To where can Americans turn to find positive relationships? Surely, there is support among allies to combat common enemies and shared purposes, for instances: Islamic State terrorists and the Ebola infectious disease. In the scheme of NATO, there are positive relationships to combat encroachments to freedom by Russia and other rogue nations. The relationship with China seems to be improving.
We are negotiating with Iran about nuclear containment. Is that a good thing? The jury is deliberating the active situation.
Just a year ago, the Washington Post published a “visual report card” of America’s diplomatic report card. It wasn’t very good. In a blow-by-blow review of events since then, the trend is even worse now.
The article omits a very important relationship and that is with Mexico.
The State Department leads its description with, “U.S. relations with Mexico are strong and vital.”
Border security and stopping illegal immigrants as well as deporting them creates tensions that are virtually unmanaged.
Consider the same list of 14 nations now versus how Max Fisher described them last year.
Iran: (was) Major positive change (now) on the cusp of collision with Congress
President Hassan Rouhani and his American-educated negotiator has made progress from their perspective, but the question is can President Obama sell compromise to the U.S. Congress? Most certainly he cannot. Furthermore, the administration has said that it can go a ways on its own without congressional approval. After the midterm shellacking of Democrats and the President, “progress” can go off track. Fueling this will be pressure from Israel which has repeatedly warned the U.S. that Iran is to be feared more than ISIS.
Burma: Major positive change.
Accept that American and Burmese relations are trending positive.
“As part of our calibrated approach to support further reform, the United States has restored full diplomatic relations, re-established a U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) Mission in country, supported assessment missions and technical assistance by international financial institutions, and eased financial and investment sanctions against Burma. President Obama’s trip to Burma in November 2012, the first visit of a sitting U.S. President, demonstrated the United States’ continuing support to Burma in its political and economic reform efforts.
During the President’s visit, the Burmese government made 11 specific commitments to strengthen human rights protections, including provisions related to religious freedom, political prisoners, ethnic reconciliation, non-proliferation, good governance, and human trafficking.”
Israel: (was) Major positive change (now) Trending very negative again
The reasons why the relationship is souring has to do with at least several factors:
- Israel continues to build in territories in which they are not supposed to develop.
- Israel does not support negotiating with Iran.
- Israel favored more aggressive action against the Bashar al-Assad Syrian government.
“US, Israel relations hit new low
By Justin Sink – 10/29/14 06:55 PM EDT
Learn How to Pick the Perfect Pumpkin for Halloween
The testy relationship between the leaders of U.S. and Israel appeared to hit new lows on Wednesday after a senior Obama administration official was quoted calling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a “chickenshit.”
The swipe was the latest in a series of slights and insults between the Israeli and U.S. governments, and raised fresh questions about the standing of an alliance that both sides describe as essential.
The White House spent much of the day dealing with the fallout, insisting that the description of Netanyahu by the anonymous official did not reflect how the president perceives him.
China: (was) Minor positive change (now) Continuing to improve
China has gotten more on board in supporting U.S. actions to combat terrorists.
“We view China’s economic growth as complementary to the region’s prosperity, and China’s expanded role in the region can be complementary to the sustained U.S. strategic engagement in the Asia-Pacific. We and our partners in the region want China’s rise to contribute to the stability and continued development of the region. As President Obama and Secretary Kerry have made very clear, we do not seek to contain China; to the contrary, we welcome the emergence of a stable, peaceful, and prosperous China. We believe all countries, and particularly emerging powers like China, should recognize the self-benefit of upholding basic rules and norms on which the international system is built; these are rules and norms which China has participated in formulating and shaping, and they are rules and norms that it continues to benefit from. In this context, we are encouraging China to exercise restraint in dealing with its neighbors and show respect for universal values and international law both at home and abroad.”
Vietnam: Minor positive change. (Status quo)
South Korea: Minor positive change. (Status quo)
There is much more potential from this relationship where the effort is diluted by other priorities.
Cuba: (was) Minor positive change (now) Getting better
Cuba is an aggressive partner in combating Ebola infectious disease by sending hundreds of doctors to West Africa.
Afghanistan: (was) Minor negative change (now) trending worse
The United States tried to nudge the Taliban and President Hamid Karzai’s government toward peace talks, but since everyone knows U.S. forces will be mostly leaving next year there’s very little reason for Afghan political powers to take us seriously.
France and Germany: (was) Minor negative change (now) Still don’t trust Obama
They are cooperating to combat the Islamic State. Germany is deeply conflicted with Russia as it is dependent upon Russian fuel supplies.
Turkey: (was) Minor negative change (now) Getting much worse
Turkey was buying oil from ISIS sources. Turkey has failed to attack ISIS in Syria without declaring war on the Assad government. Turkey is conflicted against the Kurds. Turkey should be booted from NATO.
Brazil and Bolivia:B (was) Minor negative change (now) Worsening
They are stuck on the Snowden affair. American foreign policy with South America is gravely neglectful.
Russia: (was) Major negative change (now) Trending worse
Russia’s grabbing the Crimea is unforgivable and unforgettable. Russia’s assault on the Ukraine is just an indication of its continuing predatory behavior and intentions. Now, they are flying practice bombing runs against European targets and slipping submarines into Swedish ports.
Saudi Arabia: (was) Major negative change (now) Trending worse
Saudis have joined the fight against ISIS. The U.S. and free-world is fundamentally at odds with Saudi Arabia and tolerates it purely on the basis of its power derived from oil.
Egypt: (was) Major negative change (now) A little better
Fundamental issues remain about the direction for Egypt. Cooperation in combating ISIS helps.
“A visual report card for U.S. foreign relations in 2013 (it looks pretty bad)”