United States President Barack Obama visited Bagram Military Base, located 40-kilometers off Kabul International Airport, without informing Afghan Embassy in US or Afghan foreign ministry officials. During the visit he announced the new Afghan strategy and invited his counterpart President Hamid Karzai to meet him in Bagram.
Just a day after his visit to Afghanistan, Barack Obama laid out his new global foreign policy on the world and the role of United States in an address to graduating cadets at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point among growing criticism from conservatives and other US political experts blaming him for isolated politics and feckless administration. The aim of the policy is to lay down future role for the US in the changing political world.
Ahmad Bilal Khalil has analyzed Barack Obama’s general foreign policy, Afghanistan strategy and his new approach to global foreign:
Obama’s foreign policy:
While Barak Obama was senator during George W. Bush’s administration, he was criticizing Iraq and Afghanistan wars. While he was running for presidency, when John McCain was his rival, he explained his foreign policy in Chicago Council on Global Affairs, where putting end to Iraq war was in his priority.
When he won 2008 presidential election and took oath on January 20, 2009, some significant geo-politic changes has taken place. For instance, the 2008 global financial crisis, Euro crisis, Putin and Russian’s intervention in Georgia affairs, negotiations of 5+1 countries with Iran, drones attacks, revelations by WikiLeaks, Arab spring, civil wars in Libya and Syria, revelations of Edward Snowden about US surveillance programs, withdrawal of American troops from Iraq, emergence of Al-Qaida elements in North Africa, dilemma of US-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement and so on.
Obama won the 2008 election under the slogans of change, end to Iraq war and withdrawal of US military from Afghanistan. The Obama’s Afghan strategy (2008-2014) was affected by uncertainties, in 2009 he increased the number of soldiers in Afghanistan by 3000, and decided for withdrawal in 2013, decided to sing U.S.–Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement in 2013, and announced in 2014 that 9800 soldiers will stay in Afghanistan and will withdraw in 2016.
Obama’s global new foreign policy:
Obama knows that starting Afghan war was easy but winning it is difficult. Obama in Bagram, having a historic series of civilizations and military bases, announced that 9800 soldiers will be staying in Afghanistan post-2014 and all the soldiers will withdraw in 2016.
Later, he announced US’ new policy at U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York, facing criticism from Americans from the military point of view.
The core of Obama’s address begins with, “So let me spend the rest of my time describing my vision for how the United States of America and our military should lead in the years to come, for you will be part of that leadership. “
Obama stated that previously we were military intervening while the interests of America or our allies were in danger, but now we must ask critically that whether our act is justifiable, efficient or just or not?. Thus the global vision is significant.
He on the one hand want support of military action, but on the other hand says that whenever the interest of their people, country or the way of living is threatened then they do not need any approval.
He says about Afghanistan that we broke the backbone of the Al-Qaida and overthrew the regime who supported them. Now the control of the affairs is the job of Afghans, we therefore trained hundreds of thousands Afghan soldiers. The Afghans voted this spring, and paved the way for transition of the power in a democratic atmosphere. At the end of this year, a new Afghan President will be in office and America’s combat mission will be over.
The aim of withdrawing from Afghanistan and staying of a limited number of soldiers and bases is that we are to pay attention to Middle East and North Africa, where in Nigeria the Boko Haram and militants in Somalia paved the way for emerging Al-Qaida which is threatening America’s security.
However Obama said in his statements that whenever the country, people or the way of living of US is threatened, they will not neglect the attacking military policy, but he adds that this policy will be not giving birth to America’s new enemies.
By hearing or reading Obama’s statements one can realize that he on the one hand do not want to neglect direct intervention but in case of threatening US’ interests. He wants to save his country from heavy sacrifices and involvement in long term wars. He also do not want to involve America in each conflict of the world, therefore he did not mention some countries which are worth to be mentioned in his statement.
Richard Haass, President of Council on Foreign Relations believes that Obama insisted on issues which were not interesting to him and did not insist on issues which were interesting to him.
The new foreign policy in overall gives United States a new vision for foreign relations protecting it from unnecessary military interventions or aggressions and isolated politics.
Most of analysts view Obama’s new policy as Nixon-Kissinger policy; Richard Nixon through the diplomacy of Henry Kissinger wanted to oust enemies using other allied states. He gave a new role to Reza Shah Pahlavi of Iran, he pursued his given plan in the region especially to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in Pakistan and Mohammed Daoud Khan in Afghanistan. But the consequences went wrong when Pahlavi was overthrown in Iran, Bhutto was taken to death row and Daoud Khan was killed along with his family.
Obama now wants to conduct military operations in Somalia and Mali using France and allot $5 billion for North Africa for war on Al-Qaeda, through the help of international forces he wants to control situation in Libya, and is keen to have good ties with Syrian neighbors, Turkey and Iraq, because they have given safe haven to Syrian refugees and are standing on the front lines of terrorism.