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Archive for the ‘Foreign Policy’ Category

nicholas maduro

Nicholas Maduro, who at least for today is President of Venezuela.

“…Large protests all across Venezuela today against Maduro. The fight for freedom has begun!”

    – Donald J. Trump

“To end the Maduro regime with the minimum of bloodshed, we need the support of pro-democratic governments, institutions and individuals the world over.”

    – New York Times Editorial, January 30, 2019

Much is made of the current acrimony in American politics. Trump supporters can’t stand Nancy Pelosi, and the SJW’s in the orbit of the Democratic party detest the very mention of Trump’s name.

What is more, the longest government shutdown in American history just ended with a temporary cease fire between the White House and Congressional Democrats over funding for the border wall.

America is a house divided, so we’re told. Quite obviously, the cold American civil war some have written about is ready to explode into a real civil war. Right?

Well, not so fast. It seems there’s more unity, at least among the American establishment, than one would gather from watching the evening news.

Want proof? Just consider the two quotes above, one from a recent Tweet by President Trump, the other from today’s New York Times editorial page.

Some may find the agreement between Trump and the Times surprising. After all, the Donald and the Times have pretty much been locked in a state of verbal warfare ever since the New York billionaire declared his candidacy in the summer of 2015. Trump is the Yin to the Times’ Yang, how is it possible for them to agree on anything?

And yet, they do.

In this case, they both believe in America’s exceptional right to decide who the leader of a foreign country will be.

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Foreign Policy_Syria2

Before and after in Aleppo.

The great law of morality ought to have a national as well as a personal and individual application. We should act toward other nations as we wish them to act toward us.

– Millard Fillmore, 13th President of the United States , 1850 State of the Union Address

Back during the 2012 Presidential campaign, I wrote a post critical of an article by Uri Friedman, who showed his utter disdain for candidate Ron Paul by accusing him of invoking the Millard Fillmore doctrine, which as the quote above indicates, is the application of the Golden Rule to foreign policy. Fillmore, notes Friedman, was “undistinguished” and “uninspiring” and self-evidently not worthy of emulation in any respect. Friedman goes on to write that Paul was both booed an laughed at when he presented his version of the “Golden Rule” approach to foreign policy on the campaign trail.

It is absurd to think that the Golden Rule has anything whatsoever to do with foreign policy, so opines Friedman. And not only is it wrong to suggest that it does, but it’s actually laughable. This we know because Millard Fillmore believed the Golden Rule was the standard for a proper policy and it’s just obvious that Millard Fillmore was a dunce, a boob and a fool. What is more, so are all those, such as Ron Paul, who follow him. That’s the sum of Friedman’s argument, who, as one writing in Foreign Policy, the house organ of the Council on Foreign Relations, could be said to be echoing the views of the American foreign policy establishment.

Perhaps if the accomplishments of America’s foreign policy establishment – dating back to the Spanish American War at the end of the 19th century, America’s leaders have rejected the nation’s original foreign policy of staying out of foreign wars in favor of a policy of interventionism – were more impressive, it would make sense to give ear to Friedman’s snarky dismissal of Fillmore and Paul. But after more than a century of foreign wars that seem only to set the stage for the next conflict, perhaps it’s worth asking just how much the sages at the Council on Foreign Relations actually know about foreign policy. It seems the this author that the answer is, not very much at all.

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