As the days of the Obama presidency dwindle down, bad actors everywhere are in a rush to grab what they can. After all, they are not likely ever again to get such a weak president as Barack Obama, and they know it.
The latest aggression comes from China, with reports that Beijing has authorized its military to project air and sea power farther afield and to use it for offense as well as defense. A Communist Party newspaper warned that “a US-China war is inevitable in the South China Sea” if America contests China’s expansion.
The move fits a worldwide pattern. From the Islamic State to Russia to Iran, America’s adversaries are making a calculated decision. They know Obama will, at most, talk a tough game but in the end won’t do much else.
They also realize that time is running out on their chance to act without consequences. With the raft of foreign-policy failures of the last six years a major issue in the presidential campaign, Obama’s successor is almost certain to be a more forceful leader on the international stage.
But even then, territorial gains locked in now are not likely to be challenged under a new administration. No new president wants to waste political capital and time refighting inherited battles, especially if they are seen as lost causes.
That reality alarms many analysts and military intelligence officials. Maps are being redrawn and borders erased or moved in Europe, the Mideast and Africa. Lethal weaponry is spreading, ethnic and religious cleansing is happening in numerous places, and waves of immigrants are washing ashore in places that can’t handle the volume.
Half of Syria is now controlled by the Islamic State, which also controls a large part of Iraq. Sooner or later, it will probably apply for UN membership!
Let’s hope it’s later. Obama is so checked out, he would probably give it a thumbs-up.
To continue reading Michael Goodwin's column in the New York Post, click here.