Remaking the Middle East: How the US Grew Tired and Less Relevant
US Secretary of State John Kerry is often perceived as one of the “good guys”, the less hawkish of top American officials, who does not simply promote and defend his country’s military adventurism but reaches out to others, beyond polarizing rhetoric. His unremitting efforts culminated partly in the Iran nuclear framework agreement in April, followed by a final deal, a few months later.
Now, he is reportedly hard at work again to find some sort of consensus on a way out of the Syria war, a multi-party conflict that has killed over 300,000 people. His admirers see him as the diplomatic executor of a malleable and friendly US foreign policy agenda under President Barack Obama.
In reality, this perception is misleading, although Kerry is not a warmonger as George W Bush’s top staff were, such as Vice-President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. The two were the very antithesis of any rational foreign policy such that even the elder ex-President George H W Bushdescribed them demeaningly, according to his biographer who was quoted in theNew York Times. Cheney was an “Iron-ass”, who “had his own empire… and marched to his own drummer,” Bush the Elder said, while calling Rumsfeld “an arrogant fellow” who lacked empathy.
Yet, considering that the first President Bush was rarely a peacemaker himself, one is left to ponder over whether or not the US foreign policy ailment is centered on a failure to elect proper representatives and to enlist anyone other than psychopaths. If one is to examine US foreign policies in the Middle East fairly, for example, comparing the conduct of the last three administrations — Bill Clinton, George W Bush and Barack Obama — one would find that there are abundant striking similarities. In principle, all three administrations’ foreign policy agendas were predicated on strong militaries and military interventions, although they applied soft power differently.