This is another in my series of examining the issues which should be prominent as we near election day.

Foreign policy is one topic that is difficult to approach by merely using actual facts to bolster one’s position. One can state the facts of our present situations and how we arrived there out the wazoo and come nowhere close to a consensus as to how to proceed from here.

That is particularly so as the history of our engagement with nations throughout Africa, the Middle East, the indian subcontinent, and Southeast Asia is replete with treachery, support of murderous regimes, back door politics that, surprisingly,  have been effective on occasion in furthering American purposes despite their egregious immorality.

That is not to say these purposes were justifiable,  at least not long term, but they were pragmatically dealt with to achieve short term goals.

A quick review of some that came back to bite us in the ass.

  1. Placing the Shah of Iran in power only to see the revolution leading to a Muslim theocracy that threatens its neighbors.
  2. Arming and empowering Saddam Hussein, including with WMD’s, that enabled him to become a tyrant supreme, gassing the Kurds, and eventually drawing the enmity of the U.S. in two wars resulting in hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths (not to mention our own blood payments).
  3. Arming what became the Taliban to fight the Soviets and repeating their folly by now engaging those same Taliban in our own pointless, endless war.

Then you can take our support of Israel and divide it into the eras where such support was blind, when support was lukewarm due to Israel’s own behavior, when American zionists (not necessarily Jewish) condemned any efforts to temper some Israeli policies, and when the Middle East was relatively quiet and demagoguery was at a minimum.

India comes under fire these days for thieving jobs while its neighbor Pakistan is dysfunctionally schizophrenic towards America, easy to do as the Pakistani Republic of Corruption could easily be its official name.

North Korea wants to play nemesis but may have to do so with large portions of its populace starved to death while its dynastic ruling family often offers more comic relief than terror. South Korea is an economic powerhouse (my TV is a Samsung) and questions may grow as to why it is not more self-sustaining in its international security.

Then there’s the 800 pound Panda in the room. Those who fear socialism in this country should see what a socialist/communist government and economy has wrought in China. Its GDP growth outstrips our own, it holds a significant part of U.S. debt (around $1.15 trillion, lower than last year), and its international power and influence appears to have balloooned despite lack of military action to promote this growth.

But large parts of China’s “success” may be illusory. Its population is so huge that the outward mien of prosperity still means hundreds of millions of its citizens remain in agricultural poverty.

The so-called Arab Spring looks as if it may now be in the middle of a desolate winter. The ongoing demonstrations and embassy attacks signal not all is hunky dory. There is some preliminary evidence to suggest these protests are thoroughly organized by groups which do not have either the welfare of Libyans or Egyptians as their agenda, nor are they inclined to let the U.S. get any traction towards acceptance as worthy allies as their regime changes ripen into full-blown governments capable of being criticized on their own demerits. A danger indeed as their recent revolutions opened up a Pandora’s Box of desires for freedom and democracy.

Any interference in African affairs is fraught with peril. Getting drawn into tribal or other internecine conflicts has much downside and little up, and that at almost a 90 degree angle.

Poor Syria has turned into a bloodbath with the accumulation of bodies disturbing. It probably qualifies as a civil war and there is little future in taking sides in those. That is especially so in the Middle East where suspicion of American motives (for good reason) is off the charts.

My own prior commentaries on American foreign policy have basically amounted to these points:

  1. A demand, a repeated demand for an immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan.
  2. A demand to immediately cease our drone attacks or any other methods employed to murder suspected terrorists.
  3. Applause for Obama for his restraint during the Egyptian upheaval.
  4. Criticism of Obama for committing U.S. air power to the Libyan upheaval, which more resembled a civil war. (See comment above on those conflicts)

In the rest of the world Obama has kept us on track with little innovation or straying from long time principles. Of course unlike at home you are dealing with leaders who are your equal in terms of automatic status and who all are seeking the best for their homelands. Russia remains thorny but Russia will ALWAYS remain thorny.

South America will almost always be an afterthought save for specific situations requiring action. Canada and Mexico both send us their oil but there seem to be 116 Mexicans hiding in their tankers. For all we know Canada could be doing the same thing but we never know until one of them uses a word with the “ou” combination or says “eh?” at the end of a sentence.

What is Romney’s foreign policy? Well, near as I can figure it goes something like this:

  1. Obama acts———————————Romney condemns him
  2. Obama sets policy————————–Romney condemns him
  3. Obama meets with foreign leader——–Romney condemns him
  4. Something bad happens in a foreign land–Romney condemns Obama

The man has articulated NO foreign policy positions other than to excoriate Obama for whatever he has done. Here there is ample leeway to honestly criticize Obama, as I have on Afghanistan. Romney simply says Obama setting a timeline for withdrawal is wrong, but offers no ideas of his own.

My fear is that the only change Romney would make in current policy would be to become more militant and aggressive. I believe that would bode ill for the United States.

Romney’s foreign policy, based on jingoism and military power, could be summed up by the title of an old Paul Newman movie:

Rally Round The Flag Boys

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  • little_minx  On September 14, 2012 at 11:10 PM

    Don’t you realize what Mitt’s Middle East policy is going to be? To convert them all to Mormonism. Voilà, problem solved ; – )

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