With Friends Like These…

I just published a quick rant on Huffington Post after watching Joe Scarborough complain and moan about how the U.S. is going it alone on Afghanistan during his morning MSNBC show.  It’s no wonder so many countries are getting into bed with Venezuela, Russia, and China … they probably show more appreciation.

Both Washington and its pundits on both sides of the aisle have got to come around to the fact that the number of disincentives for being friendly with the U.S. are rapidly increasing, and it’s not longer just the radical fringes. In Latin America, where we can’t even seem to hold confirmation hearings for our diplomatic appointees, it simply pays much, much more to accept unconditional aid from Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, or even strike up relationships based on credit and guns from Russia and China. In Eastern Europe, Poland and the Czech Republic stick their necks out in their reluctant agreement to host a missile shield, only to have it withdrawn and watch the Obama administration throw them right into a conceded “sphere of influence” of Russian revanchism.

From Southeast Asia, to the Stans of Central Asia, to Muslim areasof Africa, the United States is emphasizing relationships with abusivedictators over the fledgling democracy movements, unwittingly raisingthe prospects of newly hostile Islamic states. We don’t even need toask leaders such as Jose Maria Aznar or Mikheil Saakashvili thepersonal political costs of support the United States.

Worst of all, I am one of the people who actually believes thatpeaceful cooperation in the international community and the active andrespectful engagement of the United States in key alliances is acornerstone of global security – that’s why it is such a pity to seethese relationships dependent on a battered spouse syndrome … one ofthese times, they might not come back. A slip of the tongue on just onecable news show means nothing, but if the U.S. doesn’t get back on thesame page as the rest of its friends, these lamentations of isolationcould become self-fulfilling.