Very interesting article America now solves problems with troops, not diplomats by Monika Duffy Toft in The Conversation about the USA. First thesis: The United States has changed from an isolationist to a reluctant interventionist to become a global policeman and now a global bully, increasingly replacing diplomacy with military means, replacing experienced and ethnically experienced professional diplomats with political careerists and increasingly pursuing “kinetic diplomacy”.
„Is America a bully?
As a scholar, under the auspices of the Military Intervention Project, I have been studying every episode of U.S. military intervention from 1776 to 2017. Historically, the U.S. advanced from a position of isolationism to one of reluctant intervenor, to global policeman. Based on my research since 2001, I believe that the U.S. has transformed itself into what many others view as a global bully.
Historically, as a reward for those with deep donor pockets, political appointees made up only 30% of U.S. ambassadorial appointments, leaving 70% of the posts to career diplomats. Under the current administration, that proportion is nearly reversed.
The professional corps of foreign affairs bureaucrats has also diminished. According to the Office of Personnel Management, under the Trump administration, the State Department lost some 12% of employees in the foreign affairs division. Its remaining diplomats are increasingly isolated from the formation and implementation of U.S. foreign policy, with foreign policy being established much more often by the executive branch, and then implemented by the Department of Defense.
From the perspective of conservative U.S. political elites, U.S. diplomacy has not suffered. Rather, its quality has shifted from often hard-headed and hard-won negotiations among career diplomats in possession of in-depth local knowledge – what we political scientists think of as traditional diplomacy – to what I have elsewhere referred to as “kinetic diplomacy”: “diplomacy” by armed force unsupported by local knowledge. (…)
Looking at the overall use of U.S. armed force abroad, it’s clear that the U.S. has escalated over time as compared to both small and great powers. In our database, we note every hostile incident. We rate each country’s response on a scale from 1 to 5, from the lowest level of no militarized action (1), to threat to use force, display of force, use of force and, finally, war (5). In some cases, states respond; in others, they don’t. Over time, the U.S. has taken to responding more and more at level 4, the use of armed force. Since 2000 alone, the U.S. has engaged in 92 interventions at level 4 or 5.“
Whether this tends to be true or has to be relativized in the face of disengagement in the Greater Middle East since Obama, which is now continuing under Trump, will be seen in the future, because Trump also retains some military solutions for China and Iran should he be re-elected. So is the war against the Islamic State which had not been otherwise possible and is rather positive to evaluate, although the IS was also a consequence of the US disengagement, which required the correction.
More interestingly, the Pew survey in different countries shows to what extent the population sees the US as a greater threat to the country’s freedoms and peace than other powers. Here the global median value has risen from 25% to 45%. . Poland is the exception, I also guess Israel and Saudi Arabia. Still, over 50% still do not see the US as more dangerous, but should the trend continue and should the US follow the trend towards global bullying described by Monika Duffy Toft, the US will no longer be seen as a bengign hegemon but as a global troublemaker.This will also be interesting if the US and NATO intend to deploy medium-range missiles against Putin’s medium-range missiles.