My Foreign Policy

I get grief sometimes when I say that I cannot vote for any of the major candidates…..usually they blame me for their candidate losing…..I wish I had that power.

I have stated many times that for me foreign policy is the most important issue for any election…..so let me explain my issues…..

I have written that I am antiwar and that I support the efforts of some to end the endless war and interventions for regime change….but I have seldom gone deeper…..I shall do so now so that anyone that is interested in where I stand and write from can to caught up to date…..

I think of myself as a “rationalist” in foreign policy……A theoretical qualification to the pessimism of realism and the idealism of liberal internationalism. Rationalists view states as comprising an international society, not merely an international system. States come to be a part of an international society by accepting that various principles and institutions govern the way in which they conduct their foreign relations. In doing so, it can be argued, states also display a commitment to the idea that it is inappropriate to promote the national interest without any regard for international law and morality.

I guess I could be called a “Restrainer” in foreign policy as well…..to put the policy in simple terms…..it would be easier to understand what restrainers don’t want. They don’t want endless wars, bloated military budgets, and security commitments that keep expanding, but are never seriously debated or approved by the public.

But for those that would like a deeper look into this form of foreign policy…..I leave it to “Responsible Statecraft”……

1. Restrainers Want Continued U.S. Economic and Diplomatic Engagement. Critics often claim that restrainers are isolationists, a bogus charge intended to marginalize their views and stifle debate before it starts. In fact, restrainers recognize that the United States benefits from trade, investment, tourism, and other mutually beneficial interactions with other countries, and they know that Washington must work with foreign powers to address a number of significant global problems. For these reasons, restrainers reject a return to “Fortress America” and want the United States to remain fully present in today’s world.

2. Restrainers Want a Broad and Honest Debate. In recent years, public debate on foreign policy and national security has been dominated by those who believe that American power—and especially military power—is the optimal solution to most foreign policy challenges. As Zack Beauchamp of Vox.com observes, “Washington’s foreign policy debate tends to be mostly conducted between the center and the right. The issue is typically how much force America should use rather than whether it should use it at all.” 

3. Restrainers Want Realistic Foreign Policy Goals. Instead of engaging in costly and futile efforts to remake the world in our image, restrainers want U.S. foreign policy to pursue more feasible objectives. The U.S. military must be strong enough to deter attacks on the U.S. homeland, a task that is relatively easy to accomplish. When necessary, the United States can also help other states uphold the balance of power and deter war in a few key strategic areas  outside the Western Hemisphere. America’s economic clout will also give Washington considerable influence over the institutions that manage trade, investment and other beneficial forms of international cooperation, and it should use that influence to ensure these institutions are working properly. But the United States has neither the need, the capacity, nor the wisdom to conduct massive social engineering projects (“nation-building”) in deeply divided and conflict prone societies, and it should cease trying.

4. Restrainers Want Credible Foreign Commitments. The United States keeps taking on new security obligations in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, but it rarely debates their wisdom or value. Americans are now formally committed to defending more countries around the world than at any time in U.S. history, even though some of these states are hard to defend, have little strategic importance for the United States, and sometimes act in ways that damage U.S. interests. Washington is also engaged in less visible military activities in dozens of other countries, some of them shrouded in secrecy. Yet anytime U.S. leaders contemplate trimming these obligations, alarmists warn that the slightest reduction in America’s global presence will undermine U.S. credibility, embolden rivals, and lead to catastrophe. Having allowed itself to become overextended, the United States ends up fighting endless wars in places with no strategic value in order to convince allies and adversaries that it will still fight in places of greater importance.

5. Restrainers Want Business-like Relations with All Countries and Special Relations with None. In his Farewell Address, George Washington famously warned against “passionate attachments” to foreign powers. His wise counsel still rings true today. No two states have identical interests, and no U.S. allies are so valuable or virtuous to deserve generous U.S. support no matter what they do. Restrainers believe the U.S. should support its allies when doing so makes the United States more secure or prosperous, and distance itself from those allies when they act in ways that are contrary to our interests and values.

6. Restrainers Want More Diplomacy and Less Coercion. Over the past two decades, Washington has repeatedly tried to compel weaker powers to do its bidding by issuing ultimatums, imposing sanctions, and in some cases, unleashing its superior military power. Yet even weak opponents have repeatedly refused to knuckle under to U.S. pressure, because they cared more about the interests at stake and Washington typically refused to compromise at all. Even when Washington was able to overthrow a weaker adversary, the result was a failed state, a costly occupation, or both.

7. Restrainers Want U.S. Allies to Bear a Fair Share of Defense Burdens. The United States currently spends roughly 4 percent of GDP on the Department of Defense, the intelligence community, and other national security missions, while allies like Germany or Japan spend a little more than 1 percent. U.S. leaders have complained about this disparity for decades, but their efforts have failed to convince these wealthy allies to do more.

8. Restrainers Want to Set a Good Example for Others. Restrainers are committed to classic liberal values—representative government, a market-based economy, the rule of law, and basic human rights—but they believe trying to impose these principles on others is likely to backfire.  Indeed, democracy is now in retreat around the world, and the United States is deeply polarized and increasingly dysfunctional. When The Economist Magazine’s annual “Democracy Index” downgrades the United States from the category of “full democracy” to “flawed democracy,” as it did in 2017, it’s a clear sign that something has gone badly awry.

None of this is harder than it appears……this type of foreign policy would go a long way at ending the crappy world that we, the US, helped to create.

There you have it……this is where I stand on foreign policy.

Do you know how hard it is to find a candidate that embraces these issues….for that matter some of these issues?

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