Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Contradiction blots Obama's legacy with outdated Cold War mindset

Obama insurance conference call providers Russia and the U.S. are sending rather contradictory signals about their relationship.

US President Barack Obama belittled Russia as a nation that "doesn't make anything" in an interview with the Economist on Sunday. He also said that the West must be "pretty firm" with China, as the latter will "push as hard as they can until they meet resistance."

Obama downplayed Russia's role in the international community by saying Moscow is unable to attract quality immigrants and Russia's population is shrinking and aging. He described US tensions with China as "manageable," but stressed that the West should be tough with China when China "breaches international norms," and show China "the potential benefits over the long term."

Condescending to China and Russia, Obama treats both nations separately. He wants to draw more Western attention to China, so there could be more efforts to contain China. Obama paying close attention to China resulted in his "rebalancing to Asia" strategy.

He hasn't shown much belligerence to China and Russia since he took office, but apparently, he lacks strategic insight and the power to control his government and be a good decision-maker. His advocacy is always ambiguous and easily misguided by some emergency issues. Diplomacy will not be a proud part of his legacy.

In the Middle East, the US withdrawal from Iraq under his leadership has not helped sort out the mess in the region. He won't be given a medal for the current situation.

In its relationship with Russia, the US wrongfully kept its momentum to squeeze Russia's strategic space and caused Moscow's intense countermeasures.

Washington and Moscow are now engaged in Cold-War-level tensions, and they will cost the US much resource and attention.

In US-China relations, Obama has also found it hard to fully achieve his "rebalancing to Asia" goals. When the new Chinese leadership proposed the concept of a new type of major power relationship, the Obama administration accepted the general idea, but hasn't accepted the connotations.

Obama has not made constructive contributions to China-US relationships. He cannot make landmark progress if he still clings to an outdated Cold War mindset.

In the next two years before his last term ends, Obama could make himself remembered by making breakthroughs in the Sino-US relationship.

He could work with his Chinese counterparts to work out a framework for both countries, which would influence the entire picture of international relations.

In the early years of Obama's administration, people were impressed by his less strident posture toward international affairs, and this is also why he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. But now he has become more self-contradictory.

Perhaps that's how the most powerful man plays his role, held back by many different forces. It seems that only recklessness and strident talk can make the US presidency function well, while forward thinking won't get anywhere.

Source: Global Times

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