For years now the USA's foreign policy has been dictated by one man. While it's true that others occasionally try to pretend they’re important, the face America presents to the world is largely Wild Owl's, to the extent that he is thought of by the US population as a diplomatic genius. This is reflected in the use of the term "Wild Owl Doctrine", a title given to the path the United States has chosen to tread since its days in Sirius. I think this is meant to pay a compliment to his clever manoeuvring; outside the bubble however it's utterly inexplicable. He is - or very generously perhaps, has become - a complete liability. Allow me to illustrate.
From the beginning of my experience with WO, I was alarmed by how he treated representatives of smaller, less powerful countries. He had a tendency to adopt brusque, even abusive manners towards representatives of weaker countries. For example, many moons ago he was absolutely against allowing Brazil to join Sirius. I too understood the complications that Brazil in the alliance would present as well as he did, but the disrespectful way he spoke to and about them was puzzling to me, and I struggled to reconcile this behaviour with how he spoke to me. His manners to me and to countries he thought were useful to him, that was a different story altogether. Here he was polite, even obsequious.
This should have been a warning to me.
WO, in all his strigine wisdom, is dismissive and rude to people and to entire countries he thinks are too weak, or are in too difficult a diplomatic position to ever be useful to him. Even without any moral consideration, it's terribly shortsighted for someone who is supposed to represent one of the big nations of eRep to foment such unnecessary, unprovoked ill will. In my years of playing for eUK and eCroatia no Serbian MoFA has ever spoken so rudely to me as WO has to me and to others, even though they're ten times the power eUSA ever was. Therein lies the difference.
We saw a perfect example of the Wild Owl Doctrine in action with Spain, against whom the Americans declared some kind of holy war after they were kicked from Sirius (at Spoland's insistence, incidentally). Of course they shrewdly chose a time when Spain's allies were being hard pressed on all sides by Asteria, and when the Spanish were still utterly despised in Asterian countries. It helped him cement the new relationship with Argentina, an enemy-turned-ally, showing the USA's commitment to them. This enmity was hastily and conveniently brushed under the carpet when Spain found more favour with Asteria, but it was very useful to declare them public enemy #1 at the time. Sound familiar?
The method worked fairly well when USA wanted to transition from the Aurius side to the Asterian. Nobody can deny that they have enjoyed peace and quiet, and a seemingly unassailable position in the world. As I have said, Wild Owl can be all charm and complaisance when he sees you as useful, and I have no doubt he went to work very hard on all Asterian presidents and representatives. Unfortunately he failed to understand that the shifting sands of eRepublik diplomacy can be completely unpredictable. To date, and to my knowledge, he has on separate occasions pledged the USA's undying loyalty to Argentina, to Romania and to Greece. The prompt and unceremonious decline of most of these relationships has demonstrated to the world how cheap, even meaningless his word is, not to mention the theatrically villainous way he has spoken to the countries he saw as natural enemies of those he was trying to impress. He was involved in a crisis with Iran, thinking his position was powerful enough to bully the Iranians over a substantial amount of money. He has trash talked Russia, maybe USA's longest standing ally at this point, when he felt that the partnership was perhaps going to hold the USA back. There really hasn't been a depth he won't sink to, but his time is up. He has run out of fresh people to promise his worthless loyalty to, and all the players who are left standing now are wise to his act.
There is a litany of examples of his catastrophic miscalculations involving other countries, but for now I will leave the others, focus on Croatia, and look forward to reading about the rest from people who have the firsthand experience.
As for the Croatian perspective, at the time of the American AS, even after years of distancing and provocative behaviour from WO, even after I, the source of all Croatian wrongdoings, had left Croatia, to RL Croatian players a war against the USA was unthinkable. Croatia was almost dead, and had fallen out of the top 10 of damage dealing countries after years of bruising war with Serbia. You chose then to attack Croatia because you saw them as weak, vulnerable and isolated. You and your supporters thought it would score you points with Serbia and others to stick your boot in at a time when Croatia would be unable to defend itself.
That brings us back to the present. Even now I've seen some Americans trying to claim that the AS on Croatia brought lots of benefits to USA (naturally, the people who urged them into it), but I think the evidence now speaks for itself. You showed how weak you really were, shocking the world with such a feeble airstrike and the subsequent, pathetic defence of your own regions, to the point that Serbia didn't even think it worth their time to participate in the new effort:
This is the natural conclusion of the Wild Owl Doctrine. Who else but he and the years of his indecent behaviour to countries he saw no use for could unite those unfriendly communities in an effort against them?
A final thought: I have made many, many mistakes while playing this game, including speaking to people in a way I'd be ashamed of now. I like to think I learn from my mistakes, and increasingly treat people from all e-nations with the respect they deserve.
When electing officials to represent you abroad, give this some thought.