Now the diplomatic paper is being backdated. In fairness to the French, Obama has been building up a concealed crisis in Africa and the Middle East since he pulled out of Iraq. The final straw was probably the Libya action. Now the French, in order to protect their national interests from the unraveling situation, have decided to bolt.
The situation now somewhat resembles the Suez Crisis of 1956, in which colonial powers Britain and France acted independently to seize the canal and precipitated a superpower crisis. The difference is that Obama is not Eisenhower and it is no longer a bipolar world. The current world is increasingly one in which it is every man for himself. Therefore, it is doubtful whether Obama can strongarm Hollande back into line. He must either support the French or watch their underpowered forces grind to a halt in the vast Sahara.
Meanwhile, the president is currently engaged in fixing the greatest problem of the age: the Second Amendment. The Washington Post reports:”Children across US ask Obama for changes in gun laws following Connecticut school shooting.” But in grabbing power, power, and more power — the power to borrow, make laws, make treaties, conduct secret foreign policy without reference to anybody — Obama has failed to realize that in reality he is getting smaller every day.
His power relative to American institutions has, indeed, increased. But that has been achieved at the cost of weakening America itself. Power viewed through the relevant prism may mean that assault rifles in American hands are bad while the same weapons in Jihadi hands are simultaneously good. It is all a question of context; according to whether it serves the increase of domestic political power or not. In consequence the president has made himself a big fish but in a shrinking pond.
Mali shows how short his arm has really become. And his reach will continue to recede. Actors like Syria are bound to see Mali as a strategic opportunity. The alliance is split. It has limited ability to respond to any new crisis. And therefore they will provoke it. For the first time since 2001, Washington is on the global strategic defensive.
American enemies realize, even if the media won’t say it, that Western policies since the Arab Spring have painted it into a corner. It was never Leading from Behind. It was always being Led by the Blind. And that won’t change until Western politics realizes the same thing. Until then, more of the same.