The military mission launched by the USA during the war in BiH was successful, but the USA failed in the field of politics, writes Thomas L. Friedman for the New York Times.
“The military missions that the United States undertook succeeded. It was the political missions that followed, the efforts to transform the politics of the places where American arms prevailed, that failed.”
In his analysis, Friedman quotes the author Michael Mandelbaum. In his book “Mission Failure: America and the World in the Post-Cold War Era”, Mandelbaum highlights that the USA acted very poorly in BiH, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Kosovo.
“The main focus of American foreign policy shifted from war to governance, from what other governments did beyond their borders to what they did and how they were organized within them,” writes Mandelbaum, referring to U.S. operations in Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan and toward Chinese human rights policy, Russian democratization policy, NATO expansion and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
“The United States after the Cold War … became the equivalent of a very wealthy person, the multibillionaire among nations,” he argues. “It left the realm of necessity that it had inhabited during the Cold War and entered the world of choice. It chose to spend some of its vast reserves of power on the geopolitical equivalent of luxury items; the remaking of other countries.”
These missions, Mandelbaum notes, were all aimed “to convert not simply individuals but entire countries,” and they had one other thing in common: “They all failed.”
In the beginning of his analysis, Friedman states that this is a book that Barack Obama, the current president of the USA, and Donald Trump, presidential candidate for elections in November this year, would both enjoy.
“In the past 20 years, the USA did not strive only to be the world ‘cop’, but also the world’s social worker, architect, and builder of nations across the world,” Friedman states.
Friedman highlights that the desired level of democracy has not been established in any of the countries where the USA took action.