The View From 1776
Tuesday, September 18, 2012
Make-Nice Is Not A Foreign Policy
The ongoing fiasco in the Middle East - murder of our ambassador and members of his staff, along with military assaults on other embassies - has been encouraged in great part by Obama’s Mr. Nice Guy presentation of fecklessness and indifference toward Islamic terrorism in the Middle East. That presentation, in turn, arises from fundamental religious doctrines of liberal-progressive-socialism.
Throughout his term in office, President Obama has told Islamic leaders and mobs in the streets that he is their friend and that he foreswears all of the world’s traditional diplomatic practices. In particular he repudiates past policies of the United States, which he implies amount to no more than oppressive colonialism. He praised Syria’s brutal ruler for his purported friendship with us (remember Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Syria and her obsequious groveling?) Obama impetuously leapt to support Egypt’s new jihadist rulers with no clear understanding of their probable anti-American orientation and apparently without any plans to push that new government toward policies that would preserve our national interests, including our alliance with Israel. He keeps offering peace parleys with our implacable enemy Iran, giving the mullahs more time to create operational nuclear weapons. He ignores continual military attacks against Israel in order not to upset terror-fomenting Islamic rulers.
Those brutally realistic rulers have heard the message loud and clear: we will not interfere with their support for terrorists and their fomenting of mob street action with raging vocal attacks on the United States; we will stand by wringing our hands when Iran attempts to obliterate Israel with nuclear weapons.
Islamic rulers’ reaction predictably is not friendship, but contempt atop their hatred for the American paper tiger.
Obama’s reducing the vast complexities of foreign policy to the simplistic level of soothing a grumpy colleague and his preference for Islamic rulers’s interests over our own are understandable in light of his life-long indoctrination with the corrosive, secular religion of socialism. Obama is a doctrinal clone of Bill Ayers, Bernadine Dohrn, and and other student radicals of the 1960s and 1970s. Liberal-progressive-socialism is the only doctrine he has absorbed, from his youthful tutelage by left-wing extremist Frank Marshall Davis to the anti-American, socialistic internationalism encountered in his Ivy League college career.
The root of that doctrine, from the 1750s onward, is the faith, without supporting evidence, that humans by nature are benevolent when not corrupted by private property and by governments that protect the rights of private property.
The War of Independence in 1776 was waged to protect our property rights against encroachments by the British crown. Ergo, in the liberal-progressive-socialist perspective, the United States, stands condemned of crimes against the presumed inevitable course of history toward one-world socialism.
Liberal-progressive-socialists, who dominate the Democrat/Socialist Party and the present administration in Washington, sincerely believe that the so-called laws of history are impelling us along an evolutionary course toward a one-world welfare state. Karl Marx called it scientific socialism. Pursuing that goal, liberal-progressive-socialists ignore human nature and millennia of history. They confidently assume that the rest of the world will readily accede to their secular rationality, that support for the UN as our primary foreign policy channel will expedite the transformation. Foreign policy becomes a simple matter of making speeches, issuing Islamic-friendly press releases, and removing our military power that traditionally would have been used as a counter weight to protect our national interests.
The dulcet tones of Obama’s many speeches were expected to soften the murderous hearts of Islamic regimes in the Middle East. To demonstrate the sincerity of his one-world socialistic faith, Obama has presided over withdrawals of military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, coupled with massive reductions in our Defense Department budget. And he has adopted a lead-from-behind foreign policy, first displayed in the Libyan revolution, that gives the UN a veto over our foreign policy.
In effect, he subordinates our historical national interests to those of anti-American countries who dominate the UN.
However one views it, being nice is not a foreign policy. Foreign policy requires identifying short-term and long-term actual and potential threats to our national security and prosperity, for example forces that threaten our access to supplies of petroleum and access for our military and commercial craft to the world’s sea and air lanes. Iran’s threat to close the Persian Gulf is its foreign policy thrust to push us away from supporting Israel.
Having identified those threats, foreign policy planners must work with the president to focus upon the most effective ways to forestall threats or to counter them in the least costly and most effective ways. Such ways need not involve going to war, but in every case there must be sufficient military power to threaten, through diplomatic channels, immediate counter actions or to imply future counter actions. The aim is not to win wars, but to prevent them. However, when we are attacked by Islamic jihadists, direct military retaliation may be the surest, quickest, and least costly way to re-establish an international balance that protects our national interests. Clausewitz famously observed that war is, in effect, an extension of foreign policy, which means that it must be kept within bounds and employed as a last-ditch measure.
One of our most successful long-range foreign policy stances was that of containment of Soviet aggression during the cold war. Direct military conflict was avoided, but the United States, from 1945 until 1989, met every Soviet thrust with combinations of military deployment and economic and diplomatic support for nations in the path of Soviet moves. We did engage in the Korean War to forestall socialist engulfment of South Korea, a result that would have allowed China to threaten Japan’s economy and drive a diplomatic wedge between Japan and the United States.
During that long period of foreign policy containment, State Department and Department of Defense strategists worked unceasingly to anticipate threats that might develop many moves ahead in the chess match of international politics. They held no illusions about the malevolence of Soviet and Chinese rulers, but worked to impose military and economic impediments that would have made costs to the aggressors greater than the potential gains.
Such has been the way rulers have viewed foreign policy throughout history. It’s a long way from playing Mr. Nice Guy and bowing submissively to Islamic dictators, hoping that they won’t stab us when we turn our backs.