Free Markets, Free People

America’s “New” Foreign Policy

Joltin’ Joe Biden previewed it in Germany yesterday:

As promised, Vice President Joe Biden reached out to the international community Saturday, saying the U.S. is open for talks with Iran and Russia to repair relations, and willing to work with allies to solve world problems.

But in his first major foreign policy speech for the new administration, the Democrat also warned that the U.S. stands ready to take pre-emptive action against Tehran if it does not abandon its nuclear ambitions and support for terrorism.

Repair relations?  Just words at the moment.

Pre-emptive action? I thought we quit doing that stuff. OK, pre-emptive action. Also known as maintenance of the status quo policy. “We want to repair relations but reserve the right to pre-emptively attack Iran”.

Good luck with that.

And while he said it is time to mend fences with Moscow, he said the U.S. continues “to develop missile defenses to counter a growing Iranian capability, provided the technology is proven and it is cost-effective.”

Continue to develop missile defenses? Status quo – but again, with the caveat “we want to mend fences”.

Good luck with that.

The article notes that Biden was “short on details”. No particular surprise there. But apparently the “tone” was just music to the diplomats ears.

For instance:

“I think Vice President Biden came to Munich today in a spirit of partnership,” British Foreign Secretary David Miliband told AP Television News. “I think he set an ambitious agenda with big goals and high objectives, and he called and challenged us to work with him. I think that’s the right spirit.”

That hits me as diplo-speak for “he’s going to do things the way we want them done”. And, of course, that’s not leadership.

Understand too that diplomats are also going to give this a positive spin because they stand to gain from it. That’s why Russia said:

“The tonality was rather encouraging. It was really a serious call to restart U.S. foreign policy — including, clearly, Russian-American relations,” said Konstantin Kosachev, head of the international relations committee in Russia’s lower parliament house.

That’s diplo-speak for “we think we can roll these guys”.

What details Biden did give included the aforementioned continuation of the missile defense and this:

“It’s time to press the reset button and to revisit the many areas where we can and should be working together with Russia,” said Biden. Yet, he added that the U.S. will continue to have differences with Moscow, including opposition to its efforts to carve out independent states in Georgia.

Again, “just words” and status quo.

And to Europe, Biden said:

Biden, who also met privately with a number of world leaders, including top officials from Russia, France, and Germany, told allies that they will be expected to share the burdens of fighting extremists and bolstering weaker governments and poor nations.

“America will do more, that’s the good news,” said Biden. “But the bad news is America will ask for more from our partners.”

I’m not sure why asking more from our “partners” is “bad news” but it certainly reflects a continuation of the status quo.

Lastly, this:

On another topic, Biden told the leaders that the U.S. needs their help in taking the detainees now held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

He repeated Obama’s vow that the U.S. will adhere to its values, not torture, and will close the detention center at Guantanamo that has spurred such criticism from European allies.

Of course we’ve since learned that the Obama administration has reserved the right to approve more intensive interrogation techniques and, of course, you don’t need Guantanamo if you continue give the CIA permission to use rendition as a tool to deal with terrorists.

But apparently, to this point, that hasn’t really penetrated the good will that Obama still enjoys among the Euro types. Once the new wears off and they’re actually pushed to contribute “more” they’ll probably “discover” the duplicity of Biden’s words.

Hope and change.


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20 Responses to America’s “New” Foreign Policy

  • I think the best evidence for expanding GDP comes from the temporary military spending that usually accompanies wars — wars that don’t destroy a lot of stuff, at least in the US experience. Even there I don’t think it’s one for one, so if you don’t value the war itself it’s not a good idea. You know, attacking Iran is a shovel-ready project. But I wouldn’t recommend it.

  • Reading this…..we’re totally boned aren’t we?

    There’s very little chance Putin or Ahnedawhatever doesn’t roll Ocarter.

  • Just words at the moment

    Well, no, not really.
    The moment is declarative of several things ;

    The relationships as he lists, were broken due to things we did.
    Thereby that the current misadministration will use usual Liberal tactics to try and repair them.  Specifically, the always ineffective/counter-effective Hind-lick maneuver.
    The current crop of democrats hasn’t learned a thing one from the mistakes of their brethren who held those positions in the past.
    We’re screwed.

  • Did he say… <em>Munich?!</em>

    Never let it be said that this administration doesn’t pay attention to symbolism. 

  • So Biden looked into Putin’s eyes and …

  • <i>[Obama’s willingness to use rendition etc.] hasn’t really penetrated the good will that Obama still enjoys among the Euro types.</i>

    Of course it hasn’t. They quietly cooperated with us for years on that stuff, remember? The only got upset when the media got ahold of it and made them look bad. They know damn well the world’s a rough place, and that without the US protecting them, they’re screwed. They’ll be hoping very hard right now that underneath the soothing noises, Obama’s just as evil as George was. 

  • Where are people like Erb and Pogue.  I would love to hear their rationalizations for Obama’s continuance of the policies that they railed against in the campaign.  Gitmo will be open for another year, the DOJ successfully asked the DC Circuit to stay the pending habeus corpus, 15 or so lobbyists are in major cabinet and White House positions, Obama will continue extraordinary rendition, he will continue enhanced interrogation techniques, his deficit spending on total cr** dwarfs what Bush spent, etc., etc.  Now Biden threatens pre-emptive war and says we will continue anti-missile defense development.

    However, I’m much more interested in hearing how Erb, Captain Sarcastic, Pogue and other, average Democrats justify their support for Obama when he is doing so many of the things that they criticized Bush for doing.  We all knew that Democrats were playing politics and now the evidence is there to prove it.  I have less of a problem with Obama being a liar than I do with my fellow citizens being so full of sh**.  Democrats are liars.  They hated George Bush because he was a Republican and they feel entitled to have Democrats running the government.   They cloaked their hatred in the pretext of principle.  They weren’t against pre-emptive war when Clinton attacked Serbia, then they were against pre-emptive war when Bush (with the authorization of Congress) attacked Iraq, now they are at least in favor of threatening pre-emptive war against Iran.   I live in California so maybe what I’m experiencing is worse than other parts of the country, but I really believe we are in the midst of events that will irrevocably change all of our lives for the worse.  Bush definitely deserves some of the blame because he failed in leadership on these economic issues.  But Democrats deserve even more blame because it was mostly their policies that he caved in to. 

    • Yeah well they are always right no matter how wrong they are.  It is part of being a leftist, being able to hold multiple contradictory thoughts at once (massive cognitive dissonance).

  • The US on Friday hit out at Islamabad after Abdul Qadeer Khan, the architect of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme, was freed after five years of effective house arrest for selling nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea.
    Mr Khan, a metallurgical engineer and the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme, was declared to be a free citizen, and allowed to move around the country, in a brief order by the chief justice of the Islamabad High Court.

    Another fine example of Obama/Biden/Hiliary Foreign Policy at it’s best.

  • Wow, so cynical McQ!  I think Obama recognizes that the US is in position to “lead” in terms of saying “do it our way,” but that we can build cooperative ventures to solve problems.   This is pragmatic foreign policy; we don’t change everything to please everyone because we have interests that transcend administrations.  However, we try to work with states and recognize that cooperation is more  effective than conflict.  You gotta admit, Bush was not very effective, especially in his first term, as he generally pushed the world away and then learned that the US was not strong enough to do that and get away with it.  Bush did start changing his tone in his second Administration (for which I have given him credit), but Obama is finally charting a path that recognizes that the US is not some kind of unipolar hyperpower that has the capacity to shape the world or “lead” it.  In military terms, Iraq and Afghanistan have taught us humility.  And now we’re learning humility about our economy.  We’re becoming more realistic, and Obama’s pragmatism is very, very promising.

    • Bush pushed the rest of the world away in his first term?  Like he pushed them away into a coalition of 50 countries in the war in Afghanistan?  Or the coalition of 40 countries fighting in Iraq?

      That’s some pushing away.

  • “The tonality was rather encouraging…”

    Ah, now I see. It ‘s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

    And now a ‘good news-bad news’ thing;
    The bad news is that there is another flatulent emission from Erb.
    The good news is that it is so insubstantial that it is relatively inoffensive.

  • Thanks for providing so aptly the case ijn point my comment lacked, Scott. At the very least, you can be counted upon to provide a bad example.

  • “So Biden looked into Putin’s eyes and…”

    Wrong end.

  • Steverino, if you’re denying that the Bush ‘with us or against us’ not only failed, but was changed by Bush himself when it was clear by 2005  it failed, then you’re really out of it.   Your numbers are not only off, but for Iraq they were tiny countries with minimal support which didn’t last.

    • Erb, Bush didn’t say “with us or against us”, the actual quote was “You are either with us or with the terrorists.” 

      My numbers are not off, Erb.  Here’s the list of countries involved on our side in Operation Enduring Freedom:

      1  Armenia
      2  Australia
      3  Bahrain
      4  Bangladesh
      5  Belgium
      6  Canada
      7  Congo
      8  Cyprus
      9  Czech Republic
      10  Denmark
      11  Egypt
      12  Estonia
      13  France
      14  Germany
      15  Greece
      16  Hungary
      17  India
      18  Italy
      19  Japan
      20  Jordan
      21  Kuwait
      22  Kyrgyzstan
      23  Latvia
      24  Lithuania
      25  Macedonia
      26  Malaysia
      27  Netherlands
      28  New Zealand
      29  Norway
      30  Oman
      31  Pakistan
      32  Poland
      33  Portugal
      34  Qatar
      35  Romania
      36  Russia
      37  Slovakia
      38  South Korea
      39  Spain
      40  Sudan
      41  Sweden
      42  Tajikistan
      43  Thailand
      44  Turkey
      45  Turkmenistan
      46  United Arab Emirates
      47  Ukraine
      48  United Kingdom
      49  United States
      50  Uzbekistan

      That’s 50, Erb.  So my number wasn’t off on that one.

      Here are the countried involved on our side in Iraq:
       1.  United States
       2.  United Kingdom
       3.  Australia
       4.  Romania
       5.  El Salvador
       6.  Estonia
       7.  Bulgaria
       8.  Moldova
       9.  Albania
      10.  Ukraine
      11.  Denmark
      12.  Czech Republic
      13.  South Korea
      14.  Japan
      15.  Tonga
      16.  Azerbaijan
      17.  Singapore
      18.  Bosnia & Herzegovina
      19.  Macedonia
      20.  Latvia
      21.  Poland
      22.  Kazakhstan
      23.  Armenia
      24.  Mongolia
      25.  Georgia
      26.  Slovakia
      27.  Lithuania
      28.  Italy
      29.  Norway
      30.  Hungary
      31.  Netherlands
      32.  Portugal
      33.  New Zealand
      34.  Thailand
      35.  Philippines
      36.  Honduras
      37.  Dominican Republic
      38.  Spain
      39.  Nicaragua
      40.  Iceland
      40 of them.

      You can apologize for your error any time.

      Clearly, not all of these countries are tiny.  Some of them quite large.  And an ally is an ally, Erb.

  • For Afghanistan you’re padding your list with countries that simply allow us to use their airspace or give some logistical support.  That really isn’t what’s meant (nor does it deny that the Bush administration severely damaged US prestige, US military readiness, US strength or the US economy, leading to the current steep national decline that Obama is trying to halt).

    Not sure where you’re getting your list on Iraq, but this supports my point:
    Of over thirty original supporters, a huge number left in 2004 when it became clear the US didn’t know what it was doing.  Of those that remained by 2007, many had less than 100 people, token forces not really supporting the US.   And, of course, the countries were/are, as I noted, small and often being paid off by the US.   The fact is, US credibility has been damaged by the fiasco in Iraq, something nobody can seriously deny.   US military capacity has been stretched to the breaking point, and that has weakened the country just as we’re starting to go into steep decline.

    Don’t say you weren’t warned and America’s decline — you were.

    • Logistical support is still part of the coalition, nimrod.

      And the list is a list of countries that had actual troops stationed in Iraq.

      I knew you wouldn’t admit your error.  But everyone else here knows you just got pwn3d.

  • The point that Erb keeps dodging is that Bush was able to forge two fairly broad coalitions.  That’s not the effect of someone who “pushes countries away”.

    Let’s also remember that much of Africa was very pleased with Bush because of what he did for AIDS on that continent.

    There were plenty of foreign policy successes under Bush.

    As usual, the real world has nothing to do with the world in Erb’s mind.