Archive for Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Opinion: Retired professor examines foreign policy columns

June 12, 2013


Two articles in the Journal-World on June 1, suggest different approaches to U.S. foreign policy. Charles Krauthammer’s article entitled “Bringing end to war is an Obama fantasy,” in my opinion, is a mistaken approach. The second article, entitled “Is Biden taking lead in Latin America?” by Andres Oppenheimer, is a rather slight suggestion for the U.S. to give more attention to Latin America. I’d like to give my reaction to these two articles.

Krauthammer’s article suggests that President Obama should take military action to remove President Assad of Syria. Krauthammer’s view is: “Obama pretends that the tide of war is receding. But it’s demonstrably not. It’s metastasizing to Mali, to the Algerian desert, to the North African states falling under the Muslim Brotherhood, to Yemen, to savage war in Syria, now spilling over into Lebanon and destabilizing Jordan. Even Sinai, tranquil for 35 years, is descending into chaos.”

Krauthammer appears to favor the U.S. cleaning up this multi-country mess. I believe that’s a bad idea. After the U.S. spent millions of dollars and lost many, many lives in attempting to straighten out Iran and Afghanistan, it does not seem reasonable for the U.S. to take primary responsibility to remove President Assad from his position, especially since it would involve directly challenging several pro-Syrian governments and, in particular, Russia.

I should add that Obama’s recent increased attention to relationships with China, Japan, Australia and India adds to the status of the U.S. in the world. Giving military attention to the Middle East in this period would not likely succeed nor would it improve the view of the United States by other countries.

As for Latin America, I have to admit that President Obama has not given much attention to Latin American in his first administration. But in his second term, it appears that the U.S. is giving more time to Latin America, in particular to Mexico, Brazil, Colombia, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. And the general relationship between Latin American and the United States has improved during the Obama administration.

Here in Kansas, the increase in the number of Latin American students attending several Kansas universities and the increasing number of Kansas students attending Latin American universities is an indication of an improving U.S.-Latin American relationship.

— Charles L. Stansifer is a retired professor of Latin American history at Kansas University.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.