Foreign Policy Redux

Our National Policy needs to have a realistic view of the world. We have pursued the chimera of stability, in many nations, with uniform failure over time. Stability, such as it is can only come from the internal dynamics of a given country. It cannot be finagled or imposed. It is important to use terms consistently without equivocation. I do not say that military power cannot affect outcomes. I say it has side effects, foreseeable and unforeseeable; that generally are overlooked by our government, and people. Our government insanely oscillates between the catastrophic and the utopian.  Our exaggerated hopes and fears are in no wise rational. Going back to the Spanish American war, except for Nazism, our fears were irrational. And the government and media hyped or manufactured threats, for motives of power and profit.  

But these fears have become institutionalized in our culture now. When the
USSR collapsed finally, we went looking for something to fear. We tried china, but in the early 90’s that couldn’t be sold. Now we have the clumsy verbiage of the forever war on the intangible.
 We have made many mistakes. Some of them counting backward: we elevated the minor threat posed by
North Korea into a major threat and failed. We elevate the non existent threat of
Iran to major, and fail. We elevate the miniscule threat posed by Saddam’s
Iraq, and fail after the application of the majority of our mobile ground forces. We elevate Castro’s
Cuba into a major threat and fail. We fictionalize a threat from
Grenada and succeed, in an empty and meaningless way. And so it goes. But why must we pursue these insane fears, against our own national interest?
 

A pragmatic view of our situation finds us in an historically enviable position. There are no unknown territories out of which can surge fearsome nomads, as happened to Europeans and Asians. We have no powerful and hostile neighbors, who have mechanized forces within ten day’s drive or less to our capital, as happened to France and
Poland. Our own efforts at transporting and supporting troops globally, against no naval or air opposition show the futility of trying an invasion of
America from overseas. Finally our nation spans a continent. We have two weak and friendly neighbors that require no military effort to hold back, and we are surrounded by four seas, the Atlantic, Pacific,
Arctic and Gulf/Caribbean. There is no credible military threat to the
U.S.
 We act as though there is. We have a military whose scope is far beyond national defense. We have a military whose record of success is mixed, and in no way the main pillar of American power. Yet we have come to think of our lucky position as hard fought, the fruit of victory, and superior skill. The outcome of WW2 left us rich and powerful. We fought hard, but not alone. Our allies the Russians and British fought hard; so too the Poles and French. The difference between the former and latter has more to due with geography than will. None of the countries named were ready to fight a modern mechanized war, though they were ready to fight.  

The difference was time and space. The French and Poles had too little space and time. The German Wehrmacht had a better doctrine and communications, the French and Poles had no time or space in which to adjust. The British just as thoroughly defeated in the field could withdraw across a sea barrier, uncrossable without adequate naval and air forces.
Russia never gave in, but did yield considerable land and manpower before they, under extreme pressure, devised a successful means and doctrine for fighting the German Wehmacht. The
U.S. was never territorially threatened by Nazi Germany. We had every opportunity to learn from the prior mistakes and experiences of the Poles, French, British and Russians, but we didn’t. Our training, doctrine, and equipment were inadequate and we had our clocks cleaned at Kasserine. But fortunately for us that was a continent away and after four years of fighting, the German Wehmarht had a feeble logistical tail.
 We were victorious in concert with our allies. We set up currency, trade, legal, and defense agreements that were to our advantage, and somewhere decided we had done it all thru force of arms, by ourselves. Americans often measure the current in comparison with the 1950’s: a ludicrous exercise. A vast portion of the industrialized world lay in ruins then, augmenting our sense of power. But that was never bound to last. Whereas we could have gradually and gracefully become progressively more inclusive as countries recovered, we insisted not on being the leading nation, but the deciding nation at all times. We developed a two tiered standard for viewing the world stage and its actors. We forgive ourselves the most brazen and shameful actions, and then doubt the good intentions of other any nation that has their own interests at heart.  

Now we are using our own military power to strip away the last vestiges of soft power that were the real additions to American power, Bretton Woods, GATT, UN, World Bank, these all benefited
America most, and now they are almost gone from our petulant control. We have the continued illusion of power because the dollar is still the world’s reserve currency. This allows us to appropriate the productivity of other nations. The only reason our thorough mismanagement of this boon has not caused the dollar to collapse yet, is that there is no currency to replace it. Likely the Euro will never be it, but the Chinese could do it some day. And that is a big threat.
 The threat to America is not “terrorism” or “Islam” or Iran, China or
Russia, the threat is mindless, baseless, irrational fear. Our government is ill prepared to change, and our people ill educated and easily led by the pied piper of fears. That’s why we need a new government.
 

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