How academics and politicians sell America’s flawed Foreign Policy
There is indeed a connection between America’s domestic agenda and foreign policy. For the United States to be strong, it needs to be strong at home first.
Americans, especially in academia, have a very serious problem. They believe that the United States must be the dictator of global political and financial conditions and rules by which everyone else must play.
In an opinion article published on Foreign Policy, authors Ian Bremmer and Joe Kennedy III provided just another example of this reality. Their article titled “Time for a New U.S. Foreign Policy Narrative”, is a criticism of President Trump’s apparently flawed foreign policy as well as their blurred vision of what that foreign policy should be.
Next, I present to you parts of their article with the sole intention to illustrate their points of view and, consequently, mine as well.
At the start of their article, Bremmer and Kennedy state that Trump only offers Americans and the world a set of false choices. Here is their analysis:
“These are ultimately false choices. In today’s interconnected world, the distinction between global and domestic challenges is artificial. The United States turning its back on the world will do nothing to keep U.S. citizens—or the country—secure and prosperous. Trump’s “America first” approach to foreign affairs will lead instead to America alone, and allow others to write the rules that shape the future.”
The United States has not turned its back on the world. That assertion is a piece of false narrative first heard on the road to the 2016 presidential election. Trump’s America First approach, if carried out as he promised, will do exactly what the authors believe is best for the country and the world.
Today, the United States is weaker than 50 or 100 years ago, mostly due to its incessant foreign interventions. The country has been at war for almost the totality of its existence, and that has made it weaker, not stronger.
For America to be strong, it doesn’t need to continue being the policeman of the world, and I don’t say this for ideological reasons, as Ron Paul does. Participation in unreasonable, unjustified wars has cost America its peace and prosperity.
Non-interventionism is not something today’s liberals understand, because, in their analysis, the U.S. must continue to be the policeman of the world, it must invade and bomb countries whenever it feels it has to, without showing any respect for their sovereignty.
There is indeed a connection between America’s domestic agenda and foreign policy. For the United States to be strong, it needs to be strong at home first. That is how the country started, wasn’t it? The U.S. did not begin bombing nations first on its road to becoming what it is today, did it?
America became strong after creating a powerful manufacturing base, which later led to the development of its war assembly line. The U.S. became stronger as a country after people had jobs and the economy boomed. This system was not perfect, of course.
After a while, the United States went from being a production house to being a grumpy adult with an unlimited credit line thanks to the petrodollar.
Innovation and production, two of the pillars of American strength, were abandoned to run a debt-based economy and the country became what it is today because of its elite’s thirst for global intervention and the country’s addiction to debt.
America and Americans are debt junkies. Addiction to debt, as we now know it, is worse than sugar, heroin, crack cocaine, or any other synthetic drug. Why? Because while drug addicts may damage their own lives and that of their children, debt junkies damage the lives of generations to come.
Another point in which Bremmer and Kennedy dwell in their article is America’s, more specifically, Trump’s failure to address the dangers of climate change. Here are their points:
“Today, American families are paying for the United States’ failure to address climate change with skyrocketing flood insurance bills and town budgets broken by the destruction that hurricanes, mudslides, nor’easters, and wildfires leave in their wake.
For years, the United States’ inadequate response to global warming has wreaked havoc on local infrastructure, municipal budgets, and flood insurance rates across the region.
The Trump administration’s decision to withdraw the United States (the largest CO2 emitter in history) from the Paris agreement isn’t some talking point; it is a reality that will affect their bottom line every single day.
Their privacy and personal security are threatened by international cyber attacks, their social media platforms are infiltrated by malicious foreign actors, and their most precious democratic right, their vote, is in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s crosshairs.”
The United States cannot, alone, address climate change, no matter how many nukes it possesses. It is not America’s responsibility to address climate change, mainly because scientifically speaking, climate changing is not something anyone can address.
The authors imply that the rise in floods, rainfall, mudslides and nor’easters, are results of climate changing, but offer no proof of that slippery connection. They fail to point out that climate is always changing and that so-called man-made climate change, cannot be scientifically connected to any rise in the incidence of natural events. If it were possible to make that connection, they would have presented irrefutable proof.
Anyone with the slightest comprehension of domestic and foreign affairs would understand that the monies being wasted providing foreign aid to dictators would be put to better use at home, improving infrastructure and “saving” people from climate change.
Regarding the Paris Climate Agreement, let’s keep it simple: The only thing that the signing of that agreement does is transferring pollution rights from America to China. Nothing else. It won’t help decrease CO2 emissions whatsoever. It will also do one more thing: it will transfer millions of dollars in foreign aid from poor people in developed nations to dictators and thieves, promising, on an honor system, to take steps of their own choosing.
Signing the unscientifically supported Paris Climate Agreement would have made America weaker, not stronger, which seems to be one of Bremmer’s and Kennedy’s points in their essay. Adherence to the Paris Agreement would have meant the complete destruction of the already decaying American production industry.
Donald Trump addressed the threat of having such a small manufacturing industry by offering large corporate tax cuts to American companies that had moved abroad. Although that alone will not turn America into the industrial giant it used to be, it is a good way to bring some jobs back and start building on it.
Ultimately providing good jobs to Americans will depend on the Trump administration’s ability to reform the education system so high schools and universities offer careers for the jobs of the 21st century, a task that will be very tough since no one seems to know what those jobs will be.
Regarding cybersecurity and elections security, Bremmer and Kennedy continue to spread unproven claims that the U.S. elections were meddled with by Russia. Yes, social media are hotbeds for illegal data mining by domestic and foreign actors. Both Google and Facebook, to cite two examples, are data mining operations and their servers are being used by intelligence agencies to illegally collect data on social media users. No one is talking about this, because liberals, neocons and RINO Republicans prefer to look for boogeymen, a perpetual enemy who they can go to war with every 10 or 15 years.
Later in their article, Bremmer and Kennedy explain that the rise of China is a threat to America and that the United States abdicating global leadership only ads to that scenario. According to them, although the U.S. is still the world’s largest economy, the fact that China is becoming the most powerful economic actor, presents a direct threat to America’s global leadership.
“Make no mistake: the global threats that Americans face today are serious. China’s rising power, Russia’s wide-ranging interference, Europe’s growing division, and the United States’ abdication of international leadership means that a new world order is on the horizon. We’ve already caught glimpses. Although the United States remains the world’s largest economy, it is China that is now the world’s most forceful economic actor, channeling its political and economic heft into its state-owned enterprises. Apple may be the world’s largest corporation by market value, but its CEO Tim Cook is responsible to Apple shareholders, not U.S. lawmakers; Chinese billionaire Jack Ma doesn’t have the same luxury. In China, the rise of state capitalism and its staying power pose a considerable challenge for the global free market.”
I wonder what China, Russia, Germany and France thought decades ago when the United States became the global policeman, the enforcer of an international framework that was fair to the Americans and unfair to developing and recovering countries.
Today, the tortilla is flipping. Russia and China are rising – economically and militarily – precisely because of America’s actions around the world and that is seen as a threat by American politicians and intellectuals.
Although ideologically and politically speaking China’s rise is not a good thing for the world, in general, it is also true that neither the Chinese nor the Russians are leveraging power via military interventions at the rate America did for over half a century.
The Chinese on one side are taking advantage of America’s debt addiction and the Russians took advantage of America’s arrogance to create bilateral and trilateral partnerships with China, India, and other emerging nations in new frameworks such as the BRICS, which by the way, the U.S. has attempted to torpedo just because it challenges its global hegemony.
Let’s debate war-making now. According to Bremmer and Kennedy, Trump has failed its promise to end global policing. Here is their take:
“Trump railed against wars fought without a strategic vision, conflicts that will cost the American taxpayer for decades to come. But as president, his scattershot foreign policy risks plunging the United States into an unnecessary military confrontation, by choice or by accident, with Iran, North Korea, Russia, and even NATO-ally Turkey.”
Obviously, Mr. Bremmer and Mr. Kennedy haven’t watched the news lately. More importantly, they seem to contradict themselves.
Previously, they complained about Trump’s abandonment of global leadership, yet they also criticise his vocally forceful actions calling on North Korea, Syria and Iran to back off; something he had also done during his presidential campaign.
Other than being vociferous, Trump has not begun any wars and has done his best not to continue the ones started by Bush and Obama, though the military-industrial complex is so powerful that I can safely predict America’s war thirst will continue even after Trump leaves office.
Thanks to Trump North Korea and South Korea are getting closer to signing peace. Even the South Korean president has said that Trump should be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Trump has committed two sins since his arrival to the White House:
- Supporting the regime of Israel in its ambitious drive to ethnically cleanse Gaza;
- Participating in the illegal and immoral bombing of Syrian territory for no reason whatsoever.
In this, Trump and America have been lucky that Putin is not as arrogant as Trump himself because that would have meant the fall of American planes from the sky over Syria and the certain start of an armed conflict between the U.S. and Russia.
Moving on to drug trafficking and drug addiction, here is Bremmer’s and Kennedy’s take on what they believe is Trump’s failure to stop a problem that no policy in half a century has been able to end:
“The price of addiction rose and drug cartels in Mexico seized the opportunity to meet American demand; today 95 percent of U.S. heroin originates in Mexico.
Fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid, consists of chemicals made in rogue Chinese labs that are shipped directly into the United States or through Mexico, where it is largely smuggled into the United States through official ports of entry. In other words, Trump’s $70 billion border wall won’t stop this epidemic. Increased mental health funding, pharmaceutical accountability, and real engagement across the borders could. The country is unable and unwilling to do so through sensible immigration policy.”
The circulation and use of illegal drugs are very complex issues, but today more than ever starts on the American complicity in guarding the production of the raw material to produce many of the drugs manufactured in Mexico, which are later exported to America.
See the graph below as a reference to what I am pointing out.
Please also see this graph below:
As shown in the graphs, opium cultivation and production has risen exponentially after the U.S. took over the poppy fields. Coincidence?
If you need or want more information about how the U.S. government is, directly and indirectly, the main provider of raw materials and manufactured drugs in the world, please read Stephen Lendman’s article El Chapo v. Longstanding CIA Global Drugs Trafficking and William Edstrom’s Heroin Dealer in Chief. Afghanistan, Source of 90% of The World’s Heroin.
Trump’s wall, which liberals refuse to support, is not meant to stop drug trafficking. That would be stupid to say the least, as much of the drugs are brought into the U.S. on board of military and CIA planes. The wall is meant to stop the out-of-control flow of illegal immigrants that want to enter America from Mexico and to prevent the type of cultural enrichment being experienced by Germany and France.
Although the authors do not explain their concept of sensible immigration reform, I will take a kick at it.
Most liberals want illegal immigrants, which would amount to 30 million -when factoring in relatives and extended family- not 11 million, to be legalised by the stroke of a pen because most of them would arguably vote for Democratic candidates.
There is no need for comprehensive or sensible immigration reform. What the U.S. needs to do regarding illegal immigration is to enforce current immigration laws, and there is nothing racist about that.
On the current world order, Bremmer and Kennedy explain that such order, though not perfect is preferable to a Chinese or Russian-led order. No evidence of that is provided, probably because it doesn’t exist since neither China nor Russia ever held the title of global manager.
“Instead of trying to create a world where some states were “winners” and others were “losers,” U.S. leaders had the confidence to create a world where the United States and many other nations could benefit together. This system was not perfect, but it provided the basis for decades of economic growth and played no small part in the United States’ Cold War victory.
In response, the Trump administration seems content to let the old order collapse—and even help accelerate that process—while seeming unwilling to use American power to create a new and better one.
That’s a mistake. The United States should find reasonable ways to give emerging powers greater say in the current international system. If institutions like the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations Security Council don’t end up better reflecting the de facto power ordering of today’s world, alternative institutions like China’s Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank will emerge to aggressively challenge them. And we must accept that some new, alternative institutions, backed by emerging powers, will arise regardless; they don’t see it in terms of either/or the way that Americans do.”
My question to Bremmer and Kennedy is: Who benefited under the current world order? Did the world benefit?
The vision that the world is a better place because the U.S. policed over everyone else for 70 years -with the complicity of its “allies”- usually comes from people who never spent more than a few weeks or a few months abroad.
Those who benefited from such an order were the framers of that order. The rest of the world got crumbs, and we are supposed to be thankful for it.
Indeed, for the world to be a better place, the existing order must collapse and be replaced for a truly fair, environmentally friendly, development-oriented world, where not only nations in the G7 or G20 rise to the top.
It is America’s prerogative to “give poor and emerging nations a say” while advancing its agenda, what turned the world into what it is today: a polarised insane asylum.
Supranational organisations such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and the United Nations were created not to keep powerful nations in check, but to legitimise their abuses. One only needs to look at the collusion between Big Pharma and government health agencies. They allow an international drug cartel to medicate and kill children, as supposed to make them healthier, and that is done for profit.
How about the banking establishment? How about the illegal and unsustainable printing of fake money?
Give the following fact a thought. The world’s banking system is owned by commercial banks which control central banks all over the world. Banks are for-profit organisations and it is their holding of power on monetary policy, debt issuance and unlimited printing of money what has condemned the world to live in perpetual debt, generation after generation.
Governments around the world are literally owned by banks and this system was also created under the current world order that Bremmer and Kennedy believe is good, though “not perfect”.
At the end of their essay, the authors conclude that:
“Trump is offering the American public a slate of false choices when it comes to U.S. foreign policy. But the truth is that there is a real choice to be made, and it matters. Does the United States reaffirm itself to the cause of freedom, human dignity, and democracy at home and abroad—or allow it to be chipped away? Does it compromise the values, promises, and foundational liberties etched in the U.S. Constitution because of the latest insult or opportunity that arises?”
I’ll let you in a little secret. The U.S. has never been reaffirmed itself to the cause of freedom unless you believe Vietnam, Iraq in 1991 and 2003, Afghanistan in 2013 and Syria in 2018 are examples of freedom. At most, America has lent itself to some benign causes when those causes advance its geopolitical interests.
Seemingly, the U.S. cannot claim to pursue human dignity and democracy, as the authors seem to believe unless you believe that torture of brown innocent men and bombing people’s weddings and homes are examples of dignity and democracy.
If there is anything the U.S. has done over the past 70 years has been to violate the values, promises and foundational liberties contained in its constitution, both home and abroad.
As far as the people of the world are concerned, the planet has been America’s yeard for 70 decades and its foreign policy along with the current world order have been its lawn mower. The world is sick and tired of that, so what should America’s foreign policy be from now on? America First – for real – is a good start.