First Test of Obama National Security Team

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Ebrahim Motaqi

The coming to power of Barack Obama has many similarities with the circumstances under which Ronald Reagan entered the White House. At this juncture of time, there are numerous signs of US national security threats facing the White House executives. Threats have been shaped in different dimensions and geographical domains. Under these conditions, the fundamentalist capitalism which underlines historical and security indexes is faced with such components as US economic recession. Security crisis is escalating concurrent with the economic crisis.

The measures taken by Ehud Olmert, Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni in the military invasion against the people of Gaza have created a more critical climate for the United States. The security bubble in various global circles has been overshadowed by the offensive waves of Israel and America. This shows that the existing trends have been associated with signs of uncontrollable threats. The tendency towards security based on application of military power has lost its effectiveness. Under such conditions and climate, the United States under Barack Obama is faced with different paradoxes. In this situation, the main question for many analysts is what initiatives Washington would take in foreign policy domain under Obama.

Would the model based on increasing intervention and escalating threats continue or a new form of strategic initiatives would be employed by the US foreign policy and security team? In other words, another fundamental question can be raised, namely what type of change would the US apply in the process of foreign policy?

This shows that under the status quo, the United States is faced with various manifestations of security problems. Application of social and economic reconstruction policies in the US is regarded among new behavioral patterns which should be considered a reaction to the economic recession and the process of escalating social crises in America. Under these conditions, the American society is trying to forge a new situation in front of the administration. The waves of change in the US social and political structures would be imperative. Under such a climate, the Democrats would have no choice but to enforce policies of adjustment and models of adjusting the social crisis in the US. The main problem in the foreign policy and security domains relates to the national security team of Obama. Those picked as national security advisor, CIA director, and secretary of state face a difficult road ahead in maintaining the balance in various regional domains.

Reconstruction of the US security structure will be made possible merely through transformation of the behavioral patterns. Nevertheless, people like Thomas Fingar, director of the US National Intelligence Council as well as the deputy director of the Council have stressed in their organizational reports that the trend of US security challenges will inevitably continue in the coming years. This shows that security crises in the Middle East, Central Asia and South West Asia will continue and Iran, Turkey and Indonesia will be among countries gaining power. Under such conditions, the security crisis in various geographical and strategic scopes will naturally continue.

Due to Israel’s offensive policies and America’s strategic indifference towards the infrastructural complications of the Middle East, the region has turned into an “arc of instability.” Coping with these conditions and signs will naturally increase America’s security problems.

Under the geopolitical atmosphere of the US, the question of Iran enjoys particular significance. Like Israel, the Arab states in the Middle East are concerned about the future status of Iran in the region. This would add to the paradoxes of power and security in the United States. There is no new political force to act as a factor to balance the critical situation. Under such a climate, the US security policies would be able to bring about relative equilibrium merely within a model of constructive cooperation.

Thus far, the Bush administration’s policies had been based on opposition models and hostile policies. This shows that continuation of the destructive strategy applied by George Bush could not prepare the ground for equilibrium.

Bypassing the security crisis in the Middle East would not be possible without paying attention to the new policies of Obama and implementation of policy of change. New behavioral indexes which could face the equation of instability in the Middle East with phased changes should be taken into account based on the following indexes:

1.    Obama’s foreign policy and security team needs to apply explicit terms in relation with leaving behind the policy of regime change in Iran. Reconstruction of such a model can create the necessary conditions for bringing about balance and regional cooperation for equilibrium.

2.    The Gaza crisis and its consequences have created conditions where to amend regional crises would not be possible without participation of Iran in domains related to Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan and Lebanon. In all the said domains, Iran enjoys the policy of equilibrium.

3.    Therefore, Iran’s participation in the said security spheres could help repair the climate of instability and associate the policy of change with applied and confidence-building models.

4.    Many of the regional crises originate from overlooking the factors behind regional instability. It must be emphasized that the Middle East is faced with a situation of imbalance. Experience shows that confidence building is required to leave behind regional crises.

Confidence building will not be possible through reconciliatory literature or diplomatic compliments. Confidence building will occur and be restored when there is a new balance in regional security structure. A climate of instability could not lead to regional stability.  


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