Monday, October 22, 2012

Foreign Policy Reality

Ever since Vietnam, Democrats have had to be dragged kicking and screaming into standing up for US interests in the world.  In their heart of hearts they really believe the neo-Marxist, anti-colonialist, rich-get-richer while the poor get poorer view of the world.

There is of course a vein of truth in the anti-colonialist world view.  The west, armed with its science, its politics, and its religion, has swept all before it during the last 500 years.  You either signed up or you got buried.  The problem for non-western societies was ably summed up by a Chinese Christain in David Aikman's book Jesus in Beijing. Let's look at his words in full.
One of the things we were asked to look into was what accounted for the success, in fact the pre-eminence of the West all over the world... We studied everything we could from the historical, political, economic, and cultural perspective. At first we thought it was because you had more powerful guns than we had. Then we thought it was because you had the best political system. Next we focused on your economic system. But in the past twenty years we have realized that the heart of your culture is your religion: Christianity. That is why the West has been so powerful. The Christian moral foundation of social and cultural life was what made possible the emergence of capitalism and then the successful transition to democratic politics. We don't have any doubt about this.
Let us look at Barack Obama's "reset" foreign policy and Cairo speech and "apology tour" in the light of this testament.  Because right now the Christian western idea is facing a challenge from Muslims in the Middle East.

It misses the point to talk about Muslim terrorists as crazy "extremists."  The Islamists understand, and rightly, that they are facing a do-or-die moment.  Either they push back against the power of western Christian capitalist democracy or they will be swallowed up into the western orbit.  This has happened time and time again over the last 500 years.  Some countries, like India, have pushed back and made a practical accommodation with the western way.  Some countries, like Russia and China, have gone through hell.  Many nations have been obliterated: think native Americans.

Some nations have made a heroic stand against the west: Plains Indians and their Ghost Shirt movement, the Chinese and their Boxer Rebellion.  And of course there is the course of the Indian national movement that began with the Great Rebellion of 1857 and ended with independence 90 years later.

Sometimes the barbarians at the edge of empire swarm into the empire and take it over.  That happened in Europe during the first millennium with the Sack of Rome and with the Mongol invasions of the 13th century.  China has repeatedly been invaded from the north.

But willy-nilly, the job of a US president is to push back against threats to US power and the Pax Americana.  President Obama pretends that he has done that: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.  Unfortunately the Benghazi killings remind us that Al Qaeda is definitely alive.  What is needed is not just stunts like the bin Laden operation and the drone operations but a cultural offensive, to show and to prove, in bin Laden's apt catchphrase, that the US is the strong horse and Islam is the weak horse.

Terrorism is, of course, an admission of weakness; it is military and cultural force hiding in the weeds and jumping out occasionally to create a spectacular diversion.  But it needs to be opposed calmly and firmly.

Meanwhile, the Muslim exodus from the Middle East to western Europe and to the US is going to transform Islam, just as the industrial age has transformed the native peoples of Europe and the US.  Anyone can explode bombs, but governments and businesses are driven by the need to perform, and the ability to deliver for their subject peoples.

When I voted for President Obama in 2008 it was primarily to force the Democratic establishment to face the reality of the post 9/11 world.  The result has been most satisfactory.  The illusions of the liberal faithful have been well and truly demolished, as Guantanamo lives and Bush's Patriot Act continues.  And Obama's foreign policy has been utter confusion as its anti-colonialist dream hits realpolitik reality.

It's up to Mitt Romney tonight to signal a return to reality, and begin the long, slow repair to the US strategic stance in the world.

4 comments:

  1. Why are all of you sites down? I'm trying to help an underinformed janitor at my workplace see that the president doesn't have his best interest at heart like he's been told.

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  2. "There is of course a vein of truth in the anti-colonialist world view." There is a vein of truth in most liberal sensibilities and for all the prentending that they are nuanced and open they approach everything with a sledgehammer. Enviromentatism, gay rights, union support, fiscal disparity - you name it - liberals are all in all the time. A conservative isn't just wrong he's evil. The military isn't a defensive protection system it's a genocidal, misogynistic glee club. A pro-lifer is woman hating paternaistic religious pig. I could go on... What bother's me is that the USA has demonstrated that wrongs can be righted and they usually are. Both domestically and foreign policy. But that's not good enough for liberalism. The USA must be destroyed and re-built - with a sledgehammer!

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  3. Before you point your boney finger at Democrats having to be dragged into standing up for American interests, maybe you ought to educate yourself with Richard Clarke's "Against All Enemies", which chronicles the empire building of the last 30 years and the direct results of what Republicans have reaped in the name of America.

    You probably won't like the insider's view, but I found it to be a fair and honest assessment of our foreign policy and the collateral damage that Democrats have been forced to repair.

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