While still pining for the days of the Raj, Niall Ferguson, neo-colonialist extraordinaire, surprisingly advocates that the US stay out of Syria and instead let the Chinese handle it. Or perhaps not so surprisingly once you figure out his game. Ferguson's reason can be distilled into three bullet points:
- The United States can frack its way to Freedom™
- The just-more than $500bn in planned military cuts (over five years and out of trillions of dollars in expenditures) will cripple America's military
- The Arabs are ingrates
If those make sense to you as reasons to stay out of Syria then your name is Niall Ferguson. Welcome to the blog, Prof. Ferguson! Enjoy the archives!
So why China? Well, Ferguson claims that the PRC is a "free rider", that given its power it doesn't do enough to police the planet. True, perhaps. But it doesn't explain why someone who weeps over the demise of the British Empire and maintains that the United States should itself explicitly become an empire would want to see China, nominal Communists that they are, as a geopolitical competitor, and a potentially dangerous one at that.
It's a mystery what Ferguson's game is here. But if I had to guess, he's hoping the Chinese become mired down in some of the more disreputable parts of the world and proceeds to spend itself into oblivion. But that's only a guess.
Or perhaps he's just stupid.
Under President Obama, U.S. grand strategy has been at best incoherent, at worst nonexistent.
Very Smart People who deal with geopolitics always demand a Grand Strategy, whether one is needed or not. It's the hallmark of Very Smartness.