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Obama would be wise to look after U.S. allies

#1
Not all Americans approve of the US government's foreign policy toward the UK and other allies.

Opinion: Victor Davis Hanson: Obama would be wise to look after U.S. allies

By Victor Davis Hanson
Posted: 03/04/2010 10:29:12 AM PST
Updated: 03/04/2010 10:29:13 AM PST

Almost 30 years after losing a war over the Falkland Islands, Argentina is once again warning Britain that it wants back what it calls the Malvinas.

Argentina is now angry over a British company's oil exploration off the windswept islands in what it considers its own South Atlantic backyard.

Although nominally democratic, the unpopular Kirchner government in Buenos Aires has claimed that the sparsely settled islands are a symbolic matter of Spanish-speaking pride throughout Latin America — and is theirs because the islands once belonged to Spain in the 19th century.

In response, the Obama administration announced that it would remain neutral. Aside from the fact that the Falkland Islanders wish to remain British, and our prior support for the Thatcher British government during the 1982 war, there are lots of reasons why our neutrality here is a bad idea.

Britain is a long-standing NATO member. It has bled side-by-side America in two world wars, Korea and two conflicts in Iraq, as well as presently in Afghanistan. And the United Kingdom still shares close linguistic, cultural and historical affinities with the United States.

We do not support all the British do; nor do they always support us. But our centuries-old friendship should earn Britain special support in its disputes, even in the relatively unimportant Falklands mess. If Britain is not considered an ally, then America no longer has real allies.

And perhaps that is the point, after all. The Obama administration does not wish to see the world so divided between allies and the rest.

The president rather abruptly canceled missile defense with the allied Czech Republic and Poland in order to woo the antagonistic Russians.

Dictatorial Syria and the anti-Western Palestinians gain as much American outreach as does pro-American and democratic Israel.

Obama seems more eager to mollify Venezuela's Hugo Chavez than to strengthen our alliance with a democratic and pro-American Uribe government in neighboring Colombia.

The list goes on. Meanwhile, Obama has symbolically tried to downsize the profile of the U.S. by downplaying the idea of an "exceptional" America, bowing to foreign leaders, and apologizing for supposed past American sins.

All that raises the question of what exactly are advantages these days of being a friend of the U.S., when neutrals and enemies garner as much of our sympathies?

We have seen such naive attitudes before in the West.

After the horrific carnage of the First World War, utopians wrongly swore that rival European alliances had alone caused the war, and so created the League of Nations. Enlightened world citizens would do better legislating peace than prior nationalist politicians who crudely had once sought security through balancing power and forging alliances. Hitler and the far more lethal Second World War followed instead.

After 1945, a much wiser United States talked grandly about the new United Nations, but, in reality, its own alliances kept much of Europe and Asia free from an aggressive Soviet Union.

Today there are many Falkland-like hot spots throughout the world. Yet the United States, not the International Court at The Hague, keeps North Korea from attacking our ally South Korea. The power of America, not the international community, persuades China not to squeeze our friend Taiwan. Europe is safe because of an American-led NATO — not due to any concern from the United Nations Commission on Human Rights.

In other words, America and its alliances keep friends safe. And the world is more peaceful and prosperous than at any time in history because dozens of nations count on our support and share our values.

An idealistic America may now decide that it does not want or need special allies like Britain. But that diffidence will eventually mean we have more enemies than ever — as the watching world makes the necessary adjustments and joins those who unabashedly promise them support and protection.

VICTOR DAVIS HANSON is a syndicated columnist affiliated with the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.

http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_14512767?nclick_check=1
 
#2
FWIW, I too think the Obozo the Flap-Eared Clown is wrong about this matter. Letting Hillary get button-holed by the Argentine president at a soiree is not helpful either. She may be sending the wrong signal to the Argies.

[I thought it was President Woodrow Wilson who came up with the idea of the League of Nations. :? It's ironic that the Congress would not ratify the idea of joining the League if it was Wilson's idea. It may have helped to stop Hitler if we had been in. As it was, Wilson suffered a stroke trying to sell membership in the League by a speaking tour to the American people, and we stayed out.]
 
#3
The attack on the actions in WW1 of Turkey by a US senate/congress committee puts another of the US key allies into a dilemma about its involvement with the US. Talk about a lack of diplomacy by the US. Who are the next friends of the US that will be offended in the coming months?
 
#4
albimangles said:
The attack on the actions in WW1 of Turkey by a US senate/congress committee puts another of the US key allies into a dilemma about its involvement with the US. Talk about a lack of diplomacy by the US. Who are the next friends of the US that will be offended in the coming months?
They will need to stand in line after the many millions here in America, including many who actually believed His "hope and change" rhetoric. :D
 
#5
Attack your allies suck up to your enemies is the traditional american leftist way of handling foriegn policy. US and world is just lucky leftists only manage to get into white house once every 40 years are so. Carter was the last leftist we had in white house and it was the same deal in regards to how US allies were treated.

Dont worry though come Nov Republicans will be back in control of atleast part ofcongress and providing adult supervision for the last two years of Obamas term.
 
#6
The Falklands is a throw-away issue for the US administration because, quite frankly, the UK doesn't need American assistance to tell Argentina to bore off. From a diplomatic point of view, US neutrality is fine with us because it maintains the status quo.

Why do the Czechs and Poles need ABM systems when their national security strategies state that there is no military threat from Russia in the foreseeable future?

US outreach to Syria and Palestine is equal to Israel? If he means diplomatic links he might be close to the ballpark, but unless the US starts handing over $3.15bn a year by 2013 to the Syrians and Palestinians, he's not even close. (Not to mention being the bodyguard to Israel in the UN.)

As for the atrocious analysis of the failure of the League of Nations, Hanson- as an historian- should be ashamed of himself.

He won't be though- because he's a gobshite and a hack who should stick to grape farming.
 
#7
crabtastic said:
The Falklands is a throw-away issue for the US administration because, quite frankly, the UK doesn't need American assistance to tell Argentina to bore off. From a diplomatic point of view, US neutrality is fine with us because it maintains the status quo.

Why do the Czechs and Poles need ABM systems when their national security strategies state that there is no military threat from Russia in the foreseeable future?

US outreach to Syria and Palestine is equal to Israel? If he means diplomatic links he might be close to the ballpark, but unless the US starts handing over $3.15bn a year by 2013 to the Syrians and Palestinians, he's not even close. (Not to mention being the bodyguard to Israel in the UN.)

As for the atrocious analysis of the failure of the League of Nations, Hanson- as an historian- should be ashamed of himself.
He won't be though- because he's a gobshite and a hack who should stick to grape farming.
Of course it's crude...it's a newspaper article, not an entry in a Journal read by maybe 3 people on 20th Century History. And it's pretty succinct and to the point.
 
#8
Kitmarlowe said:
crabtastic said:
The Falklands is a throw-away issue for the US administration because, quite frankly, the UK doesn't need American assistance to tell Argentina to bore off. From a diplomatic point of view, US neutrality is fine with us because it maintains the status quo.

Why do the Czechs and Poles need ABM systems when their national security strategies state that there is no military threat from Russia in the foreseeable future?

US outreach to Syria and Palestine is equal to Israel? If he means diplomatic links he might be close to the ballpark, but unless the US starts handing over $3.15bn a year by 2013 to the Syrians and Palestinians, he's not even close. (Not to mention being the bodyguard to Israel in the UN.)

As for the atrocious analysis of the failure of the League of Nations, Hanson- as an historian- should be ashamed of himself.
He won't be though- because he's a gobshite and a hack who should stick to grape farming.
Of course it's crude...it's a newspaper article, not an entry in a Journal read by maybe 3 people on 20th Century History. And it's pretty succinct and to the point.
It's succinct and wrong- disingenuous, in fact. It's just more of the usual from the man.
 
#9
I liked Sarah Palin's comment, "I have to ask all the people who voted for Change - how's that working out for ya?" :twisted:

I never liked Obama simply because he reminded me of Tony Blair; all style and no substance. He won because he was'nt George Bush and not, as so many people thought at the time, because he was the Chosen One.

As things stand, he will be remembered as the most over-rated and disappointing President in US history.
 
#10
crabtastic said:
Kitmarlowe said:
crabtastic said:
As for the atrocious analysis of the failure of the League of Nations, Hanson- as an historian- should be ashamed of himself.
He won't be though- because he's a gobshite and a hack who should stick to grape farming.
Of course it's crude...it's a newspaper article, not an entry in a Journal read by maybe 3 people on 20th Century History. And it's pretty succinct and to the point.
It's succinct and wrong- disingenuous, in fact. It's just more of the usual from the man.
Really. The League of Nations was set up to prevent another World War thro a variety of means, including Disarmament. Since another world war broke out across the world it failed.

Therefore the assumpation that is made is pretty correct. The utopians failed to realise that jaw jaw needed the stick of war war to prevent war. The Hitler bit is a tad unfair. But if the LoN had been able to resolve issues and force warring parties aside with force, Would Hitler have been so willing to risk force? It's an unanswerable question.
 
#11
Of course, if Britain wanted to grab the US's attention, they might quietly remark that permission to use Diego Garcia might be under consideration in light of Clinton's remarks. That could have the effect of setting up the same situation as during the first Falklands crisis, where the Secretary of State was basically supporting the Argentines and the Secretary of Defense was overtly supporting Britain.

albimangles said:
The attack on the actions in WW1 of Turkey by a US senate/congress committee puts another of the US key allies into a dilemma about its involvement with the US. Talk about a lack of diplomacy by the US. Who are the next friends of the US that will be offended in the coming months?
The problem for outsiders is to recognize that Congress is not controlled by the Presidency, even when the Congressional majority is from the same party. See this news article. Members of Congress are more susceptible to special interest groups, hence the raising of the issue by Congress and not by the State Department or Presidency. If interested just take a look at the activities and press releases carried on the web site of the Armenian National Committee of America. They really make of point of targeting individual Congressmen and Senators. Unfortunately, Congressional actions carries the same connotations of offending your friends, but very few Congressmen think through any foreign policy issues, because a) they have no responsibility and b) foreigners don’t vote.

I don't share Siddar's view that with the Senate no longer under control Democrat Party, that everything will be fine and happy. Congress will do what it wants. For example, from 2002:

OVER 100 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS COSPONSOR CAPITOL HILL OBSERVANCE OF THE ARMENIAN GENOCIDE
WATERTOWN, MA — 101 Members of Congress have joined co-hosts Senators Jack Reed (D-RI) and George Allen (R-VA) and Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Joe Knollenberg (R-MI) and the Armenian National Committee of America to cosponsor the 8th Annual Capitol Hill Observance of the Armenian Genocide. Full press release Just couldn't resist bolding "adult party"
 
#12
I'm left wondering how much the author really cares about US allies, the Falklands, or anything other than a stick to beat the 'wrong' choice of President?

If he was truly concerned about US allies he could have developed his theme of 'agreeing when they're right' by making the case for why it would be right to back UK. Shouldn't be too hard, given the US commitment to self-determination of the peoples.
 
#13
crabtastic said:
The Falklands is a throw-away issue for the US administration because, quite frankly, the UK doesn't need American assistance to tell Argentina to bore off
maybe not at the moment, but if our politicos play it like last time...
 
#14
smartascarrots said:
I'm left wondering how much the author really cares about US allies, the Falklands, or anything other than a stick to beat the 'wrong' choice of President?
Hmmmmmmnnnn! Right wing commentators & forums were all too ready to sneer and jeer at us and our efforts in the war on terror when Bush was pres; now it's: "our allies whoe've bled with us thru thick and thin"...
 
#15
Obama needs to support Brown over Falklands
Hal G. P. Colebatch From: The Australian March 05, 2010 12:00AM


THE possible consequences of another Argentinian attack on the Falklands, in the present political and strategic climate, could be catastrophic.

The Blair and Brown governments have left Britain with a dwarfish, bathtub navy, and a four-plane Falklands Air Force. Argentina has an air force of nearly 100 planes. Britain's ability to successfully land troops in the face of the Argentine Air Force is doubtful, to say the least. The Vulcan bombers are gone; so are the last of the big carriers and the RAF's remaining Harriers are fitted for ground attack, not air-superiority.

An opposed landing? As I think a Monty Python character put it: "We need a futile gesture at this stage, Carruthers. It'll raise the whole tone of the war."

Quite apart from the purely military and naval considerations, there are financial ones. Britain apparently can't afford decent equipment for its troops in Afghanistan or decent accommodation for their families. The British military can sometimes pull rabbits out of hats, as it did in the last Falklands War, but I'm not sure that is the way to bet, and Brown is no Thatcher.



If Britain either tried and failed to retake the Falklands by force after an Argentine landing in strength, or did not try at all, this would be virtually the end of it as a world power. Further, if in these circumstances the US did not help it, it would probably be the end of the Anglosphere alliance. An obvious response for Britain would be to pull its troops out of Afghanistan.

The British press has been in one of its fits of indignation recently over the US's alleged "betrayal" in failing to give Britain unequivocal support over the Falklands.

The fact is both the Brown and Obama administrations have behaved with myopic stupidity towards their own long-term national interests of a strong alliance. Both leaders seem addicted to quick fixes, spin and gestures and show no sign that they need each other long-term.

In releasing the Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi back to Libya, Britain infuriated the US and followed this up recently with the release of sensitive US intelligence. Can the British government think that this is putting it in a position to ask for costly favours?

The latest developments as reported are typical: Hillary Clinton in meeting Argentinian President Cristina Kirchner has offended Britain by failing to back it unequivocally (or at all), while Brown's arrogant public refusal of a US mediation offer can only push Britain and the US administration further apart and make Clinton and Kirchner appear more as allies, at least to each other.

Brown seems unaware that Obama is not Reagan and has given no signs of being particularly pro-British -- rather the reverse.

The Henry Jackson Society, a London-based foreign affairs think tank, says Obama's stance was linked to anger at the release of intelligence information. Executive director Alan Mendoza said: "The Obama administration's decision to ignore the democratic rights of the Falkland Islanders is disgraceful. It can only be motivated by moral weakness in the White House or a misplaced desire to punish Britain for the (Guantanamo Bay detainee) Binyam Mohamed case and the disclosure of US intelligence documents. The decision, while feeble, is unsurprising. For the past year, Mr Obama has followed a foreign policy path that punishes allies and democracies while allowing rogue authoritarian nations like Iran and North Korea to pursue their objectives."

A conference to mark 60 years of British and American defence intelligence-sharing was cancelled after the Mohamed judgment. It was to have been held at the US embassy.

Commentator James Coram said: "In the grand scheme of things it makes little sense for America to give moral support to the Kirchner government in Argentina. Kirchner is no friend of the US and Kirchner's government is in deep domestic trouble for its gross mismanagement of the economy and its attempts to suppress the press criticism of the regime at home. One has to wonder what benefit America gets out of hurting Britain on this issue . . .

"But this mess is just typical of the drift in US foreign policy, if one can say that it even has a coherent foreign policy these days. At the core of the problem is a simple inability to recognise and support our friends over adversaries."

The US should be big enough to swallow the Brown government's antics and to recognise that supporting Britain in so serious a matter is of paramount importance. At present, however, there seems no assurance that this is the case.

Australia could also be seriously affected. BHP has been warned it will face sanctions in Argentina if it pushes ahead with oil exploration offshore of the Falklands. If Argentina got away with such an invasion it would damage the whole framework of international law in a manner ominously reminiscent of the way the international order began to unravel in the 1930s.

Of course Argentina would be mad to invade the Falklands, which could still be made very costly for it, but it has shown itself capable of such irrationality once before in similar circumstances, and conquering them seems a widespread national obsession.

A strong Anglosphere stance, a strong statement by Obama or Clinton now, would be the end of the matter. Argentina will probably not launch another war over the Falklands.

But if it does, Brown and Obama, as well as Kirchner will have a full share of blood on their hands for letting the situation come about.

Hal G. P. Colebatch is an author, lawyer, editor and historian


http://www.theaustralian.com.au/new...n-over-falklands/story-e6frg6ux-1225837102352
 
#16
The one thing that I think this has shown very simply is the fallacy that seems to have been the basis of our defence policy for the last X years is a total crock of shite;

specifically that we will only go to war in, or with, the physical support of the USA or other allies (i.e. Europe).

We need a military that can, at it's minimum, defend all parts of Britain and it's dependants without the need to fall back on support from other nations. Once we step away from that level we might as well shut up shop and hand over the keys. IF the Falklands get invaded again we will be lucky to have more than token support from the USA and nothing from Europe.

S_R
 
#17
Obama does not appear to like Gordon Brown, so perhaps he sees the Falkland Islands issue as a stick to beat him with. If Argentina seizes the islands again, surely it guarantees that Brown will lose the next election.

You may remember that Obama greeted Blair as though he was still Prime Minister last year. I was told that Obama did this to be bitchy to Brown. At that time I did not think that a potential saint could act like that, but now I am not so sure.
 
#19
Irrespective of whether Argentina has the capability to invade the Falklands again, this precedent is particularly haunting (Wiki link):

Wikipedia said:
Iraqi-American relations

On July 25, 1990, the U.S. Ambassador in Iraq, April Glaspie, asked the Iraqi high command to explain the military preparations in progress, including the massing of Iraqi troops near the border. The American ambassador declared to her Iraqi interlocutor that Washington, “inspired by the friendship and not by confrontation, does not have an opinion” on the disagreement between Kuwait and Iraq, stating "we have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts." She also let Saddam Hussein know that the U.S. did not intend "to start an economic war against Iraq". These statements may have caused Saddam to believe he had received a diplomatic green light from the United States to invade Kuwait.
 
#20
THE possible consequences of another Argentinian attack on the Falklands, in the present political and strategic climate, could be catastrophic.

The Blair and Brown governments have left Britain with a dwarfish, bathtub navy, and a four-plane Falklands Air Force. Argentina has an air force of nearly 100 planes. Britain's ability to successfully land troops in the face of the Argentine Air Force is doubtful, to say the least. The Vulcan bombers are gone; so are the last of the big carriers and the RAF's remaining Harriers are fitted for ground attack, not air-superiority.

An opposed landing? As I think a Monty Python character put it: "We need a futile gesture at this stage, Carruthers. It'll raise the whole tone of the war."

That's the biggest load of shit ive ever read in my life. Unabridged 'laugh at the pommies'
 

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