The Quiet Grand Strategy of Barack Obama
Alfred W. McCoy:
To the consternation of his critics, in the waning months of his presidency, from Iran to Cuba, from Burma to the Pacific Ocean, Obama has revealed himself as an American strategist potentially capable of laying the groundwork for the continued planetary dominion of the United States deep into the 21st century. In the last 16 months of his presidency, with a bit of grit and luck and a final diplomatic surge—concluding the nuclear treaty with Iran to prevent another debilitating Middle Eastern conflict, winning congressional approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and completing negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership—Obama just might secure the U.S. a significant extension of its waning global hegemony.
Specifics aside, the world’s two most powerful nations, China and the United States, seem to have developed conflicting geopolitical strategies to guide their struggle for global power. Whether Beijing will succeed in moving ever further toward unifying Asia, Africa, and Europe into that world island or Washington will persist with Obama’s strategy of splitting that land mass along its axial divisions via trans-oceanic trade won’t become clear for another decade or two.
We still cannot say whether the outcome of this great game will be decided through an almost invisible commercial competition or a more violent drama akin to history’s last comparable imperial transition, the protracted rivalry between Napoleon’s “continental system” and Britain’s maritime strategy at the start of the 19th century. Nonetheless, we are starting to see the broad parameters of an epochal geopolitical contest likely to shape the world’s destiny in the coming decades of this still young 21st century.
Very interesting read.