Political Agendas Versus Public Consent: Climate Change, Syrian Civil War, and Western-Russian relations
European, Chinese, and Indian officials, among many others, believe the US lacks commitment after the Supreme Court delayed the adoption of new regulations. In truth, political leaders, including President Obama, made promises at the 2015 UN Climate Conference in Paris without the consent of their Peoples or sound economic policies. Meanwhile, TPP members will also likely find themselves increasingly irritated at the US when domestic politics derail the trade deal. The problem is not that the US lacks commitment or cannot be trusted on climate change and trade. The problem is that public officials act as though their policy agendas trump public consent when engaging the world.
US officials have abused American power to pursue policies that supported tyrannical leaders and terrorist groups while undermining American democratic ideals and the interests of many Peoples. Where those who seed anti-American sentiments love to divide the world against the US as a hegemonic power, the world must understand that the actions of the US government do not always reflect the will of the American People. This is why US leadership, and policy priorities, change with every elections. America is not, however, the only offender nor is the US the worst. Unfortunately, the governments of the world too often put their agendas above the interests of their peoples.
Politics is often about to guilting others into supporting one’s cause. Looking at the Syrian Civil War and the Syrian Refugee Crisis, the world is highly critical of US policy in Syria. Although the wrongs of the US are being used to guilt the US into a ground war, the truth is that the Americans are ready to walk away from the troubles of the Middle East, Europe, and the rest of the world, if the responsibility is not more eventually shared. The US may have contributed to the problems in the Middle East, but regional powers are also to blame. As a major focus of Western and Russian security interests, the Syrian Civil War demonstrates the harm done by prioritizing political agendas over public interests.
Where Turkey, for example, berates the US for arming Kurds to fight the Islamic State, which empowers them against oppression from the likes of Turkey, Syria, Iran, and Iraq, the simple truth is that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the one who restarted Turkey’s war with the Kurdish YPG in the midst of the Islamic State crisis. This happened as Erdogan was manipulating Turkish elections to ensure his hold onto power and to suppress Kurdish voters. The greatest problem for the region is that all governments tend to be far more interested in sustaining their dominance over the Peoples of the Middle East and sustaining the infighting that fosters instability and violence.
Meanwhile, American criticism of Russian intervention in Syria is not about US aversion to Vladimir Putin. Russian intervention is often hailed at the same time the US is chastised for helping to cultivate terrorist groups like the Islamic State. What makes this ironic is that Russia has essentially embraced everything the US has done wrong in the Middle East; whereas, selective US engagement in the Arab Spring Revolutions represents a greater respect for the Peoples of the region. Russia is using “shock and awe” tactics to prop up a government too weak to last, devastating the Syrian People, and forcing rebels to resort to guerilla tactics instead of defending territory from terrorists.
Furthermore, the United States is the most influential nation on the planet. Where all nations seek to serve their national interests, US power allows the United States to easily suppress the interests of other nations in order to serve its own interests. As US hegemonic power is rooted in an International Community designed to balance the interests of strong and weak nations in order to avoid armed conflict and to promote constructive cooperation, the US tends to be a target of criticism, even though other nations are far more negligent of the interests of other nations and Peoples.
Several nations likely agreed to TPP provisions against their interests and the will of dissenters, for example, in order to gain US favor as China growing more aggressive. Unlike traditional powers, however, US favoritism cannot be bought. Caving into the policy priorities of current US leadership affords foreign governments perks, but the American People do not seek the subjection of other Peoples nor do they seek to permanently alienate any People. All nations are best served by honestly balancing their interests with the interests of the American People.
Unfortunately, the leaders of the world are far too busy catering to each others’ interests and agendas instead of serving their Peoples.
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