There is an interesting development in global geopolitics. As the USA becomes steadily weaker and more heavily-indebted, other nations are stepping up to fill regional voids being gradually created by the decline of the USA. Various regional powers are developing, but this post focuses mostly on Japan and Germany, the former Axis powers of World War II. Both are still US allies, but each nation apparently perceives that it must act more independently in its own national and regional interests in a geopolitical situation where the USA is a steadily-weakening nation with unreliable and unpredictable leadership.
The first link reports that Japan’s new Prime Minister Abe has moved from a cautious rightward move to moving so far toward a nationalistic posture that he could risk “overplaying his hand.” I’m not sure I agree with all of that assessment, but I think it is clear that PM Abe realistically sees the great danger posed to Japan by a militarizing China and that he intends to become a military power that can successfully defend itself in any future war with China. Anyone can see Japan has no choice but to build up its military forces given China’s rapid and dramatic militarization. Where the first link’s writers are concerned that PM Abe may be “overplaying his hand” in that Abe “rammed through a new security law that criminalizes the leaking or reporting of national security information despite opposition by 82% of the public.” Anytime a leader adopts a policy opposed by virtually his entire nation he is risking political damage. Indeed, what is now defined in Japan as “national security information?” Is it illegal to report anything in the Japanese press about the Japanese military until some government ministry says it is OK? Does this new law impose strict governmental censorship on the reporting of military/defense matters? The link also notes PM Abe is determined to get rid of Japan’s pacifist provision in its Constitution so it can openly “participate in military adventures alongside the US.” The word “adventures” was chosen by the writers of the first link. In any war with China, a US-Japanese alliance will be necessary, and I think Japan also wants a freer hand in deploying forces to assist its developing allies from India throughout the Western Pacific Rim and securing its oil trading routes all the way to the Mideast.
In the second link, Stratfor, the respected intelligence service, analyzes Germany’s more robust foreign policy in the current Ukrainian internal crisis as well as in matters involving the future actions of the EU. In reading the link, you may be surprised to learn which European nations are considered vital to Germany’s interests. While not nearly as aggressive as Japan’s actions in Asia, Germany’s new assertiveness nevertheless represents a new willingness on the part of Germany to act in its own interests without consulting the USA or other nations. This is not all bad. Indeed, the analysis notes that France would welcome a greater willingness on the part of Germany to send troops to North African trouble spots where France has been doing the heavy lifting. One could argue that the USA’s policy weakness and dithering is forcing Germany to assert itself more forcefully on the European and world scene.
Why are Japan and Germany becoming more assertive? The answer is the growing weakness and indecisiveness of the USA. The third link offers a piece by columnist Trudy Rubin that outlines four aspects of the growing US weakness in foreign policy under President Obama. She writes that China, Russia and Iran [the three nations I’ve long noted are the leaders of the Gog-Magog alliance prophesied in Ezekiel 38 to develop at the end of this age] have “rushed to fill the power vacuum” caused by America’s weak foreign policies. Clearly, it is not only Japan and Germany that are asserting themselves due to the Obama administration’s weakness. Russia, China and Iran are other obvious examples. India is another nation doing so. She notes that one reason for the loss of American credibility is the “massive NSA spying” which we all know was revealed by Edward Snowden. I agree with Ms. Rubin that the rest of the world is sensing US weakness in Obama’s policies in Syria, vis-à-vis China and in the Ukraine, but I disagree with her reasoning on the fourth category: the counterrevolution staged by the Egyptian army against the Muslim Brotherhood. I think she is right on target that Egypt’s new leaders neither listen to nor want any American advice from the Obama administration, but I disagree with her criticism of the Egyptian military. I believe that the Egyptian generals has no choice but to act because Muhammad Morsi and the Egyptian Brotherhood were leading Egypt to the brink of internal collapse and because as many as 30,000,000 Egyptians took to the streets to demand Morsi’s removal.
The “coup de grâce” in the deteriorating Obama leadership crisis was the revelations by Obama’s own Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, in his recently-released book (last link). Gates’ assessments of Obama are damning to say the least. He states that “when soldiers put their lives on the line…they need to know that the commander in chief who sent them into harm’s way believes in their mission. President Obama never did that.” Gates also writes that Obama’s Afghanistan policy was so feckless that Obama “…didn’t regard a successful outcome in either Afghanistan or Iraq as a necessity or an high priority.” This is a stunning observation. It means Obama sent our armed men and women to Afghanistan to die, be maimed or damaged for life for a cause that Obama himself did not believe in or care whether the wars there were won or lost. If Gates’ observation is true, it means that Obama either: (A) is an incompetent and uncaring president and commander-in-chief, or (B) that he deliberately sent American forces to Afghanistan to have their personnel and equipment worn out and have American military forces be dissipated in a purposeless mission. The two options are each terrible to consider, but I can’t think of a third alternative. Can you think of any third alternative? I may have to buy former Secretary of Defense Gates’ book. It may give many insights into just how incompetent and/or dangerous the Obama administration really is. I can only conclude that Secretary Gates must be truly fearful for America’s future under Obama to have put into print such damning observations about his former boss. I’ll bet the leaders of America’s allies and enemies are all going to read Gates’ book.
America is entering a dangerous time. We have a president who came into office with no discernible or demonstrable managerial, administrative or military skills on his resume. He has offended many of our allies and his policies helped destabilize Libya and Egypt. He is warming up to Iran, a nation deemed a dangerous enemy and a threat to global peace by previous presidents from both parties. He has overspent the nation into such oblivion that the US Federal Reserve Board has to create unprecedented amounts of “fantasy” money to buy up US Treasury and federal agency bonds that no one anywhere wants to buy in the quantities offered. He has offended the entire world and many global leaders by his having the NSA spy, apparently, on everyone…everywhere…in any way possible. Germany’s leader Merkel was reportedly incensed at the NSA tapping her phone and Brazil’s leader refused to even meet with Obama and cancelled a state visit to the USA. With three more years of Obama in the Oval Office ahead of us, the future does not look bright for America and its global interests.