25 March 2016

U.S. foreign policy in 25 words or less.

Stephen Cohen[1] sees Donald Trump as proposing a "less missionary and militarized American national-security policy."

Trump, is also giving the wise men heartburn by challenging the disastrous "bipartisan neocon/liberal principles and practices that have guided Washington policy-making since the 1990s . . . ."

Cohen sees those principles as being:

  • The United States is the "sole, indispensable superpower."
  • U.S. right to intervene anywhere it chooses.
  • Use of NATO as "its own United Nations and rule-maker.
The result of years of this arrogance: International instability (Libya, Ukraine, Syria), war, terrorism, nation building foolishness, refugee crises, and a new Cold War with Russia.

Cohen captures a lot of the madness of the U.S. involvement in the world. I'd say that it has involved an aimless attending to problems around the world that are not our own and a criminal indifference to immense problems at home. Emblematic of that is the presence of some 9,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan and not one troop on the southern border of the U.S.

That seems to be the story throughout the West – awesome military establishments and weaponry and the utter and complete unwillingness of political elites to use them to stop invaders arriving on rubber rafts and walking across borders carrying diaper bags.

The very first duty of any government is to provide security to its citizens and to establish an unchallengeable control of the nation's borders. Westerners see that their governments willfully neglect this sacred duty.

Charles Dickens in Bleak House created the immortal character of Mrs. Jellyby whose children were neglected in London while she labored to send healthy families to grow coffee and educate the natives of Borrioboola-Gha on the left bank of the Niger River in Africa. America has been her doppelganger – fretting about problems of distant peoples and neglecting the home front.

I don't get the impression that Donald Trump is himself given to the details of constitutional law or the various and numerous absurdities and pathologies in Islam, for example. He does, however, appear to have an innate sense of where the U.S. "business plan" is deficient and what parts of the business are losing money.

For my part, I'll take a teaspoon of sound instinct over 100 Warren Buffett trainloads of literati and savants who have driven us to cliff edge.

Notes
[1] "Stephen F. Cohen: Donald Trump Is Taking on the Disastrous US Foreign Policy Triumphalism. Trump’s challenge to 20-year bipartisan consensus may finally produce the missing public debate." By Stephen F. Cohen, John Batchelor Show, republished at Russia Insider, 3/25/16.

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