Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Reverse Brzezinski: The Ultimate Eurasian Dilemma (II) | Oriental Review

Towards the Lead From Behind Strategy and Its Official Acceptance:

Conventional (forceful) regime change strategies (Panama, Afghanistan, Iraq) were possible in a unipolar world, but with the unipolar moment fading, the US has been compelled to revive the Lead From Behind template first flirted with during the Soviet-Afghan War. The first official indication that the US was moving towards this strategy was its behavior during the 2011 Libyan War, the first-ever use of the Lead From Behind moniker. This was followed by then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ final speech that summer, in which he implored NATO allies to do more to assist the US in tackling global challenges. It thus became clear that the US was no longer as enthusiastic about “going it alone” as it had been before, nor does it seem willing to pose the ultimatum of “you are either with us or against us.”

The indication that American power is relatively slipping vis-à-vis the other Great Powers was formally seconded by the National Intelligence Council in late 2012. In its “Global Trends 2030” publication, it writes about how the US will be “first among equals” because “the ‘unipolar moment’ is over, and ‘Pax Americana’ — the era of American ascendancy in international politics that began in 1945 — is fast winding down.” Clearly, under such a competitive environment, aggressive unilateralism will be more difficult to deploy without risking collateral consequences. This further gave an added impulse to the Lead Form Behind strategy’s implementation into mainstream American military planning.

Finally, President Obama institutionalized the Lead From Behind template when he spoke at West Point at the end of May. In his speech, he notable said that “America must lead on the world stage… but U.S. military action cannot be the only — or even primary — component of our leadership in every instance. Just because we have the best hammer does not mean that every problem is a nail.” This has been interpreted as the US formally abandoning the unilateral ‘go it alone’ doctrine except under exceptional circumstances. At this point, it is evident that the US has definitively displayed its intention to trade the world policeman post for the Lead From Behind mastermind mantle. Further illustrating this point, the theater-wide social and political transformation that the US envisioned with the Arab Spring could not have succeeded with unilateral action. Therefore, the year 2011 represents the official end of the unipolar moment and the beginning of the Lead From Behind era, which is in and of itself the US military’s adaptation to a multipolar world.

Complete story at - The Reverse Brzezinski: The Ultimate Eurasian Dilemma (II) | Oriental Review

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