Sunday, August 10, 2014

Tom Friedman Interviews President Obama On Foreign Policy In Mid-East

Friedman asked the president most of the questions that need to be asked about the problems in the Mid-East.  The short answer is that the US will not provide military support for leaders who are unwilling to make the political compromises that are necessary to create a community.  Unfortunately, political leaders do not take the long term perspective that will enable different interest groups to live together.  They tend to use power to secure short term control that is not sustainable.  Interest groups which feel that they have been treated unjustly will never surrender completely.  Iraq provides a good example.  Their leaders did not attempt to unite the country.  They depended on the US to keep them in power.  The US is not going to provide military power to keep a government in power that is unwilling to unite the country.

The president believes that he made his biggest mistake in Libya.  They US helped to depose its leader but we failed to provide the support that was needed to restore political stability.  We now have the problem of dealing with a failed state that exports political unrest.

The president views the unwillingness of leaders in the Mid-East to seek political compromise as a warning to politicians in the US.  The US has enormous advantages that could be squandered if its political system moves in the direction in which it has been headed.  Winner take all politics is a threat to our democratic form of government.

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