If foresee means you can see it coming and predict means when it would be unfair to see the latter but critical that President Obama be able to do the former. Some of our leaders have been so blind as to not see what is sure to happen. Chamberlain in 1938 was one; Franklin Roosevelt unable to see that an American boycotting of steel and oil to Japan in 1940 would bring trouble, big time, was another.
In my lifetime (I was born when Hoover was US President) the great Churchill was the great seer seeing the rise of Bolshevism, what Hitler was really all about, the necessity for a European rapprochement through a common market and the fall of the Soviet empire. What he could not, or would not see was the Independence of India and the extinction of the British Empire. From this we can see that failure to be able to see ahead breeds a false sense of security and unpreparedness when unanticipated events explode.
As an aside, President Obama has accomplished something that few could have foreseen a mere decade ago – not only is he the first black president, he’s the first to be re-elected taking away the argument that he was just one of those political accidents that come along once in awhile. He has been re-certified as the Commander-in-chief of the world’s richest and most powerful nation. It is, frankly that which delineates his major problem. He must foresee the day when the US is no longer numero uno. He must foresee that which the Soviet Union could not – a diminution of power and prestige…
Europe is a mess. It shows signs of at least contraction of its members and perhaps a break-up. Its principal virtue has been to keep peace amongst peoples that have loathed each other for centuries. After a break-up, Germany will be top dog and that’s not an encouraging event.
The economic carnage of a break-up would be enormous and how will Mr. Obama with plenty of economic problems of his own deal with this? One of his major concerns is not only the rise of wealth and continuing military power of China but it’s rapid extension of economic clout around the world much including the US but Canada as well.
But there’s more. Japan is looking, day by day, as if it will amend its postwar constitution, imposed by the US, and build up its military. Tiny islets have become important as sources of petroleum. Ownership of Sakhalin and the Kuriles is a point of dissension with Russia. Many 20th century issues, as with all outstanding disputes of the past are like smouldering muskeg – waiting for a time to burst their bounds,
What we call the Middle East which now seems to include Afghanistan, Pakistan and by extension India will become even more dangerous as the US pulls out of the former leaving the power vacuum that has always been there.
The muskeg fire, however, has found a new place to find air and burst into flame – Saudi Arabia. We seem to ignore the fact that US good relations with the Saudis (as evidenced by George W. Bush walking hand in hand with the Crown Prince) will soon be over with potentially calamitous.
To start, oil experts have been telling us that the Saudis are grossly inflating their oil reserves; that the ability of the royals to buy off the citizens with free education and health care will diminish and end.
It must also be noted that quite apart from other problems, the people are tiring of rule by the Wahabi mullah’s in exchange for the mosque supporting the tyrannical government. The changes of the Arab spring which have brought chaos to be sure, have also been changes brought about by the masses.
There is a new factor which will play out in President Obamas’s term – petroleum self sufficiency in the US and increasingly so in many other markets because of “fracking”, a process whereby shale is drilled so as to capture, mostly gas but oil too, that has become entrapped between layers of the shale. The drill goes vertically into the shale, up to more than a mile then goes horizontally and with pressure from chemically treated water, drives the gas out of its hiding place.
This process, so quickly has it developed, is being utilized with very little environmental examination other from the public relations departments of oil companies and their advertising shills. Amongst other considerations, huge quantities of water, poisoned by chemicals, are required. Where does that water come from and where does it go? What about the weakening of the earth’s structure when the gas and oil are gone?
We in Canada will feel the effects of fracking when China gets its act together (it’s spending billions on fracking research and exploration now) which will drive British Columbia and Alberta’s price down dramatically.
How will this affect Russia with its huge European gas market? Many more questions arise but to the point of this article, what happens to Saudi Arabia when its substantial US market dries up?
Although we in the West don’t consider this often, what happens to American interests (code for Israel) when Saudi Arabia becomes the Islamic Republic of Arabia? Added to that is another serious matter which Mr. Obama must face – what happens when Egypt abrogates its treaty with and recognition of Israel?
Israel, never a pacific country, is tauntingly aggressive with its continued expansion into occupied lands. Even if the “doves” win the next election, which is doubtful, aggressive right wing governments will always come back sooner or later,
Iran will surely have its nuclear bomb, if not in Mr. Obama’s time, not long thereafter thus creating a “mutually assured destruction” (MAD) not only between India and Pakistan in this area but between Iran and Israel as well. Perhaps that’s the only solution that’s doable.
Somehow, my tummy tells me, this will not be like the MAD between the Soviet Union and the West and that Mr. Obama just can’t permit that to be the solution. Assuming, correctly I’m sure, that President Obama forsees these things, what the devil will he do? Indeed, what can he do?