Decline Of Diplomacy

This post is for all those naysayers that have nothing but crap to say about diplomacy.

In the 70’s I worked for the US State Department and I left there in 1980 when I saw the writing on the wall…diplomacy meant nothing it was all about the proxy wars we could finance and eventually fight.

Since 1970 I had been an antiwar person and thought that the state department would be at the forefront of all diplomatic endeavors….boy was I wrong!

Since 1980 diplomacy has been in decline….not accurate….it has been in free fall……

It takes enormous courage to protest a war, but when is it ever relevant to do so? There is a crisis in American democracy, yet there is no appetite to protest the decline of diplomacy. Many people believe Russia can’t be reasoned with and any chance for a negotiation is only a dream. Nobody should make a deal with the devil, they say. Americans have been led to believe that the heartbreaking war in Ukraine is beyond diplomacy.

And if there is no more time for talking, where then are we headed? Perhaps our distaste for dissent will weaken America, which was founded on the strength and value of American opinions. Differences of opinion are essential for a functioning democracy, this is the backbone of the first amendment. America’s diversity depends on its multitude of voices, which have never been more important. Dialogue is the practice of democracy.

World history continuously tells the story of peace and power, as progress is gained and lost throughout time. Bertrand Russell was once asked what message he would give to future generations. He suggested the necessity of tolerance, humans must learn to live together.

Intolerance has existed not just in recent history, but as a driving force behind all wars. In the face of global insecurity, only the strengthening of democracy through reason and discussion, has the potential to prevent tyranny. For freedom and equality to exist, disparate voices must be heard. Why then has criticism of the war been so readily dismissed as anti-American?

The Decline of Diplomacy

I still believe in diplomacy but as I read blogs and comments I think I am in a minority….Americans seem hell bent on world domination and interventionism…..it is veiled greed on the part of corporations that actually run this country…..

Be real!

If you do not have suitcases full of cash then your voice is little more than a fart in the wind.

At what point do Americans tire of war and the infliction of pain on the world?

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

How Did It Come To This?

I am talking about the US/NATO-Russia confrontation…..Russian troops on the Ukraine border. US/NATO facing off on the border was well…..US Navy gunships crowd into the Black Sea and the hard feelings just keep escalting.

I know Russia is NOT our friend…..after the fall of the Soviet Union the animosities lessened and then something happened for those hard feelings to return….

There are four ‘provocations’ that have brought the world to this point….

Western provocation number 1: NATO’s first eastward expansion

In her memoir “Madame Secretary,” former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and secretary of state Madeleine Albright concedes that Clinton administration officials decided already in 1993 to endorse the wishes of Central and East European countries to join NATO. The Alliance proceeded to add Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary in 1998. Albright admitted that Russian President Boris Yeltsin and his associates were extremely unhappy with that development. The Russian reaction was understandable, since the expansion violated informal promises that President George H. W. Bush’s administration had given Moscow when Mikhail Gorbachev had agreed not only to accept a unified Germany but a united Germany in NATO.  The implicit quid pro quo was that NATO would not move beyond the eastern border of a united Germany.  

Four Western provocations that led to U.S.-Russia crisis today

Diplomacy is dead for the idiots on both sides have their fingers on the triggers of disaster….IMO it is time to bring this war machine known as NATO to an end…..

The possibility of further eastward NATO expansion and the reality of NATO military involvement in Ukraine are major causes of the current Ukraine crisis, but there is a stubborn refusal in the West to acknowledge the alliance’s role in creating the standoff with Russia. Not only are Western governments unwilling to take Russian security concerns seriously, but many in the West also seem determined to ratchet up tensions with Moscow no matter the consequences for European security. The Biden Administration has agreed to discuss relevant issues with the Russian government, but US and allied officials have already ruled out several of the most important concessions as impossible. If Western governments don’t change course soon, they will bear a large part of the responsibility for any escalation that follows.

Neutrality for Ukraine remains the obvious way out of the immediate crisis and closing the door on NATO expansion is in the best interests of all concerned, but this is a path that Western governments have already rejected out of hand. It is a measure of how disconnected US and NATO policies have become from real security interests that Western governments are risking peace in Europe in the name of destabilizing alliance expansion. Instead of asking whether the alliance needs new members, the US and its allies are exposing Ukraine to great danger to vindicate their “right” to join.

Closing the Door on NATO Expansion Is Imperative

We need a peaceful world and without some sort of diplomacy, a lost form of statecraft, this will NEVER be an issue that will end.

Turn The Page!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Why Not Diplomacy?

Yes more history!

Live and learn

This is for all those readers that are interested in the American Civil War.

Most people know the major players and the major engagements…..but what about before the first shots were fired in South Carolina?

Since I am a student of conflict and ways to try and avoid a disastrous war…..people have asked me why there was no diplomacy to try and avoid the deadly conflict…

Well there was diplomacy but it is just not interesting enough for the history books….plus it is not as romantic as the idea of a ‘noble cause’…..

Here is the look at diplomatic attempts during the war…..

February 2, 1865, President Abraham Lincoln and his Irish valet sneaked out of Washington City and took a steamboat down to the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. The next day he met with three representatives of the Confederacy to discuss ending the Civil War. The Hampton Roads Peace Conference, as it’s known, is notable not for what was accomplished – nothing was – but for how, when, and why it took place at all.

In February, 1865, the Confederacy was clearly on the brink of collapse. The rebel armies were dogged but much diminished. General William Tecumseh Sherman had sacked Atlanta and was leaving a trail of devastation through Georgia. Ulysses S. Grant had Robert E. Lee pinned down at Petersburg, a rail center that was Richmond’s last defense. A Union naval blockade had cut off all supplies. Everyone knew the end was a few months away at best.

With the war all but won, why would Lincoln go out of his way, literally, to parley with the enemy? The simplest answer is that he was looking already to the postwar future, and how best to deal with the insurgents. Many hardliners in his Republican Party and his Cabinet thought they knew the answer: utterly crush the rebels militarily, hang their leaders, free all their slaves, confiscate their other property, and subjugate the South as a conquered, occupied enemy.

Lincoln believed that was no way to heal the nation. With the weight of more than half a million war dead on his soul, he “wanted to end the war quickly, peacefully if possible, not only to save lives, money, and property but also to build a stronger foundation for reconstruction,” writes James B. Conroy, author of a detailed book about the conference, Our One Common Country. “If the Confederacy could be persuaded to return to the Union voluntarily, enticed by reasonable concessions, the stage would be set for a more amicable, productive future than a military conquest could produce.”

https://www.wilsonquarterly.com/quarterly/conflict-resolution/the-road-not-taken/

Diplomacy is never a wasted energy….but did little during the American Civil War….

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Diplomacy Is A Must!

Since 1904 a major tool of the US foreign policy has been what has become to be known as ‘gunboat diplomacy’…..

Good old TR gave us this idea……

Gunboat diplomacy is an aggressive foreign policy applied with the use of highly-visible displays of military—usually naval—power to imply a threat of warfare as a means of forcing cooperation. The term is typically equated with the “Big Stick” ideology of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and the globetrotting voyage of his “Great White Fleet” in 1909.

The concept of gunboat diplomacy emerged during the late nineteenth-century period of imperialism, when the Western powers—the United States and Europe—competed to establish colonial trading empires in Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. Whenever conventional diplomacy failed, fleets of the larger nations’ warships would suddenly appear maneuvering off the coasts of the smaller, uncooperative countries. In many cases, the veiled threat of these “peaceful” shows of military force was enough to bring about capitulation without bloodshed.

The fleet of “Black Ships” commanded by U.S. Commodore Matthew Perry is a classic example of this early period of gunboat diplomacy. In July 1853, Perry sailed his fleet of four solid black warships into Japan’s Tokyo Bay. Without a navy of its own, Japan quickly agreed to open its ports to trade with the West for the first time in over 200 years.

https://www.thoughtco.com/gunboat-diplomacy-4774988

The US has been in one war after another….both big and little…..since those days.

War sucks needed funds out of the treasury and for what?

What we need now is diplomacy not war.

Diplomacy?

Diplomacy has probably existed for as long as civilisation has. The easiest way to understand it is to start by seeing it as a system of structured communication between two or more parties. Records of regular contact via envoys travelling between neighbouring civilisations date back at least 2500 years. They lacked many of the characteristics and commonalities of modern diplomacy such as embassies, international law and professional diplomatic services. Yet, it should be underlined that political communities, however they may have been organised, have usually found ways to communicate during peacetime, and have established a wide range of practices for doing so. The benefits are clear when you consider that diplomacy can promote exchanges that enhance trade, culture, wealth and knowledge.

For those looking for a quick definition, diplomacy can be defined as a process between actors (diplomats, usually representing a state) who exist within a system (international relations) and engage in private and public dialogue (diplomacy) to pursue their objectives in a peaceful manner.

Diplomacy is not foreign policy and must be distinguished from it. It may be helpful to perceive diplomacy as part of foreign policy. When a nation-state makes foreign policy it does so for its own national interests. And, these interests are shaped by a wide range of factors. In basic terms, a state’s foreign policy has two key ingredients; its actions and its strategies for achieving its goals. The interaction one state has with another is considered the act of its foreign policy. This act typically takes place via interactions between government personnel through diplomacy. To interact without diplomacy would typically limit a state’s foreign policy actions to conflict (usually war, but also via economic sanctions) or espionage. In that sense, diplomacy is an essential tool required to operate successfully in today’s international system.

“Clearly what is needed is diplomacy and negotiations on contested matters,” linguist and historian Noam Chomsky tells Truthout, “and real cooperation on such crucial issues as global warming, arms control, future pandemics — all very severe crises that know no borders. Whether Biden’s hawkish foreign policy team will have the wisdom to move in these directions is, for now, at best unclear — at worst, frightening. Absent significant popular pressures, prospects do not look good.”

I have been watching Biden’s turn in foreign policy and so far I have seen NOTHING that would lead to a more peaceful existence for the people of this planet.

The time is now….but DC turns its back on the possibility for a peaceful world…..and the reason is cash.

It is more about filling re-election coffers with money more than the benefits to humanity.

All I am saying is give peace a chance (thanx to John Lennon)….

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

Peace Through Bribery?

I am a cheer leader for diplomacy…I feel that negotiations is far superior than the use of force….but Trump’s idea of diplomacy is that of bribery…..especially when it comes to the state of Israel.

For 60+ years no Arab nation has been on good terms with Israel….and for damn near 100 years the Israelis have been abusing the Palestinians whose land they stole to set up some kingdom in the Middle East.

Enter Trump and his brand of silly diplomacy…..the Saudis get nuke technology if they recognize and formalize relations with Israel….then the UAE gets advanced weaponry to do the same….now Morocco has decided to deal with Israel but only after the Trump admin sends them advanced drones.

Not only do the Moroccans get advanced weaponry but the US will recognize their claim to the Western Sahara….

Reuters cited three anonymous US officials who did not indicate whether the sale was related to the normalization agreement or not. But the UAE is preparing to purchase a $23 billion weapons package as its reward for opening ties with Israel, so advanced military equipment is clearly on the table for Arab countries who take the step to normalize.

The sources said the sale to Morocco would consist of four MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones made by General Atomics with a range of 6,000 nautical miles that can significantly boost Rabat’s surveillance capabilities. While the SeaGuardians can carry a payload, it’s not clear if they will be sold armed.

One of the sources said Congress could be notified of the potential sale as early as Friday. Congress could potentially block the deal, but the source said that is not expected. On Thursday, the Senate failed to pass resolutions that aimed to stop the UAE weapons sales.

As a reward for agreeing to normalize with Israel, the US recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara. Morocco annexed the territory after the Spanish withdrew from the region in 1975. Rabat then fought a war with the Polisario Front, a group that represents the indigenous Sahrawi people, to control the territory until a ceasefire was reached in 1991.

(antiwar.com)

The Polisario Front declared the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR) in 1976, a de facto state in Western Sahara. The SADR is a member of the African Union and maintains diplomatic relations with about 40 UN member states. Currently, the SADR controls about 20 percent of Western Sahara, and Morocco controls the rest. The UN recognizes neither the SADR nor Moroccan sovereignty over the region.

In a deal brokered by United States President Donald Trump’s outgoing administration, Morocco became the latest Arab country to normalise ties with Israel.

As part of the agreement announced on Thursday, Trump agreed to recognise Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed territory of Western Sahara, where there has been a decades-old dispute with Morocco pitted against the Polisario Front.

The Algeria-backed breakaway movement Polisario Front seeks to establish an independent state in the region.

Western Sahara has been on the United Nations list of non-self-governing territories, a stance also taken by the African Union, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), as well as the European Union.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/12/11/western-sahara-conflict-in-500-words

Once again the US NO LONGER stands for democracy and the right of self-determination.

I have given my thoughts many times on the situation in Western Sahara…..for further information please read….

https://lobotero.com/2011/06/15/where-is-western-sahara/

https://lobotero.com/2015/11/10/western-sahara-and-the-sahrawi/

https://lobotero.com/2018/04/30/western-sahara-update/

This is just the opposite of what diplomacy is meant to accomplish…..these decisions will increase the possibility of more and more violence.

Hopefully a new admin will turn back the stupidity of the Trump days…..I doubt it but I can hope.

https://www.britannica.com/place/Western-Sahara

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Write, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

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?

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

Middle East Will Need Attention

After November no matter who wins the election the Middle East will need more attention…..because it is going to crap as I type…..

Just look at the special deal the Kushner worked out for the Middle East….it is s couple months old and already going to crap….

n the heels of the historic normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, news leaked of a secret clause engineered by President Donald Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner to sell billions of dollars worth of advanced U.S. weaponry, including drones and F-35 stealth fighter jets, to the United Arab Emirates. Israel has longed opposed sales of strategic weapons systems to other countries in the Middle East.

State Department officials and aides from relevant congressional committees told CNN they had not been notified of such a deal, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the rumored sale as “fake news.

Kushner’s Transactional Middle East Strategy is Already Showing Strain

It is time to change the paradigm in the Middle East……US needs to halt any further attempts to dominate the region…..

Conventional wisdom holds that the presence of United States forces in the Middle East makes America and the region more secure. To the contrary, the U.S. military’s large footprint in the region, combined with voluminous U.S. arms sales and support for repressive regimes, drives instability and exacerbates grievances and conditions that threaten the United States. This presence has made Americans less safe and undermined U.S. standing abroad; it also leaves America less prepared to address more dangerous nonmilitary challenges such as pandemics and climate change, as the Covid–19 crisis makes clear.

Given the manifest failure of the current strategy, growing calls for a demilitarized approach to the region should come as no surprise. However, translating concepts of military restraint into practical policy requires sustained effort. This paper is intended to move the debate forward by operationalizing a holistic approach to the region based on a narrow definition of vital U.S. interests, in accordance with a foreign policy centered on military restraint and responsible statecraft.

U.S. policy toward the Middle East should be guided by two core interests: Protect the United States from attack; and facilitate the free flow of global commerce.

A New U.S. Paradigm for the Middle East: Ending America’s Misguided Policy of Domination

Trump is threatening to bring our troops in Iraq home….or well at least move them out…..earlier this month (August)…..

The US-led coalition in Iraq has withdrawn the last of its forces from Camp Taji, a base near Iraq’s capital Baghdad that has been the target of recent rocket attacks. The coalition handed control of the base to Iraqi security forces, along with $347 million in military equipment.

The anti-ISIS coalition dubbed Operation Inherent Resolve is hailing the move as a success and says it is part of a “long-range” plan with the Iraqi government.

“Camp Taji has historically held up to 2,000 Coalition members, with the majority departing over the summer of 2020,” the coalition said in a statement released on Sunday. The statement said the force was made up of a Spanish helicopter battalion and “military trainers” from Australia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Turkey, the UK, the US, and NATO.

It is not clear if the forces withdrawing from Camp Taji are leaving Iraq entirely, or if they are just being redeployed in the country. Currently, there are about 5,000 US troops in Iraq and an additional 2,500 from other countries that are part of the coalition.

(antiwar.com)

What Is Up With Middle East Policy?

I was trained in the diplomacy and conflict management in college and I then went to work in the Middle East as an analyst….after living in the region for 6 years I have learned that there is always more to the policies than what we see, read or hear…..

First where are the troops stationed in the Middle East?

The US has between 60,000 and 70,000 troops in the Middle East, according to the US Central Command, and has announced plans to deploy thousands of additional troops to the region amid the heightened tensions.

This map shows where US soldiers are deployed in the Middle East and Afghanistan, as well as some of the major bases they are stationed at in the region.

https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/interactive/2020/01/military-presence-middle-east-afghanistan-200113120612249.html

I understood Bush’s policies and that of Obama as well….neither was a policy that I thought would succeed….then Trump was elected and the policy became obfuscated and in coherent…..

Donald Trump’s decision to kill Qassim Suleimani, the most influential figure in Iran other than the Ayatollah Khamenei, will increase the terrorist threat to the United States and the global community. Suleimani’s death has already provoked widespread outrage in Iraq and Iran among the Shiia populations. Prior to the killing, Iraqi leaders were campaigning against Iran’s military presence in their country. Now, the Iraqi Parliament has called for the removal of the U.S. military presence. The decision has created more tactical and terrorist opportunities for the Islamic State as the United States has decided to cease operations against the Islamic State.

Trump’s decision has undermined fundamental U.S. decisions in every way, particularly the need to forestall terrorist threats; protect friends and allies; and prevent Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The Trump administration has enhanced Russian President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to improve relations with Iraq and Iran; caused controversy and even dissent within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization; and further exposed the instability and ignorance of Trump’s national security team. Since the decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear accord, the European co-signers of that agreement along with Russia and China, have questioned the wisdom of Washington’s international actions.

The Incoherence of U.S. Policy in the Middle East

I see no continuity in our Middle East policy…..chaos and knee jerk decisions seem to be the rule of the day.

I fear that this approach will just make the region more dangerous and solve no problems.

Where did it all begin?

Well with World War One and the Sykes-Picot…..but beyond that where did the whirlwind we have today get its fuel?

In the long history of imperial folly and recklessness, nothing compares to U.S. policy in the Persian Gulf. Yes, the British shouldn’t have invaded Afghanistan in 1838, and, yes, JFK shouldn’t have backed the overthrow of South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem in November 1963. If they had thought things through more carefully, one wouldn’t have lost an entire army in the retreat from Kabul while the other wouldn’t have stumbled into a dozen-year-long quagmire that would leave the US military depleted and demoralized – not to mention killing more than a million or more Vietnamese.

But those were momentary miscalculations compared to the slow-motion disaster in the gulf. For nearly half a century, every US president – liberal, conservative, or whatever – has pumped up a regional arms race that has set the stage for ever more destructive wars. The death and destruction have been incalculable. Yet not once throughout the long sorry saga have Americans paused for even a moment to consider where it was all going.

Who Created the Persian Gulf Tinderbox?

Where will it all end?

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“lego ergo scribo”

The Ghost Of Henry Cabot Lodge

Who?

US foreign policy nerds know the name…..a GOP senator from Massachusetts….over 100 years ago……but that is not the topic here regardless the title.

This is actually about the days after WW1 when Wilson offered up his 14 points to include the League of Nations…..

Summary of the Fourteen Points

  1. No more secret agreements between countries. Diplomacy shall be open to the world.
  2. International seas shall be free to navigate during peace and war.
  3. There shall be free trade between the countries who accept the peace.
  4. There shall be a worldwide reduction in weapons and armies by all countries.
  5. Colonial claims over land and regions will be fair.
  6. Russia will be allowed to determine its own form of government. All German troops will leave Russian soil.
  7. German troops will evacuate Belgium and Belgium will be an independent country.
  8. France will regain all territory including the disputed land of Alsace-Lorraine.
  9. The borders of Italy will be established such that all Italians will be within the country of Italy.
  10. Austria-Hungary will be allowed to continue to be an independent country.
  11. The Central Powers will evacuate Serbia, Montenegro, and Romania leaving them as independent countries.
  12. The Turkish people of the Ottoman Empire will have their own country. Other nationalities under the Ottoman rule will also have security.
  13. Poland shall be an independent country.
  14. A League of Nations will be formed that protects the independence of all countries no matter how big or small.

This is where Lodge enters the picture…..Republican Congressman from MassachusettsHenry Cabot Lodge led a battle against the treaty. Lodge believed both the treaty and the League undercut U.S. autonomy in international matters.

The idea of a League of Nations that could head off any chances of another world war…..Congress did not ratify the treaty, and the United States refused to take part in the League of Nations.

All that background leads to the guts of the post…..

The world that Pres. Wilson envisioned is coming to a close…..

Liberal internationalists insist that American engagement abroad be on liberal or Wilsonian terms. But the Wilsonian internationalist vision, especially in its post–Cold War iteration, contains some very serious flaws that helped lead to Donald Trump’s election in the first place.

The first U.S. liberal internationalist wave developed during and immediately after World War !. Woodrow Wilson’s vision was that U.S. entry into war against the Kaiser’s Germany would usher in a new world order characterized by global democratic government, economic interdependence, mutual disarmament, and collective security. This last feature, in particular, was to be secured through a new League of Nations, in which every member state would promise to protect the independence of every other state by force if necessary.

https://nationalinterest.org/feature/end-wilsonian-century-78426

I guess I can be said to hold Wilsonian beliefs in international relations…..Americans have generally seen the principles and objectives proclaimed by President Woodrow Wilson during the First World War as having continued relevance for United States foreign policy. However, they have often differed over their application to specific situations, particularly because there is likely to be a tension between a drive to establish democratic values across the globe and commitment to a universal system of collective security. Rather than seeking a pure, abstract definition of ‘Wilsonianism’, it is more illuminating to examine its origins and evolution in relation to the development of American foreign policy over the years. Tracing this historical process reveals that Wilson committed himself to a postwar league of nations during the period of American neutrality, but it was only as the United States became a belligerent that the spread of democratic government became a policy objective, and then only in a partial and qualified way. A similar pattern has been discernible in subsequent decades. It has been during conflicts, or the run-up to them, that the more ideological and revisionist aspects of Wilsonian principles have come to the fore, whereas it has been in the aftermath of conflicts that there has been the greatest interest in the potentialities of a universal collective security organization. There has also been a broad shift of emphasis over time. As confidence in America’s power position has grown, the core of Wilson’s legacy has more often come to be seen as the promotion of democracy rather than the strengthening of international institutions. The persistence of both themes may be seen as reflecting basic and enduring elements of the policy-making context—on the one hand, the interests of the United States as a status quo power, and on the other, the demands of domestic American opinion.

I still firmly believe that world problems can be solved with diplomacy and mediation……wars should be the last resort not the first thought.

Be Smart!

Learn Stuff!

I Read, I Wrote, You know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”

No Room For Amateurs

I am a foreign policy wonk….I studied it in college………I worked for the country in the pursuit of foreign policy and I have been a writer on the subject for decades……so to say that I live and breath foreign policy/international relations/geopolitics would be an understatement….

I have been a fierce critic of our presidents actions for decades from Reagan to Bush to Clinton to Bush to Obama and now to Trump….but in all those years I have seen the track of our foreign policy, I did not always agree with their decisions but I could see their end game…..but this administration looks like a 3 Stooges episode……Lincoln had his Team of Rivals but Trump has a Team of Amateurs….especially when it comes to foreign policy….the clueless team is Mulvaney, Pompeo and Rudy…. we have a “Don” overseeing the actions……and dictate our policy.

The truth is I was surprised when Trump picked Tillerson as SecState…..

https://lobotero.com/2016/12/15/tea-for-the-tillerson/

Then he picked a even more clueless person to lead our diplomatic branch, Pompeo……https://lobotero.com/2018/03/14/my-opinion-us-state-secretarys-rex-tillersons-replacement-is-the-presidents-toady/

I have watched our foreign policy be reduced to a pale, very pale reflection of what it use to be….all thanx to Trump and his Team of Amateurs……

US foreign policy is increasingly hostage to a mind that is, as NPR’s Car Talk guys used to say, “unencumbered by the thought process.” That’s embarrassing, but it could also be lethal. If we’re not going to use nuclear weapons, Trump once argued, “then why are we making them?”

Set aside the delegation of Ukraine relations to liegeman Rudi Giuliani and campaign contributor Gordon Sondland, and ignore for a moment whatever caprice inspired last week’s abandonment of Syria’s Kurds. There’s already something amiss when, at any G-20 summit, the most powerful person in the world is also the most ignorant person in the room, an inversion of competence and power that you don’t tend to see in corporate boardrooms or in other organizations that wield significant public influence

There’s a reason society requires the credentialing of people who make highly consequential decisions — lawyers through bar exams, doctors through board certifications and state licensing procedures. It’s the same reason airlines don’t put untrained pilots in the cockpit and pray that they’re quick learners; pilots pass rigorous tests of competence long before they start moving passengers. And yet the most critical job on earth has no test for measuring what other professions call “job knowledge.”

Diplomacy for Dummies: Foreign Policy Is No Place for Amateurs

These same amateurs are helping the US to lose our war on tyranny…..

The dominance of the public debate by these two camps advocating a diminished international role for the U.S. is easily observed by our nemeses, who take great heart at the silence of some, departure from office of others, and tired repetitiveness of yet more of those who advocate a more muscular foreign policy. Absent the U.S., no great power stands in their way, and the regional allies which could have reinforced American power are left hunkering down in defensive postures.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/the-us-is-losing-the-war-against-tyranny

All this does not bode well for our foreign policy in the coming years and decades……the damage being done could possible be permanent….why?

The State Department’s civilian workforce shrank more than 6 percent overall during the initial eight months of the Trump administration, but that figure masks significantly higher departure rates in critical areas of the country’s diplomatic apparatus.

In December 2016, the department employed 2,580 people under the foreign affairs occupation series, according to data from the Office of Personnel Management. By September 2017, the most recent data available, that number fell to 2,273, a decrease of roughly 11.9 percent.

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/02/tillerson-trump-state-foreign-service/553034/

That expertise will be missed when we return to a ‘normal’ state department activity until then we are in the clutches of inmates ruling the asylum…..

I Read, I Wrote, You Know

“Lego Ergo Scribo”