It's the Little Things, Unfortunately

Robert Kaplan:

The United States has a security problem in the Middle East because the so-called Arab Spring, rather than lead to democracy, has led to anarchy. The anarchy unleashed has provided opportunities for disease germs such as al Qaeda. Otherwise, the United States is engaged in a balance-of-power struggle with Iran for geographic influence in the Levant. The Iranian leadership uses the language of Islam, even as it also thinks like the pagan Persians of antiquity, in terms of a desired sphere of influence stretching from the Mediterranean to the Central Asian plateau. But as long as the sea lines of communication remain secure and transnational terrorists are containable and kept away from America’s or Israel’s borders, for example, whether places like Egypt or Libya or Yemen struggle for years on end with enfeebled governments matters only modestly to Washington and is, in any case, something Washington cannot do that much about.

While the media is preoccupied with Middle Eastern chaos, the more significant geopolitical changes occurring in the globe involve the sphere of influence Russia is trying to carve out from the Baltics to the Caucasus, including Central and Eastern Europe, and the one China is trying to carve out in the Western Pacific and Indian oceans as far away as Africa.

Our eye is off the ball, isn’t it? Russia and China are behaving like grown-up Great Powers, while we remain distracted by, and in Reaction Mode to events which have nothing to do with out national interests.

The American people held a Reset Button last November, but failed to push it.