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The Obama Doctrine

March 25th, 2011 by Myrhaf · 10 Comments · Foreign Affairs, Politics

Some have wondered what the Obama Doctrine is. I believe Bryan Preston at Pajamas Tatler has found it. Obama made this statement in El Salvador:

And that’s why building this international coalition has been so important because it means that the United States is not bearing all the cost. It means that we have confidence that we are not going in alone, and it is our military that is being volunteered by others to carry out missions that are important not only to us, but are important internationally. And we will accomplish that in a relatively short period of time.

(Emphasis Preston’s)

The Obama Doctrine restated in plain spoken clarity (which politicians never come near) is: America will not assert its national self-interest, but if other countries want to volunteer us to sacrifice for the rest of the world, we will be glad to serve.

(HT: Contentions)

10 Comments so far ↓

  • Andrew Dalton

    I remember that during the Bush administration, there was some sort of “humanitarian crisis” in Africa, and some lefty pundits were advocating intervening — precisely because it wasn’t in any national interest of the United States. The difference is that we now have a president willing to put that sentiment into practice.

  • madmax

    The one question I have is this, is there a legitimate nation interest in Libya? I think there may be: oil. Libya accounts for 10% of worldwide oil I believe. It doesn’t matter that we only get 2% of our oil from there. If that 10% is disrupted then the world price for oil goes up. That affects our lifestyle.

    When I look at the way the American economy is structured, it seems to me that it just can’t exist in its current state with expensive oil prices. Further, it is not clear to me that even if we drilled off our shores (which we should) that we could ever eliminate the importance of Middle Eastern oil.* In the end it seems that American foreign policy in the Middle East really is about one thing, or it should be; and that is oil: to keep the most important commodity for industrial civilization flowing.

    We would need a rare man in politics these days that could come up with a strategy to fight the war against Jihad and secure the free flow of oil from Muslim lands. Bush wasn’t that man and Obama sure as hell isn’t. I fear for our future.

    *Could Middle Eastern oil production by replaced by expanded drilling in America and off America’s coasts? The ME provides 30% of the world’s oil. Could we ever equal that?

  • Myrhaf

    If we did nothing in Libya and Qaddafi wiped out the rebels, how would threaten the oil supply? Would the dictator want to stop putting billions in his Swiss bank account from oil sales?

  • madmax

    If we did nothing in Libya and Qaddafi wiped out the rebels, how would threaten the oil supply?

    That’s a fair point. A possible counter question is what if in the process of putting down the rebellion, oil production was destroyed or significantly reduced? My only point here is that there may by a legitimate national self-interest in intervening in Libya (and even if there was it wouldn’t involve nation building but it might involve ground troops – in war you have to be able to hold ground; you cant win wars by air power alone). But it sure isn’t the humanitarian clap trap that Obama is spewing.

    One other possible reason is the fact that Qaddafi has threatened Europe with massive North African immigration in the case of a disrupted Libya. Given Europe’s situation with unassimilated Muslim immigrants, the last thing they want is more of them. But granted that is Europe’s problem and not ours.

  • Embedded I

    Further, it is not clear to me that even if we drilled off our shores (which we should) that we could ever eliminate the importance of Middle Eastern oil.

    From memory only:
    Oil reserves surrounding the N. American continent are HUGE, especially offshore on the Continental Shelf. Main locations are the Gulf a, sections of the S.E. coastal U.S. and off of California. There are enormous shale and sand oil deposits under the west Mid-West, and in Canada, as well as other small areas (S.W. Ontario).

    The total knownextractable reserves amount to over 7 Trillion barrels, which would last some 200 years. However, were electricity produced by nuclear power, that period of time would be indefinite . . . as would the long term use of plastics and other oil based products.

    Some are arguing that oil is not a result of fossil, but a process of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen emerging from the Mantle of the Earth and percolating through the Crust.

    I speculate that the most likely source of all this carbon etc. is from sediments on oceanic plates that subduct beneath the continents.

    The 100s of feet thick sediment layers are loaded with carbon, oxygen (as calcium carbonate) & hydrogen, all gathered by photosynthesizing plankton and stored in their ‘skeletons’ with more H and O in accompanying water. Sediments that get humped up into our mountain ranges are from those same organisms form one vast carbon sink. Sediments that dive below continents also serve as a vast carbon sink, but are ‘cooked’, under high pressure of course. This breaks down the carbon, oxygen, hydrogen compounds to those elements, which, being light, work their way back to the surface. As they re-surface they cool and re-form as oily compounds.

    It is more of a theory, but it has one supporting piece of evidence. A drill into Russian pre-Cambrian rock, unexpectedly uncovered oil at a depth & location that would have been impossible for fossil-anything to have occurred.

  • c andrew

    Embedded I,

    The book you might be looking for is The Deep Hot Biosphere by Thomas Gold.

  • madmax

    Embedded I,

    Useful information. But then the question becomes could America extract the oil available offshore and in the shale deposits at a cost that is competitive with oil drilling in the ME? My guess is yes it could and that the biggest factor aside from government prohibition is the regulatory burden.

    If I am right then the real reason for the threat posed by Islam is not really Islam itself but the anti-capitalists in the West. We are of course talking about primarily the Left and the environmentalists as well as their soulmates on the Right (which is basically all of the Conservatives with the exception of the few remaining Goldwater or fiscal Conservatives – which I think you can count on your fingers and toes).

  • madmax

    Embedded I,

    I should also add that the view of oil’s genesis that you mentioned if true would destroy Peak Oil theory. Alex Epstein has been doing a good job of showing the corruption behind that meme.

  • North Bridge

    c andrew:

    Thank you for the book recommendation. I read in an article a while back that the Russians officially reject the “fossil fuel” theory and essentially regard oil as inexhaustible. I have wanted to find more information on that.

    According to the description on Amazon, Gold’s book advances the thesis that there is a “deep biosphere” of bacteria within the Earth’s crust that produces the oil. The Russian theory, according to the article I read, is that oil is not organic at all, but is a byproduct of processes in the molten core of the planet.

    Either version is more plausible than the idea that we are pumping up liquefied dinosaur remains, which at least is how the “fossil fuel” theory was presented when I went to school.

  • Inspector

    Really, I think the only thing that will eliminate ME oil wealth would be if we were to finally stop propping up their equipment with the R&D and investment of Western companies. I think in the long term, no country insane enough to be threatening has the ability to self-sustain production, either because they would lack the expertise to tap additional reserves, or because they simply couldn’t maintain the equipment they have.

    Brutal regimes are like that. At least, they are if they aren’t propped up.

    But, yes, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to make it more expensive for them by tapping the truly massive amounts of oil we have here.

    madmax: Indeed, it obliterates Peak Oil. I can’t stand the wait until it goes mainstream and does precisely that. It’s being blocked by the ‘viro’s, no doubt.