While the U.S. fixes its gaze on Iraq, seismic changes that could undermine global stability are happening in completely different regions. Francis Fukuyama, who is chairman of the board here at The American Interest, has an excellent piece in the FT on President Obama’s misplaced foreign policy priorities. The Administration is focused on ISIS at the moment, and has repeatedly claimed that terrorism is the biggest threat facing the U.S. But Fukuyama argues that terrorism is is far less dangerous than the rise of Russia and China. They are recklessly pushing against established geopolitical settlements:
Russia’s annexation of Crimea, on the other hand, crossed a very important threshold. The entire post-cold war order in Europe rested on Russia’s acceptance that ethnic Russian minorities stranded in neighbouring states would remain in place. President Vladimir Putin has thrown all that into question, with effects that will be felt from Moldova to Kazakhstan to Estonia.Russia’s power is based, however, on a flawed economic model that in time will weaken its power. Not so with China: it already has the world’s second-largest economy, and may overtake the US in the coming years. China has been claiming territory in small increments while flying under the cover of more dramatic events elsewhere. It wants to be the dominant power in east Asia and to push the US out of what it claims as its sphere of influence.
Read the whole thing. And for more of Fukuyama’s views on U.S. foreign policy, check out this clip of his pre-recorded lecture for a recent conference sponsored by TAI, Freedom House, and John Hopkins-SAIS. In this talk he expands on a theme he touched on in the FT piece: Democracy promotion must be accompanied by realistic military and strategic considerations.