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Friday, November 11, 2016

Towards a Pro-America, Pro-West Foreign Policy

For years, I have written in this humble blog that Obama and his team have created an unprecedented foreign policy disaster. The disaster bequeathed to President Trump is even greater than that left to President Reagan by Carter. The Carter mess, except for Iran, was relatively easy to correct, and Reagan did so with gusto and efficiency--bye, bye USSR. The Obama mess (see here and here, for example) is much more profound and dangerous, but it, too, can be fixed. I will provide a few steps that we need to take, in my view, to begin to fix our broken foreign policy.

The first step has already been taken: we have elected a President who, it certainly appears, wants America to "win." That seems almost needless to say but given that we currently have a President who openly stated he can't be bothered by concerns over whether or not America is winning, and a Secretary of State who infamously declared that it made no "difference" what had generated the Benghazi massacre, well, one can see that even a baby step in the right direction, is a step in the right direction--and to be welcomed.

A key component of power is leadership, a leadership committed to "winning" and a leader who has his people's back. We haven't had that for some time. It seems that Trump will be different; I can't imagine a President Trump abandoning his people to the jihadi mob in Benghazi, for example. Leadership can and does prove a power multiplier. We see that with Putin who heads up a nation much, much weaker than the USA, but who has played his hand masterfully, and greatly enhanced Russia's role in the world. We don't have to like Putin to acknowledge this.

Besides leadership, the primary requirement for successful diplomacy is wedding diplomacy to power. The two go together. We see, for example, Secretary Kerry's increasingly futile "efforts" in Syria which are hampered both by a lack of vision of an end game, and, of course, by an incompetent almost non-existent use of American power--I see Kerry is now beclowning himself in Antarctica. We have had an administration which has refused to recognize that successful American diplomacy requires a powerful military component and a leadership willing to pull the trigger. Yes, pull the trigger. We need right away to start a vigorous rebuilding of our military capabilities, and get the military away from distractions such as LGBT restrooms and lowering standards to get women into the Rangers.

Our military and diplomacy institutions must work closely with our allies, who must be encouraged to build up their own forces--Britain, in particular, needs to restore its once-formibable military clout. I would argue for a reinvigoration of the Anglosphere alliance, with Israel as an honorary member. We all confront similar threats to the existence of our nations, and will have to work together in confronting a nuclear armed Iran (Thanks Obama!) and the ever-present threat of jihadi terror. I see no reason for our current tense relations with Russia. We do not need to like or approve of Russia's government, but we should recognize that Russia could and would prove a formidable ally in confronting the jihadis, and in a flip of Nixon's China policy, in helping restrain growing Chinese big power aspirations. We should have no illusions about Russia but we should not be deluded about them, either. Russia is not a threat and offers an opportunity.

All power--sorry Mao--does not "grow out of the barrel of a gun." There are other key aspects to restoring American and Western power. One, of course, is energy independence. Despite absurd government policies, we have not been this close to having energy independence in many generations. That independence is a matter of economic prosperity and national security. We must develop our domestic energy resources, gas, oil, coal, nuclear, so that we cannot be blackmailed by tin-horn dictators or others wishing us harm. The US, Canada, UK, and Australia can achieve energy independence. We have to put in the casket all those idiotic "global climate warming cooling changing" so-called "theories" and recognize them for the dangerous and expensive hoaxes that they are. The polar bears are doing fine, thank you, better than our coal miners, in fact.

Energy independence will give us tremendous freedom of action on the world scene. OPEC is in collapse, and we should make sure that it continues so. It will also contribute to another key component of power, a prosperous and vigorous economy. Part of restoring our status in the world comes from having a growing economy, one that actually invents, designs and makes things. What a shock! Making things is important. I know the libertarians will disagree, but there are non-macro-economic factors to consider when choosing an economic policy. In theory, yes, free trade, natural allocation of resources, all that stuff is fine. In the real world, all that must be tempered by other considerations. For example, it might make more purely economic sense for the US and the West to buy our weaponry from China . . .  I think you can see the problem with going down that avenue. Part of restoring our power involves freeing as much as possible of the economy from regulation and taxation. The entrepreneurial spirit must flourish. Some restraints, however, will be needed to protect the nation. That's the way it is in the real world.

A sane immigration policy is also a requirement for re-establishing our power and protecting our economy. We must decide how much, if any, immigration we need (see here and here, for example, for previous discussions.) We need to enforce our existing immigration laws, and, yes, deport those we catch who are here illegally. The law must be respected. We should defend our southern border against the invasion to which it is now subjected. This is not racist or xenophobic. This is a matter of preserving our prosperity, sovereignty, laws, and, yes, culture--nothing wrong with that. We have the right, as do all nations, to decide who can and cannot come live in the country. There is no Constitutional or internationally recognized right to immigrate to the United States, or Britain, or Canada, or Australia, or anywhere else. I hope, in fact, that all those progressives "threatening" to move to Canada and Australia discover that Canada and Australia might not want them . . . and have no obligation to take them, even if it would make America a better place . . .

We cannot abuse our power. While we must never take orders from the UN or other international fora, we must recognize limits to what we can and should do in the world. We will have to deal with regimes we find unseemly and even odious. That's the way of the world. Most of the world will never become a Jeffersonian democracy, and we cannot expend our blood and treasure chasing that dream. Foreign policy cannot be a projection of domestic issues. There are vile totalitarian ideologies out there, one masquerading as a religion, which seek to subjugate and conquer us. Those can be resisted without engaging in silly nation-building exercises. Our military power must be overwhelming, but used only as a last resort--but when that resort is reached, it should be used overwhelmingly.

As Bastiat reminds us, there are always "unintended consequences." Whenever we undertake an action, we set in motion forces that we do not initially see or understand, and that could have serious consequences in the future. Rumsfeld said it best, "the unknown unknowns." While we need to try to foresee those consequences as best we can in our limited human way, we cannot let the fact that we will not usually succeed paralyze us. At times we have to deal with the immediate threat and worry about the future later. Defeating Nazi Germany and Shintoist Japan, for example, took precedence over worrying about creating power vacuums in Europe and Asia. Jihadis are a bigger threat than climate "change." One real enemy at a time.

Thanks to Donald Trump and the voters, we have a chance to step back from the edge of the cliff. Let's not waste it.

44 comments:

  1. Great post and I can't think of anything I'd add to this.

    Have you seen this article: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/10/how-democrats-killed-their-populist-soul/504710/

    I passed it along to my Bernie friend today. There's something to be said for getting big corporations reined back in.

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  3. A reasonable target would be to try to arrange a Concert of the Powers of the sort that the European powers created in the 19th century. It worked tolerably well for a century.

    It's certainly worth a try: provoking Moscow to war seems mad to me; taking the UN seriously is some sort of mental ill health.

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  4. Is there any chance you might be going back to the State Department as a political appointee?

    There is, however, a big issue that has me worried. I strongly suspect that one of our issues in Syria is that Turkey's Erdogan thought he could rope us and the rest of NATO into his neo-Ottomanist/Islamicist plans for Syria. Would some sort of making Turkey understand that we aren't falling for it damage the integrity of NATO?

    It seems that Pres. Trump (while I wasn't a big fan, it sure sounds better than Mme. Pres. Clinton) is concerned about Islamic terrorism and like to show the movement "who's boss". But could not that attitude lead us into another misadventure?

    Just a thought.

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    Replies
    1. I think you left out the word 'further' at the head of your phrase 'damage the integrity of NATO'. That noble organization is well into its third decade of being a solution in search of a problem...

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  5. So, what are your thoughts re Bolton as Sec of State?

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    1. Greetings from Kathmandu (Czech 1968-refug./Danish refugee 2015) Kepha beat me to it: If Bolton becomes SecState - wouldn't you try to be UnderSec for our patch of woods, the Subcontinent? Needs someone like you to read the Riot Act to the deceiving Pakis!!! I say, as I said since 1968: like the long-gone "GDR", Pakistan is a country without past, miserable present and certainly no future! What a folly to divide the great Subcontinent, what a fraud, nauh: DISASTER! - Ghandi-ji proved to "his" people. Namasté Sir!

      Delete
    2. And what are your thoughts re Bannon as Sr. Counselor?

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  6. Why is logic so eschewed by the left?

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  7. Dip, while I also very much like the idea of working for Bolton here at State, I may float your name for the job. Would you consider coming out of retirement for at least senior policy advisor position? Speaking as someone still mired in the Department, and too close to retirement myself to leave, Bolton would certainly make my final years as an FSO so much more enjoyable. I can already hear the gnashing of teeth and the lamentations under a Secretary Bolton or Amselem, and it is such a lovely sound.

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    Replies
    1. I would love to see Diplomad back at State. I would miss your blog but having you there would be worth it.

      Delete
    2. Please, Please, go back.

      Barry

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    3. Like your idea, IndependentDem. I myself had a short, undistinguished JO career.

      Delete
    4. I do hope Diplomad gets a role back at State, or at the White House. There is a pool of good Reagan-era State Department people I think who are not that old yet. Some retired, some left early because they couldn't take it anymore.

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    5. Lewis.

      If you ever get the chance. Grab that bull by the horns. Hell, Take your kid too:)

      Delete
    6. I believe that trump was soliciting for people.

      https://apply.ptt.gov/email/

      I am sure your son has a better link.
      Now get your butt in motion! :)

      Delete
  8. Pistol-packing, hot-rod riding, Mr Amselem for Sec State. The thought gives me great pleasure, almost sexual in nature. Imagine the wet pulpy sounds of heads popping at state. Sorry to get weird gentlemen... But DAMN

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    Replies
    1. Sound like a Tom Kratman book review....

      Ahummm....

      ""Tom Kratman's A Desert Called Peace is practically the platonic ideal of epic Jacksonian war-porn. The printing process involves soaking the books in testosterone. It is so beautifully, terribly and gloriously Jacksonian, in fact, that merely reading the book carries the risk of pregnancy for unprotected women and metrosexuals."

      ---- Albert Norman, connoisseur of fine literature

      "But Kratman knows his intended audience, and is only too happy to assuage the bloodlust of the red state rabble by letting our valiant SS paladins bust some hippie heads. "

      ---- Thomas M. Wagner, African Famine Expert

      Delete
    2. "merely reading the book carries the risk of pregnancy for unprotected women and metrosexuals."

      And now I have soda all over my computer screen. I am so stealing that line.

      Delete
  9. Yeah. The hoax in global warming is the activists and their scientists who have been roped into removing couching statements and pretending we know far far more about global climate than we really do.

    -reader #1482

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  10. We need a moratorium on immigration until we can assimilate those who are already here. At the least they should speak English, be self supporting and free from diseases. Once that goal is 100% accomplished I think it should go to a national vote to even have any immigration. IMHO we do not need immigration. We are a large country with a large population and many problems that will be exacerbated with a larger population.

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    Replies
    1. What about our housing pyramid? errr.. I mean market?
      Fertility in America has been faring very poorly.

      - reader #1482

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  11. Obama's parting shot... despicable...

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-resettle-australia-refugees-languishing-on-pacific-islands/

    - reader #1482

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  12. OT. I just switched on the TV and saw David Brooks' face on the NBC Sunday morning show. What a travesty, on this first Sunday after the Trump election. The corruption, globalism, and sheer stupidity of the MSM is a crisis. How can we get a real alternative onto FREE television, not just cable? Around 30 percent of the population does not have cable.

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    Replies
    1. Just saw that Michael Goodwin in the NYPost has a great article on this topic. http://nypost.com/2016/11/13/donald-trumps-win-means-the-biased-media-needs-to-change/

      Delete
    2. I was watching an old episode of "Firing Line" last night.
      Dammit! Where are programs like that now?
      Show's like "Connections"?
      Too much pap and no thought today. (grumble grumble)
      leaperman

      Delete
  13. Dip, on another topic, your thoughts on CA's new gun law?

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    1. I'm not Lewis, but I DO live in the state of perpetual Kalifornication.
      They are not just going after legal owners, but the means to re-use ammo. They want to regulate ammo itself.
      F******ers.
      Just like the new bag law. Bring your own bags or pay a (fine) which the store doesn't see a dime of, but the state does.
      They hide behind the obviously fake shield of goodness, whilst obviously just grubbing on the steps of the temple.
      leaperman
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkhX5W7JoWI

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  14. A lot of people gave Rumsfeld grief over "unknown unknowns", but he was succinct and smart when giving that brief.

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    1. I wasn't one. Knew rumsfeld when I was in the navy. A little too "beurocratic) at the time, but he did have heart issues. I'm surprised how well he recovered. Very intelligent man, who seemed(s) to have the Nation's best interests.
      leaperman

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    2. The terms "known unknown" and "unknown unknown" are widely used in the DoD community, in particular in the area of risk assessment and risk management. They are very valid concepts when trying to look into the future to see potential problems. The fuss the left made over Rumsfeld's use of the terms is just another example (as if we needed one) of their lack of intellectual rigor.

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  15. Having true energy independence (fracking, pebble bed reactors and new pipelines, distillation plantes, etc; would allow us to do one thing I dearly wish to do.
    Hold up my middle finger to Saudi Arabia and say, "Fuck you!"
    We would have to make sure Israel is well armed whilst doing it. Maybe Jordan also.
    What really pisses me off is how we let Turkey turn back into a sectarian cesspit.
    leaperman

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  16. I would love it to be able to receive updates of new blog posts via email notifications or on Facebook. Can you please arrange that?

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  17. I am delighted to hear that you, Diplomad, are willing to go back to State. And it would be wonderful if you were offered a suitable position. Of course you'd have to give up blogging, and I would miss your insights and ascerbity, but such is life. Good luck!

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  18. It is so refreshing to hear anyone past or present at State to refer to the Defense/Military side as a component of Diplomacy. Just as too many in Defense just don't trust State these days.
    That is another Legacy of Obama/Biden with Secs Clinton/Kerry/and Hagel/Carter. The 2 most important Departments in the Administration left polarized and looking at each other as a bigger threat than the people who actually want to kill us all.
    The next SecState and SecDef will have a huge job of repairing this rift.

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  19. If the US is determined to start drone warfare against the enemies of Western Civilisation, I suggest it start with Brussels.

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    1. brilliant.. I'm going to steal that. :)

      - reader #1482

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    2. Watch these two. Every person should watch 'em.
      Even a child can understand 'em.

      http://www.wimp.com/the-american-form-of-government/

      and the flipside:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rStL7niR7gs

      leaperman

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  20. "Kerry is now beclowning himself in Antarctica."

    Wonderful. Now even the penguins will be turning against us.

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  21. Huffpo and other hyperventilators are all agag at the prospect of none other than John Bolton being Trump's sec state pick!
    I really think they're idiots, but in this case I hope they're right.

    - reader #1482

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    1. Now if they could find some young Robert Bork's to put on the supreme court.
      Ahhhh...that would be heaven.

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  22. Power? The US grows about 6 percent of the world rice. If just 2 percent of that rice is removed from international markets, nations cannot feed their people. Trump can fix the price of Oil to bushels of grain with no movement in values. The US could create tax law that makes growing certain crops unlikely in the USA for export.

    Just as OPEC used oil to strangle the West, Food is a weapon that may be leveraged against OPEC, or others….

    Imagine an Anglo Nation Food Treaty that coordinated pegged food metrics to other products, or denied the actual trade to nations or warring states.

    Russian wheat in short supply like 1972 was one key to ending the Veit Nam war but it ultimately cost the US consumer. That trade deal fed the Soviet Union when crops failed.

    So, if the UN wants to mess the food exporting nations it only takes the threat of blocking all trade to bring them back the TABLE.

    (I wrote a detailed suggestion to State in 2008 which was responded to and shot down on the grounds that we could as a nation could never embargo food from another nation).

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