Win Tompkins: The decline of American influence?


Comments by PCFR member Win Tompkins, a junior at the Met School, in Providence.

I attended a Feb. 4 lecture by former U.S Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Chas Freeman called “The Collapse of Pax Americana, Part 1 of 3’’.

At the lecture, held at Brown University, Mr. Freeman detailed some problems with U.S foreign policy and domestic matters  that he sees as contributing to America’s international decline. However, his solutions seemed to pander to the left-leaning audience at Brown University, as did his outlook on our enemies.

 According to Mr. Freeman, the erosion of U.S. influence has to do with our military interventionism and arrogance.  That’s  despite many U.S. allies asserting that the United States is too weak internationally, which encourages autocrats around the world to expand their aggression. In particular, Mr. Freeman made several casual statements that  seemed to equate Saudi Arabia, a terrorist-supporting theocracy, with Israel, a democracy.

 Furthermore, much of the lecture was focused on the flaws of George H.W. Bush’s “Freedom Agenda” and the Iraq War rather than the cautious and arguably equally damaging approach that the Obama administration has taken via some politically contentious agreements with some countries and President Obama’s failure to keep his promise about his “Red Line” .  The Red Line refers to Mr. Obama’s promise  that  the U.S. would strike the Assad regime hard if it used chemical weapons. In fact, the U.S. let Assad continue to use these weapons with little punishment.

  I had met Mr. Freeman  before the lecture and hold him in the highest regard, but his lecture sadly catered more to progressive political gospel than provided an honest analysis of America’s foreign-policy shortcomings.