Maybe I should have called this posting “Niall Fergusson on Obama’s Lack of Strategy in the Middle East” because Niall takes a very critical stand on Obama’s position in the Middle East.
America always have detractors and supporters that are ready to say this is right or this is wrong. Niall is clear on his final assessment of America’s involvement in the Middle East’s recent events, but the reason originates in a historical context, in a large dimension that transcends short-term reactions.
Comparing Obama with Bismarck, Niall places the current events in a grander scheme, one that has ample ramifications. He is painfully giving away his disappointment for lack of strategy of Obama’s administration as he sees the fresh democratic wave crossing the Middle East and North Africa absent of any support from America. This is unacceptable in his view, a huge missed historic opportunity.
At times, we are playing the game of conspiracy in a number of ways, imperceptible, even if we don’t admit it, thinking that there is a plan, mischievous or benevolent, nevertheless a plan that helps the times move along. Or maybe we think there is a battle of plans between the left and right or between the good and the bad. A scenario where there is no plan doesn’t came easily into our minds; we need to blame someone.
This is exactly what Niall suspects it is happening right now: there is no strategy, there is no plan. In all “strategic planning” preparations before the Facebook revolution, no one considered that Egypt might revolt. This is perhaps a clue for all of us, something to think about. Because in fact it may support the opposite of what Niall is calling for: “Wanted: A Grand Strategy for America”. This is an argument for calling people to take matters in their own hands and create history through collective design as no leader is able to draw that grand strategy to take us all to the next step. It may be that in the new era of Internet it is not possible to have another Bismarck.