“I’ve been hacked” is a familiar refrain from celebrities and laymen alike. Post something stupid or homophobic or racist? No problem, just pull out the old “I was hacked” excuse. While hacking is a very serious problem and celebrities are actual victims, perhaps the United States can claim it too was hacked. It may be a lie and no one may believe it, but if we won’t admit our foreign policy is lost, incoherent, or doesn’t exist then what’s left?
The recent “no strategy” gaffe is just another in a long line of “missteps” in our foreign policy, assuming that one exists. “A definite course or method of action” and “a high-level overall plan” both imply a course is charted and set, but “no strategy” begs to differ. The candor is admirable, or would be if it weren’t so frightening.
In Syria, we had a “red line” which couldn’t be crossed, but was indeed crossed. Five months later, that line wasn’t ours, but the worlds. Meanwhile, with the line crossed our response was? Nothing. We invaded Iraq, citing the possession of WMD as our justification, but our response in Syria? Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Over a year later we have “no strategy.”
Afghanistan is in a similar state. From zero troops in 2013 to a decision on 9,800 in 2014, all while battling a recalcitrant Hamid Karzai and a fiasco in this year’s elections. We bounce from option to option, ignoring Afghanistan’s bloody civil war from 1992-1996 (one could argue this continued until the US invasion in 2001) and Iraq’s “progress” since US troops departed in 2011. Are we blind to history, apathetic, incompetent, or all of the above? We know how this story will end, and the dynamic has changed greatly since the “9,800 line” was laid out, so why do we continue to march down a path guaranteed to fail?
Meanwhile, potential 2016 presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claims the 2009 “reset” on Russia worked. One could potentially agree with this premise were it not for the Ukraine. We didn’t reset anything, we powered down.
In Libya, US airstrikes helped overthrown the Gaddafi regime in 2011. Three years and the death of a US Ambassador later, the country is caught in a civil war. The two sides fighting for the country? Islamic militants and the remnants of Gaddafi’s government. So, the people we really hate are fighting the other people we really hate and this benefits us HOW? We’ve done such a terrific job that the United Arab Emirates and Egypt recently collaborated to strike militants in Libya, all without telling the US. The omission speaks volumes about their level of trust in us.
No sane person expects perfection, particularly in international relations. John F. Kennedy dropped the ball in Cuba’s Bay of Pigs, but recovered the next year during the Cuban Missile Crisis. We don’t elect infallible men and women to office, but where’s our upside? We desperately need an undisputed win, a major victory, on the scoreboard.
We can’t claim that our foreign policy was “hacked” but I really wish we could say Anonymous or some “Russian hackers” did this to us. “Sure, we had a strategy for Syria, but then we were hacked.” “Other nations’ trust in the United States? We lost that when we were hacked.” “We didn’t admit to not possessing a strategy, our account was hacked and someone posted that.”
No, we have to own this, but more importantly we have to fix our foreign policy. We need a win. #IWishWeWereHacked
© 2014 The Havok Journal