Beware the neo-cons are restless! Nearly 5 and 1/2 years, after the inauguration of President Obama, our combat involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan has ended. War profits are down and deaths are down, but the great hue and cry from several Monday morning quarterbacks is that America is in decline from a foreign policy standpoint. Really!
The fact that we are the only military superpower in the world does not mean that we have to use that power. The profits of the military industrial complex are down, but America is increasingly at peace. The American people should rejoice, in the knowledge that their loved ones are at less risk of a military conflict.
The neo-cons clamor for a Obama doctrine. They increasingly wring their hands in feigned disappointment that we are not able to just make things better. What do they expect? Do they expect that with merely a wave of a hand, the world’s troubles would disappear. What hubris!
The Obama doctrine is perhaps a return to what historically was our policy from the early days of the Republic. Franklin Roosevelt was the last President to seek and be granted a Declaration of War. That fact should be remedied as our soldiers and our country have been repeatedly lied to since combat operations began in Vietnam War in 1965. World War II was a war worth fighting as it was a fight for a civilized world. It is hard to find a war that our men and women have fought in since World War II that has not been controversial. No war that involves the deaths of American soldiers should be anything other than a conflict where the American people should share in the sacrifice. With a volunteer army it is too easy for our citizens to feel too far removed from the conflict except for the parents, and loved ones of our volunteers.
The lessons that should have been learned from previous wars teaches us that a Civil War in Syria, was not the place for a military involvement. Putin’s foray into the Ukraine is looking like a failure, as the Ukrainians have been successful in defeating the militants at the ballot box and at the airport. The Middle East is a desert where peace initiatives die on the vine. Committing our troops in any of these trouble spots would not have met with success and would have only made matters worse.
So where has this so-called decline in American prestige and power occurred?
Before we commit our young men and women in the future to war, we need to demand that the war is truly of our vital national interest. A war is much easier to start than to end. America should aspire to be respected and not feared. We can and should be an honest broker in disputes that occur in the world. War has been part of man’s nature since the beginning of time. We can lead by example, and use power as a last resort and not as a first resort. We may grow impatient with the lack of results, but peace should be our goal and our doctrine.