Opinion: Obama administration needs strategists


Haoran Li is a junior communications studies major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. He can be reached at [email protected].

Haoran Li

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel warned China several days ago, “You cannot go around and redefine boundaries, violate territorial integrity and sovereignty of nations by force, coercion and intimidation — whether it’s in small islands in the Pacific or large nations in Europe.”

Hagel went on to say, “So I want to talk to our Chinese friends about this.”

After Hagel’s warning, The Chinese vice chairman of China People Liberation Army, Fang Changlong, said in front of Hagel, “I can tell you frankly, your remarks made in the ASEAN defense ministers meeting and to Japanese politicians were tough and had a clear purpose. The Chinese people, including myself, are dissatisfied with such remarks.”  

If provocative claims work on great power, there would not have been two World Wars and the Cold War. On the contrary, the behavior of provocation, in some cases, is lack of strategy.

The current international situation for America is that Russia has annexed Crimea, and the relations between America and Russia are at their worst since the collapse of the Soviet Union. China has emerged as a semi-great power since the 1990s whose military power can match America at least in naval defense.

However, the Obama administration unexpectedly provoked both China and Russia at the same time, which might push China and Russia to stick together and give China another opportunity to both get high-end weapons and strategy support in Asia from Russia.

Allies should serve the national interests instead threatening the national interests.

Unfortunately, what the Obama administration did was characteristic of an amateur diplomat. Obama is not like Nixon, who was definitely an excellent strategist.

He once said, “With conscientious attention to both capitals, we should be able to continue to have our mao tai and drink our vodka too.”

Furthermore, Obama does not have the skill to pick up strategists either. His National Security Advisor Susan Rice even publicly denounced Chinese and Russian vetoes of a Security Council resolution on Syria, proclaiming that her country was “disgusted” and adding that such actions were “shameful” and “unforgivable.”  

Is this a well-trained diplomat?

However, Nixon picked Henry Kissinger as his National Security Advisor and the Secretary of State. The detente was suggested by Kissinger, and he once wrote, “Our relations to possible opponents should be such that our options toward both of them were always greater than their options toward each other.”

This means what America should do is just similar to what Bismarck did. However, the Obama administration cannot do it.

Actually, China is more active in this current international situation. China can both deter and benefit from Russia because Russia can only get support from China, which can continue to cooperate with America in order to benefit. However, America cannot benefit from both.