Email Message
This form does not yet contain any fields.
    The Will to Create

    Entries in Middle East (9)

    Friday
    Jun032011

    Paul Ryan's confused foreign policy ideas

    http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/ryan-embraces-exceptionalism-rejects-isolationism-foreign-policy-speech_573194.html

    In the article, Ryan is quoted as saying:

    "A world without U.S. leadership will be a more chaotic place," Ryan said. "A place where we have less influence, and a place where our citizens face more dangers and fewer opportunities. Take a moment and imagine a world led by China and Russia."

    What does Ryan mean by "leadership"? Who decides who leads and who follows? Is a lot of this some mental construct that has no validity in reality. I'm sure China influences many nations, as well as Russia. What does it mean to compete with China and Russia for a global leadership position. If it means war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, military bases all over the world, wasting money on the IMF, The World Bank and the UN, giving aid to countries in which the Head Thug steals it before it reaches those in need, then, yes, let me imagine a world led by China or Russia and find it unthreatening. We wouldn't be led by China or Russia. Which nations would Russia or China lead and how would they lead them?

    I believe all this talk about allies in the world, and prevention of China/Russia leadership, is just a rationalization for the perpetual expansion of the military/industrial complex. I believe Ryan has bought the narrative developed decades ago by the power elite which needs an imminent threat to justify its power and control. I think Ryan is probably a good, patriotic man, but this type of rhetoric shows he hasn't thought very deeply about foreign policy, or very creatively. Later Ryan says we have to be careful and realize that our involvement can do only so much, so I know that he intuitively realizes that foreign intervention has caused problems.

    America is a powerful nation, and in reality no nation can successfully subdue us, and neither China nor Russia can create any stable alliance of nations to threaten us. The real global action is economic, and this is where we're retreating and declining into has-beens. Ryan needs to trust his first instincts and accept that bringing our military home is not "isolationism" and "decline" -- it's a principled strategy to prevent coercive intervention abroad and economic collapse at home. Unless there is an issue of genocide which calls for all civilized nations to act, the internal squabbles within nations or between nations is none of our concern, and fighting terrorism will never be successful by putting military troops on the ground in nations like Iraq and Afghanistan -- terrorism is mobile in cells and is not the threat it's made out to be. Yes, a few radicals can kill Americans, but being in Iraq and Afghanistan can not prevent this, and any country that harbors terrorists will not actually terrorize America, because they know a truly terrorized America will destroy that country. The Terrorists are playing on our fears and pin-pricking us, and now they are draining us financially and taking way too many young lives needlessly placed in dangerous situations.

    From the article:

    Ryan spoke at length about American exceptionalism as it relates to America's role in the world. "America is an idea," he said. "And it was the first nation founded as such. The idea is rather simple. Our rights come to us from God and nature. They occur naturally, before government."

    Our Founders warned against foreign entanglements. If America is great, then this is by actions, not through grand rhetoric and puffery. If America becomes the free and properous nation we can become, then so be it -- intervening in the affairs of others to get them to become like us is futile and immoral. Attraction rather than promotion is a much better principle. We have lessened our greatness through foreign entanglements, enriching brutal dictators, invading countries to stop communism when it wasn't our place to decide which nations should become communist nations. We found out later, that Russia had no imperialist ambitions, except in Eastern Europe, which had an affinity for communism, as a buffer from the West.

    Any form of statism/socialism, including Islamist statism/socialism, will fail on its own -- we don't have to get involved and try to prevent it from rising. Dictators will be overthrown when the people become hungry and tired of being used.

    The article goes on:

    This belief in the American idea, Ryan said, should inform the nation's foreign policy. "Now, if you believe these rights are universal human rights, then that clearly forms the basis of your views on foreign policy," he said. "It leads you to reject moral relativism. It causes you to recoil at the idea of presistent moral indifference toward any nation that stifles and denies liberty, no matter how friendly and accommodating its rules are to American interests."

    Ryan squarely rejected the position of increased isolationism. "Today, some in this country relish the idea of America's retreat from our role in the world," Ryan said. "They say that it's about time for other nations to take over, that we should turn inward, that we should reduce ourselves to membership on a long list of mediocre has-beens."

    He continued, "Instead of heeding these calls to surrender, we must renew our commitment to the idea that America is the greatest force for human freedom the world has ever seen."

    Who says we should "reduce ourselves to membership on a long list of mediocre has-beens"? Again, a policy of non-intervention doesn't mean that we accept decline and hide within our borders. We can be economically vibrant and globally open, but be militarily neutral regarding matters of civil wars and regional conflicts, unless we are threatened, or unless we are called on to stop another holocaust. We definitely have no business nation-building or "spreading Democracy" through military means. We can full-throatedly take stands on right and wrong and explicate our principles, but we can do it without military bases all over the world.

    More from the article:

    Regarding the recent civil unrest across the Middle East, Ryan spoke clearly about America's role and human rights. "We have a responsibility to speak boldly for those whose voices are denied by the jackbooted thugs of the tired tyrants of Syria and Iran," he said. He later continued, "What we can do is affirm our commitment to democracy in the region by standing in solidarity with our longstanding allies in Israel and our new partners in Iraq."

    On the American military efforts both in Iraq and Afghanistan, Ryan said the United States can and must "remain committed to the promotion of stable governments that respect the rights of their citizens and deny terrorists access to their territory." Failure to win, he said, "would be a blow to American prestige and would reinvigorate al Qaeda."

    Ryan also called for China to liberalize and become "integrated into the global order." But, he said, Chinese leaders should not count on the decline of the United States as a great power. "We must demonstrate that planning for the post-American era is a squandered effort on their part and that America's greatest days lie ahead," he said.

    Yes, we can stand with Israel in spirit and principle -- we've been doing this for decades -- yet remain militarily neutral in conflicts. Israel can defend itself, and if for some reason they can't because a concerted Middle-East effort is over-whelming Israel, then we can decide based on this situation, but to have a military bent up-front, sitting on ready to intervene at a drop of the hat, is what gets us in futile entanglements.

    When Ryan talks about Afghanistan and Iraq, I have to wonder what he sees that I don't. I don't see any way for these two countries to achieve and maintain stability -- we would have to be there for 100 years in order to see a real change. We need to leave Iraq, Afghanistan, the whole Middle-East, and if China and Russia want it, then they can have it -- they don't want it.

    We don't need to be drastically anxious about terrorism or China or Russia -- we need to heed Pogo -- "I have found the enemy, and he is us." If America pulls in and limits our State machine, and if the American people are allowed to utilize resources without government siphoning off such a large chunk, the idea of America will be a good idea once again. Ryan is part of the way there, but he's on the wrong foreign policy track.

    Thursday
    May192011

    How to bring about a New World Order

    This is one way to bring about a New World Order without alienating half the world. First you create a narrative that redistribution is a vital part of global social justice, that some countries have been blessed by circumstance and they have a duty to share their riches with nations not so fortunate. This creates the idea that undeveloped nations will prosper if only wealth is fairly redistributed. So, if large Super Powers create a World Council to control the world through a new order, the unfortunate nations will be ready to receive their share of the wealth -- they'll be the easiest to convince, because they'll have more to gain.

    Then through all international organizations you begin speaking in global terms so that the world becomes accustomed to global language. Economies become the global economy, and the UN becomes the global voice of the world, and the World Bank becomes the global backer of global progress and the IMF becomes the global bank for global finance, and the World Trade Organization manages global trade agreements. Corporations become global corporations with branches all over the world. Then there is talk of how interconnected we all are and how borders are meaningless.

    Then a threat must be identified which is greater than even the threat of communism or capitalism. You can use terror as the threat and expand the threat to terror cells which operate globally -- global terror -- with no nation or set location -- a floating threat that could be anybody anywhere anytime. You then pick a region like the middle east and manipulate the cultural and religious feuds between groups like jews and arabs so that boiling hatred threatens the entire world with a nuclear showdown. Then you use the rhetoric of hatred as a sign that tensions are building to the point of explosion -- when there is an outbreak of violence, the UN steps in as the Global Moderator for Peace determined to prevent global war and protect the global innocent.

    By this time the world is sufficiently frightened to welcome security, and each nation involved in assured of their sovereignty in domestic matters, but anything related to the interconnectedness of the Global Community must be managed by Global Security. Soon all things in all nations are related to Global Security, such as poor economic conditions in Guam or excess profits in America, and the New Order has emerged. I know, I know, it's not likely -- but I'm just saying...

    Wednesday
    Mar022011

    Glenn Beck 3/2/2011 -- The Perfect Storm

    On Beck's Fox show today he reported on a released Pentagon report which looked at the possibility of financial warfare in which an unfriendly sovereign country, or countries, could bring America down, and suggests it might be underway. America is, no doubt, dependent on the good faith of foreign countries, but if China or Russia wants to bring us down financially, through our dependence on oil and foreign loans, we've set ourselves up to either be slowly squeezed or destroyed through economic collapse when payment of the loans is demanded. This would likely destroy Russia and China, also, but we can be squeezed and subtlely controlled.

    If America reacts through more control of the economy in an attempt to out-manuever our global competitors, we'll likely be squeezed into financial slavery to other nations -- this I can see. Glenn made the point that our government and media are not leveling with the American people, and no one appears to notice how the Left is working against America's economic survival.

    The Middle East is a part of the perfect storm, and if the region becomes more unstable, or falls to unfriendly forces, gas prices in America can sky-rocket and throw us into a depression. In order to fight a financial war, America has to rely on her productive strength, but it's the one thing on which our leaders are not relying -- a free market. If our economic capabilities are maximized through allowing the market to operate freely, we could create an economic recovery coupled with energy production which would attract foreign investment that counters any foreign threat. However, as  Beck said at the end of the show -- what we don't need is more government control.

    I will write more about this later -- it deserves a longer post.

    Tuesday
    Feb222011

    Glenn Beck 2/22/2011 -- The Perfect Storm

    Beck brought up the media's lack of analysis regarding what Cairo to Madison means to the American people. Each day the disturbances all over the world look more ominous, and the main concern for Americans is sky-rocketing energy costs. Many of us have called for freedom regarding energy production in the US, but regulations have made the US dependent on foreign oil, and the Mid-East turmoil can have a devastating affect on our economy, especially if Saudi Arabia becomes a hot mess of Islamist anti-Americanism. Glenn showed charts which predict that if gas gets to 5 dollars a gallon, about 300 billion dollars will leave the US yearly going to foreign countries to pay for our gas needs -- we can't survive something like this with all the other problems we face, the wars, the debt, the stagnant economy, the forces, like Van Jones, calling for protests across the country.

    No doubt the media will accuse Beck of more fear-mongering, but I assure you that people at high levels who put on a smiley face in public understand perfectly well the storm we face.

    Thursday
    Feb172011

    Beyond politics and war

    The Iraq and Afghanistan wars can be the turning point for the world, at least in the US. Most experts believe there will be no victory in Afghanistan, and it's questionable whether Iraq will be able to maintain stability after we leave. There's a possibility for a settlement of sorts, calling it whatever the spin meisters want to call it, but there will be no victory like Americans are accustomed to think about victory -- a clear winning side. Politically, the wars have become a realist game of doing what's necessary for the situation to not deteriorate. It's time to do something big and transformative. America has to come to the realization that foreign intervention going into the 21st century is not in our best interest, and if terrorists want to attack us, they can plan the attack from anywhere on earth. Temporarily stabilizing Afghanistan will not do anything to lessen terrorist threats. But it's not just Iraq and Afghanistan -- attacking and lingering in any country for long periods of time will not make us safer.

    Political considerations in Afghanistan are no longer valid -- this is not about one political party looking bad and another looking good. The future of our foreign policy under scrutiny and a new doctrine is needed based on what we've learned in Iraq and Afghanistan. We must go beyond politics and old ideas of war. Now is a good opportunity for America to announce a new foreign policy doctrine. 

    It's rather odd that our centralized national government began with concerns regarding the Middle East, and now our role as a Super-Power and how to deal with this power revolves mainly around concerns regarding the Middle East. Micahel B. Oren, in his bestselling book, Power, Faith and Fantasy, wrote:

    Under the specter of imprisoned sailors in North Africa and imperiled ships, delegates from twelve of the thriteen states gathered in Philadelphia in May 1787. Their purpose was to consider replacing the Articals of Confederation with a more centalized national charter--to rectify the very weakness that had humbled the United States before Barbary. As honorary chairman of this Constitutional Convention, Washington urged representatives to refrain from all "talk of chastising the Algerines" until "the wisdom and force of the Union can be more concentrated and better applied." This request from the venerated hero of the revolution could not be lightly ignored, and the participants in the convention avoided all mention of Barbary. But as citizens of a trading union, they could not entirely evade the question of creating a navy necessary to protect that trade. James Madison, the diminutive Virginia aristocrat widely regarded as the assembly's most dynamic participant, spoke for the many of those present by reiterating his fear of a strong, standing navy, yet, he nevertheless recognized America's paramount need for navel power. "Weakness will invite insults," he reasoned. "The best way to avoid danger is to be in [a] capacity to withstand it."

    Though downplayed during the Constitutional Convention, the connection between the Middle East and the American  federation figured prominently in the impassioned state-level debates on ratifying the proposed Constitution.

    Having lost the British navy's protection after the Revolution, America found her shipping vessels and sailors travelling to the Middle East for trade in constant danger. America needed a strong State and a navy. We no longer worry about having a strong military today -- we're accustomed to the idea of being a military Super-Power. Yet, our miltary interventions haven't worked out too well since WWII, especially in Viet Nam and, now, once again, in the Middle East. For one thing, the nature of war has changed. Our most lethal weapons can't be used without widespread destruction, although our conventional weapons are far superior to cannons. Now, politics play such an important role, war as it was in the 18th, 19th and even into the 20th century is obsolete. Oh, we still have people shooting at one another and killing one another, but it seems like an anachronism, or the more technological aspects seem like a movie. Most people are so removed from war, what we're doing in Afghanistan with drones is almost like a video game, except real people are dying.

    But what is our purpose, now? In the beginning it was to protect free trade, and then in WWII it was to defeat facists. The Iraq and Afghanistan wars are ostensibly a War on Terror, but terror is a technique, and there are no identifiable countries we can call call enemy nations. Terrorists can gather and plot from anywhere, even inside the US.

    We've had a long history of conflict and antagonism with the Middle East, and now we're dependent on the "pool of petroleum" Joel Robets Poinsett saw in the Middle East in 1806, desribed by Oren in his book mentioned above. Poinsett correctly speculated that one day the petroleum might be used for fuel. As a practical matter, we need to move past this dependence, even if it means producing more energy at home, but on a larger scale, America must rethink war and foreign interventions in the 21st century. We have no future with a permanent presence in the Middle East. In the beginning, trade was all important, and it should be all important today. Even after establishing a navy after the Union was established, America still preferred attempting treaties and pay-offs rather than intervention and war.

    We've proven our military power, and now we need to prove our wisdom and vision going into the future. The bombastic ways of the Middle East cannot be our way, although we should always have the best defense possible. There's no wisdom in a naive approach to foreign policy in a very dangerous world -- however, our involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq is not wise either. We were shaken by 9/11 because we didn't know what was coming next, but it's been a decade now, and we can take what we've learned and create a new doctrine, a new direction in foreign policy. 

    For all the Middle East bluster, and aside from whether they have legitimate historical reasons to hate us and Israel, these arguments go in circles and it no longer matters who was right or wrong, plus, the countries who harbor terrorists know that if we become truly terrorized, we'll respond with such force that they won't be able to withstand it. The terrorists are bleeding us slowly through the deaths of young American men and women and billions of dollars spent. There would be no shame in announcing that we've repelled terrorism and given the people of Iraq and Afghanistan what they need to change if they want to change -- we've at least convinced them that harboring terrorists who attack America is not in their best interest. They at least know that if they continue to push the issue by means of violence, we will not be deterred from our way of life. We can also admit that we've made mistakes, but then we didn't ask to be attacked. The case can be made that 9/11 created a situation which had no playbook to go by, so as mistakes were made we can all learn from them and go forward. Regardless of our imperfections, the Middle East is not a victim -- they have the opportunity to peacefully co-exist in a world that's not really interested in waging wars. Peaceful free trade is the best way forward -- religious tolerance is the best way forward -- forgiveness, starting over and open dialogue are the best ways past hatred that's  never resolved with guns and bombs.

    Non-intervention is not isolationism. We couldn't be isolationists even we wanted to be. The global economy ensures we're all connected and interacting, But, if we stop playing the old game of international politics and deal with nations people to people, we can end the old Nation-State relationships and create a free society that's not defined by State power, especially military power. As long as we have a strong defense, that's all we need to contain the threat of terrorism. If we are attacked and know who attacked us, we can respond with quick retaliation that punishes the attackers, then leave -- this won't take ten years to accomplish. America's business is business, and we need to get back to business. The Middle East will have to take care of the Middle East.