In the WSJ yesterday WRM had a piece on the mismatch between President Obama’s grand vision for transforming the world and his desire to reduce global U.S. presence. Obama’s laundry list of foreign policy priorities includes, as WRM points out, reducing and eventually abolishing nuclear weapons, addressing climate change, promoting human rights, settling the Arab-Israeli conflict, and many others. But there’s a catch:
While Mr. Obama embraces a powerful and compelling global vision, he also seeks reduced American commitments and engagements overseas. He wants substantial cuts in military spending and wants to reduce America’s profile in Europe and the Middle East […]Unfortunately, it’s hard to transform and democratize the world while saving money and reducing overseas commitments. A world based more on the rule of law and less on the law of the jungle requires an engaged, forward-looking, and, alas, expensive foreign policy. If, for example, you want to put the world on the road to abolishing nuclear weapons, you have to make sure that nonnuclear states like Ukraine don’t have to worry about land-grabs from nuke-wielding neighbors like Russia
The piece goes on to flesh out this thesis in more detail, noting that Obama is channeling U.S. voter preferences in his attempt to have it both ways. He has a choice. He must either reduce the scope of his ambitious vision, or he must go before the voters and ask them to sacrifice more to make the world they want to see real. Read the whole thing.