The past year of stops and starts by the United States on the international stage highlights that the Obama Administration has yet to establish a comprehensive foreign policy. The administration has seemingly decided how to handle matters abroad like a shortstop fielding ground balls: single-gloving them one time, two handed catching another, and letting the ball into the outfield yet another. There is no consistency nor rhyme or reason.
This opens members of the administration, as well as of his party to a variety of questions: Why support the revolution in Egypt against a proven ally in Mubarak? Why not support the revolution in Iran? What was the actual policy in Libya? The state department was pre-occupied with other things as is evident from their website’s stated list of programs and priorities.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration are concerned with creating an international community of entitlements. Whereas the State Department should be concerned with the interests of the United States and Americans abroad, Clinton’s department has stated that their priorities are closer to the domestic programs her boss, President Obama, is focused on promoting domestically.
The State Department has cleverly packaged up the international welfare package with a flashy name: Civil Society 2.0. Concerned with the “social and economic needs” of other countries, the Obama Administration has ventured to combat climate change, reduce poverty, and improve education and healthcare. All of this is being done with U.S. taxpayer money and all of this abroad. One wonders what the governments of these countries are doing if the United States is working and spending money to improve the lives of people’s abroad? The answer is rather simple. The Democrats and liberals around the world seek an international nanny state, much like the one that the Democrats seek here domestically. They want everything “fair.” They want a “level playing field.” (These two phrases are very popular with President Obama.)
One needs only to look across the Atlantic at the countries of Southern Europe, where France, Germany, and England are being asked to foot the bill for the pensions and healthcare of Italy, Greece, and others mired in economic turmoil. The State Department, like those in southern Europe, simply wants everyone to have the same things, regardless of cost, risk, capital investment, or personal responsibility. The issue with the State Department doctrine of Civil Society 2.0 is that the United States simply doesn’t have the money to fund a welfare society that stretches across its borders. The price tag of these programs is by no means paltry.
Furthermore, the list of countries receiving aid is astounding. Venezuela considers itself an opponent of the United States and its interest in the Americas. Their aid is listed at $5M. This is for “civil advocacy groups.” Russia, which is not a poor country, receives $64M. China, who enjoys a trade imbalance with the United States, receives $12.9M annually. Ostensibly, we are funding domestic programs for adversaries and international competitors alike. When focusing on the economic costs of these international welfare programs of the U.S. State Department, an overriding question comes to mind, “Should we be doing this?”
There is a reason the United States emerged as the last remaining Superpower. There is a reason that the United States is a melting pot, and that it is idealized around the globe. The United States has no overriding responsibility to provide mobile apps for Africa or to clear landmines in Colombia. This reverts back to the basic tenant of self-reliance and self-determination. These two aspects of the American fabric of character do not seem to be held by the current administration.