Amir Taheri | Anatomy of a failed foreign policy

As he runs for re-election, President Obama has tried to portray his foreign policy as a success. A closer look suggests a different picture.

Let us begin with a list of areas where US foreign policy has either stalled or suffered setbacks.

Encouraged by a perceived weakness on the part of the Obama administration, Russia has cast itself as an adversary, adopting an aggressive profile in regions of vital US interest. A clear signal in Moscow’s change of attitude has come with the installation of S400 missiles close to the Caspian Basin and of long-range missiles in Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave next to Poland.

For its part, China has sped up its military buildup and flexed its muscles against Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and Vietnam. Beijing has also accelerated the building of a blue-water navy to challenge the US in the Pacific and Indian oceans. And, by undervaluing its currency, China has continued what amounts to low-intensity economic warfare.

Efforts on North Korea have faded away, as Pyongyang pursues its quest for a nuclear arsenal with impunity.

Iran? The facts speak for themselves. On Obama’s watch, Iran has increased its uranium-enrichment capabilities more than tenfold and hardened its defiant rhetoric. The mullahs are also pursuing an aggressive policy in Syria, while doing as much mischief as they can in Bahrain.


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