Wednesday, October 31, 2012

How to bypass spending in FP: Make others do your job

Only days left to the key U.S. presidential race and one wonders if the U.S. foreign policy will make a significant shift in case either candidates get to the White House. This is hardly the choice the U.S. president will make in the middle of painful economic recovery.

The biggest challenge faces the U.S. abroad is not Iran driving to acquire a nuclear weapon or China that is building huge economy and military muscle. It is its own economy that is having hard time to find necessary money to fund its foreign policy establishment and military – key for conducting an effective foreign policy.

The reason why the U.S. economy is recovering so slowly is because the Obama administration, departing from tax cut policy for increased production the federal government had been pursuing since 1981, has started spending on budget deficit, coupled with expensive Health Care spending that is signed into law in 2010. The price tag of entitlements – public spending Washington can’t give up – will become much bigger burden for taxpayers as the U.S. enters into a new era where aged people will fast close the gap with younger, working generation thanks to the fact that 1946-1964 “baby boom” generation is turning to 65. One of them is U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The U.S. will have to shrink its military spending, foreign aid and an array of foreign policy initiatives it is implementing thanks to these spending.

There is a very effective way for the U.S. to overcome this troubled trend in economy that will squeeze its foreign policy spending: Make others do what you had been doing all along.

Broadening close partnerships with allies, eliminating possible threats and avoiding expensive initiatives such as Iraq quagmire is going to make up the backbone of the U.S. foreign policy moves. Washington’s limited options vis-a-vis Arab countries demanding transformation of their nations have already showed to what extend the U.S. could reach in realizing its goals.

At least in the next four years, the U.S. will work more closely with allies and share costs with them in national security challenges. “Leading behind” policy in Libya, working closely with Turkey and Qatar in the Syria crisis and establishing a broad coalition of states to impose crippling sanctions on Iran are policies the Obama administration was successful in pursuing that saved it billions of dollars.

No matter who wins the White House in this November elections, the new president will have to work more with allies to share costs abroad. The new president will face growing budget deficit and more burden on taxpayers. Although Romney vows to increase military spending despite economic challenges, it is hard to believe that he will go that path along. Cutting military spending will hardly change the conduct of the U.S. military around the world because the waste in the U.S. army is rampant. In these circumstances, it is not hard to estimate that the U.S. will choose to work more with allies, avoid costly adventures abroad rather than playing solo.

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