White House front walkway with President Obama walking in.

Welke kant moet het op met het buitenlands beleid van de VS?

BANGALORE – Toen de Amerikaanse president Barack Obama onlangs een toespraak hield bij de Verenigde Naties over het bestrijden van de Islamitische Staat, klaagden veel van zijn critici erover dat hij te veel nadruk legde op de diplomatie en niet genoeg op het gebruik van geweld. Er werden vergelijkingen getrokken met de militaire interventie door de Russische president Vladimir Poetin in de Syrische burgeroorlog; en sommige Republikeinen hebben, nu de campagnes voor de Amerikaanse presidentsverkiezingen op stoom komen, Obama beticht van isolationisme.

Maar zulke beschuldigingen zijn partij-politieke retoriek, met weinig basis in rigoureuze beleidsanalyses. Het is juister om de huidige stemming te zien als een beweging van de slinger van het Amerikaanse buitenlands-politieke beleid tussen wat door Stephen Sestanovich van de Columbia Universiteit “maximalistisch” en “minimalistisch” beleid wordt genoemd.

Dat laatste is niet hetzelfde als isolationisme; het is een aanpassing van strategische doelen en middelen. Tot de presidenten die een beleid van inkrimping hebben gevoerd sinds het einde van de Tweede Wereldoorlog behoorden Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, en nu ook Obama. Geen objectieve historicus zou een van deze mannen een isolationist noemen.

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