Meta-Blog

SEARCH QandO

Email:
Jon Henke
Bruce "McQ" McQuain
Dale Franks
Bryan Pick
Billy Hollis
Lance Paddock
MichaelW

BLOGROLL QandO

 
 
Recent Posts
The Ayers Resurrection Tour
Special Friends Get Special Breaks
One Hour
The Hope and Change Express - stalled in the slow lane
Michael Steele New RNC Chairman
Things that make you go "hmmmm"...
Oh yeah, that "rule of law" thing ...
Putting Dollar Signs in Front Of The AGW Hoax
Moving toward a 60 vote majority?
Do As I Say ....
 
 
QandO Newsroom

Newsroom Home Page

US News

US National News
Politics
Business
Science
Technology
Health
Entertainment
Sports
Opinion/Editorial

International News

Top World New
Iraq News
Mideast Conflict

Blogging

Blogpulse Daily Highlights
Daypop Top 40 Links

Regional

Regional News

Publications

News Publications

 
A Foreign Policy Reorientation
Posted by: Jon Henke on Friday, June 16, 2006

Michael Young has a very interesting proposal for reorienting US foreign policy in a less costly, more productive direction. The Israeli/Palestinian conflict is the primary agitant in the Middle East and our intervention does a lot more to cause us problems than to resolve the problem. So why not bow out and let them solve their own problems?
[T]he United States should tell Israelis and Palestinians that they are henceforth on their own, because the policies they are advocating can only lead to indefinite war.
[...]
What are the advantages of this? The U.S. has suffered unrelenting criticism for failing to resolve the Palestinian problem, no matter how much effort it has exerted. It has nothing to lose by pulling out of a no-win situation and making itself indispensable down the road, which would increase its diplomatic clout. It’s also time for Israelis and Palestinians to see just where their declared positions lead them, without the luxury of drafting outside anxieties into their struggle. Most controversially, the U.S. should substantially cut military assistance to Israel, as the surest sign of its neutrality; but it must also reaffirm to the Palestinians that any government refusing to recognize Israel’s right to exist within the 1967 borders will never enjoy vital foreign financial assistance.
we ought not enter "entangling alliances" based on the interests of other countries
The idea of abandoning a democratic ally is anathema to many in the US, but we ought not enter "entangling alliances" based on the interests of other countries. That was the basis of the foreign policy of Great Britain and the United States for much of the 19th century. It kept both out of some unnecessary conflicts, and prevented others from arising.

I believe a US foreign policy must be in accord with our values (i.e., democratization is both a moral good and in our security interests) and modest (i.e., we don't go abroad in search of monsters to slay). But while democratization is in our vital national security interest, that does not mean that actively seeking to democratize other countries is necessarily in our national security interest. Whether our approach to democratization is agressive (Iraq), pro-active (parts of Latin America), helpful (Taiwan) or merely cheerleading (Iran) is a big question.
It's the peripheral cases that are hard
I tend to think we should agressively defend democracies within a very small sphere wherein we are directly affected, offer some limited pro-active defense within a somewhat larger sphere and be fairly helpful in most countries which are not actively opposed to us. The principle should be that we ought not fight battles where the marginal cost could be greater than the marginal gain. In places like China, Iran and North Korea, that cost/benefit calculation obviously leans toward inaction. We should applaud the democratic movements, but no more. There's simply no percentage in putting ourselves on the line.

It's the peripheral cases that are hard. The Vietnam war is a good prior example. Today: is Taiwanese independence really worth a nuclear confrontation? Is Israeli advantage in their Middle East conflict really worth 9/11? Maybe, but it’s hard for me to see how entangling ourselves in the problems of nations only tangentially relevant to US national security helps us. In fact, it seems to have hurt us.
’we’ll deal with our problem. Once that’s gone, whatever is left is your problem’
However, when we do have a vital national security interest, the best path is to respond with overwhelming force. Sometimes, rarely, perhaps we ought to stay and nation-build. Other times, I’d have no problem with precision strikes. A ’we’ll deal with our problem. Once that’s gone, whatever is left is your problem’ approach.

The guiding principle of this foreign policy would be an interest in promoting freedom elsewhere as an antidote to war, but never at the expense of our own freedom at home.
 
TrackBacks
Return to Main Blog Page
 
 

Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
I understand your point. I agree that if it would lessen tensions that would lead to safer times, then it’s something we should consider. But at the same time, doesn’t it tell our allies "We’re behind you until we have no use for you, then you’re on your own."?

What happens to Israel when we pull out?

Can we still offer military response if they are attacked?
 
Written By: Robb Allen (Sharp as a Marble)
URL: http://sharpmarbles.stufftoread.com
Most controversially, the U.S. should substantially cut military assistance to Israel, as the surest sign of its neutrality; but it must also reaffirm to the Palestinians that any government refusing to recognize Israel’s right to exist within the 1967 borders will never enjoy vital foreign financial assistance.
This is a step that is long overdue. The current aid programs that Israel receive are holdovers from the Yom Kippur War aftermath and the peace treaty with Egypt (who also gets a few $ billion annually out of the deal). In that time, Israel’s GDP has grown to over $120 billion/year due in no small part to the slow but steady marginalization of the labor-oriented socialist policies of the early state. At this point US aid is more of a hindrance than a help to the country.

Suffice to say that any reduction in Israel aid must coincide with a likewise reduction in aid to Egypt. Surely, Egypt’s leaders are doing very little to advance the cause of democratization in the region lately. Nay, they are actively undermining our efforts in their neighborhood!

AFA the Palestinians go the EU will always be there to bail them out if the US withdraws its hand. No question about the Zeropeans’ "neutrality", is there?
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
But while democratization is in our vital national security interest, that does not mean that actively seeking to democratize other countries is necessarily in our national security interest. Whether our approach to democratization is agressive (Iraq), pro-active (parts of Latin America), helpful (Taiwan) or merely cheerleading (Iran) is a big question.
As you’ve demonstrated here, there are different ways to strive towards a goal. Iran might be better dealt with by opening talks and trade. A young population that wants the things we have is a much easier way to kill the theocracy there, then the hard-kill option.
However, when we do have a vital national security interest, the best path is to respond with overwhelming force. Sometimes, rarely, perhaps we ought to stay and nation-build. Other times, I’d have no problem with precision strikes. A ’we’ll deal with our problem. Once that’s gone, whatever is left is your problem’ approach.


This I have a big problem with.

Afghanistan after the Soviets left. Not our problem. Until it bit us in the ass several times because they were harboring bin Laden and giving him free reign to train his crew.

Failed and failing states are not in our best interests. If (big if) there is something we can do about them, we ought to do so.

Whether the failure is from internal mismanagement, external interference, or natural occurances, we must be ready to offer assistance, up to and including removing corrupt regimes, rebuilding institutions and providing for the immediate needs. And by we, I mean, the governments, corporations, and citizens of every free nation, not just the US.

See Thomas Barnetts, Pentagons New Map, and Blueprint For Action, for what I’m trying to get across.

You are right about aligning our foreign aid to more closely match our values, and what we hope to achieve.
 
Written By: Keith, Indy
URL: http://
The guiding principle of this foreign policy would be an interest in promoting freedom elsewhere as an antidote to war, but never at the expense of our own freedom at home.

So you’re saying Lincoln and FDR were BAD Presidents?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I see also that "New Libertarian" seems a LOT like the old libertarian, now too.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I’ll say Lincoln and FDR were bad presidents for the expansion of the federal government. Lincoln’s "What about my revenue?" war and FDR’s isidious plan to break up the nuclear family’s incentive to raise responsible children (known as "the government will take care of you" or social insecurity).

The attraction of Neo (to me anyway) was a more pragmatic attitude. "It’s a small world, after all." Enlightened self-interest is not served by a "na-na-na-na, I can’t HEAR you!!" approach to foreign policy. Changes are happening, we need to encourage those that are in our interest and discourage those that aren’t. Which is which is of course subject to debate and subsequent mistakes.
 
Written By: Richard
URL: http://soslies.blogspot.com
"I’ll say Lincoln and FDR were bad presidents for the expansion of the federal government. Lincoln’s "What about my revenue?" war"

What a fatuous comment. It was the "what about the constitution war!" The revenue power was incidental to the bigger question.

Yours, TPD, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Richard...
I’ll say Lincoln and FDR were bad presidents for the expansion of the federal government.
Interesting...
Lincoln’s "What about my revenue?" war
Somewhere in that war I recall some kind of Proclamation that affected some folks, but for the LIFE of me I can’t recall it’s name or who it was aimed at, someone help me out here
and FDR’s isidious plan to break up the nuclear family’s incentive to raise responsible children (known as "the government will take care of you" or social insecurity).
OK, and this relates to the Second World War, how? But Social Security OUTWEIGHS FDR’s contributions 1939-45? You have different priorities than me I guess.


 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Is Israeli advantage in their Middle East conflict really worth 9/11?
I reject the premise entirely simply because we’ve seen that at the end of the day, the terrorists want to bury us not because of our support of Israel, but because we don’t follow their twisted fundamentalist views.

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
The foreign policy you stated basicaly says that anytime we are engaged with a foriegn nation and another foreign nation doesn’t like it all they have to say is "we will hit you at home" and we will pack up and leave.
 
Written By: SkyWatch
URL: http://
Oh, Jon.
 
Written By: Moe Lane
URL: http://moeticae.typepad.com/
Hey how about we try this?

NO more foreign subsidies to any nation any more at all period! Or maybe you can point out to me how much better the world is since the USA started handing out it citizens money to a bunch of foreign despots?

Here is another strange idea:

We pull out all US troops from wealthy and sophisticated nations who are facing no type of foreign threat whatsoever.

And since I am dispensing radical concepts today, How about?

We dissolve Nato and start a new alliance of only democratic nations who are willing to foot a bill for our military protection, or else raise the size of their army’s to a reasonable level so they can really help us.

Of course its all just a pipe dream we all know its the poor American middle class who has to feed, fortify, and aid the entire world, bear all its burdens, bear all of its sneers and insults, and let any damn person who wants to come into the country and live off our wealth.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
NO more foreign subsidies to any nation any more at all period! Or maybe you can point out to me how much better the world is since the USA started handing out it citizens money to a bunch of foreign despots?
Foreign Aid is about 1% of the budget Kyle...
We dissolve Nato and start a new alliance of only democratic nations who are willing to foot a bill for our military protection, or else raise the size of their army’s to a reasonable level so they can really help us.
Surprise, Surprise Kyle, when adjusted for population size the US, UK, and France all field armies of comparable size. In short they do.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Joe,

Proclamation?

Do you mean Lincoln recinding General Fremont’s Emancipation Proclamation for his military district in Missouri in 1861?

Or the one excerpted here:
...as a fit and necessary war measure for suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and in accordance with my purpose so to do, publicly proclaimed for the full period of 100 days from the day first above mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States wherein the people thereof, respectively, are this day in rebellion against the United States, the following, to wit:

Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the parishes of St. Bernard, Plaquemines, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension, Assumption, Terre Bonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St. Martin, and Orleans, including the city of New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia (except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkeley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Anne, and Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth), and which excepted parts are for the present left precisely as if this proclamation were not issued.
William Seward, Lincoln’s Secretary of State, said about the difference "We show our sympathy with slavery by emancipating slaves where we cannot reach them and holding them in bondage where we can set them free." Please note that the second proclamation went all the way down to Parish (County to anyone outside Louisiana) level in order to prevent emancipating any slaves in Union controlled territory.

Massachusetts abolitionist Lysander Spooner, wrote in 1870 that "All these cries of having "abolished slavery," of having "saved the country," of having "preserved the union," of establishing a "government of consent," and of "maintaining the national honor" are all gross, shameless, transparent cheats – so transparent that they ought to deceive no one."

Did your know that Virginia, which was (at the time) a pro-Union State, sent a delegation, before any shots were fired, to meet with President Lincoln. They told Lincoln that Virginia was willing to act as an intermediary, and they believed they could convince the seceded States to re-enter the Union within six months, and that Virginia would perform this service if Lincoln would make two promises: 1) that he would not use force, and 2) that he would promise to adhere to the Constitution. Lincoln’s reply was, "What about my tariff?"

OK "revenue" was the wrong word, it was "tariff." But it most assuredly not "What about the slaves?"

I don’t have time to go into FDR other than to observe that th only war the Democrats have been in favoe of in the last century was the one when were allied with communists (who were losing rather badly at the time).
 
Written By: Richard
URL: http://soslies.blogspot.com
SkyWatch has got this one absolutely right. If our entire foreign policy depends on us not being threatened by those who dislike our allies, we should just quit the idea of existing in this world. The United States might as well just turn over national sovereignty to the UN and be done with this whole experiment in democracy started two hundred plus years ago.

Jon, I see that you have very clearly entered the Pat Buchanan paleocon/ Michael Scheuer leftist camp. Mr. Young apparently also belongs to this camp. Where the extreme right and the extreme left always join hands (although under cover of night, because you can’t be seen to be associating with each other) is in their hatred of Israel. Why is it Jon, that of all the countries in the world that we are allied with you pick at one of the smallest (in size and population)? For that matter, why do left and right wing extremists constantly pull their hair out screaming and frothing at the mouth about Israel, hmmm? I’m not going to drop a particularly nasty personal smear here, because from having read your columns for the past several months, I believe better of you and am certainly willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you are coming dangerously close to the camp of the Jew haters by your stated beliefs in this column.

Anyone who would openly associate with such obvious crackpot anti-semites as Buchanan, Scheuer, Noam Chomsky, David Duke and others of their ilk is risking not only their reputation, but their character. Why you would associate 9/11 or Iraq war 2 or Iraq war 1 or US involvement in the Middle East period with some half-baked notion about Israel? Unless of course, you believe as Buchanan does that the Israeli Ministry of Defense calls the shots on US foreign policy.

I choose not to believe that. I choose to believe that you are smarter and better than what the above mentioned individuals stand for. Your columns on this site (although I frequently disagree) are some of the best written blog work that I have ever read. You make reasoned and impassioned arguments and generally give excellent links to backup your positions. On this you are dead wrong. Pulling the rug of US support out from under Israel would only destabilize the situation in the Middle East, lead to further wars, legitimize Hamas’ position (and that of most of the Islamist groups) that Israel has no right to exist, and generally contribute to the annihilation of half of the world’s Jewish population. While I completely agree that our foreign policy urgently needs to be rethought, this is not the direction it should be going in.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://
Are you talking about the Morrill tariff?

If so, it was signed into law by Democratic President Buchanan (one of his last acts) before Lincoln took office.....

In April, after their tally of 8000 troops was measured from the 75000 required by Lincolns call for men to suppress the ’rebellion’ Virginia chose seccession.

The Republicans had campaigned in 1860 for higher tariffs (which the North supported) and Pennsylvania wanted it (which is where Buchanan was from).
Lincoln was prepared to enforce it though (well, duh, that was his job....)

Not to say it wasn’t said, but the "what about my tariff" comment brings up a pretty short list of sourcing even on google...
and, well, I’d be leary of using them in a document I had to answer for....
You’d think there’d be a bit more on it, but alas.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
So those slaves were NOT freed? And when asked about abiding by the Constitution wasn’t that a veiled argement for NOT ABOLISHING Slavery? And tariffs, no don’t remember that one, sure you aren’t confusing THIS crisis witht he crisis of 1832?
only war the Democrats have been in favoe of in the last century was the one when were allied with communists (who were losing rather badly at the time).
So WWI was OPPOSED by Democrats, because the REPUBLICAN President Wilson was in favour of the war? You DO know Wilson was NOT a Republican, right? And BTW, in Dec 1941 the Communists weren’t losing, they were winning in a relative sense. And you DO remember that the GERMANS DECLARED WAR ON THE UNITED STATES, not the other way around? The Declaration of war in the "Day of Infamy" speech was between the Empire of Japan and the United States?

You might:
1) Review American History so that you can make better conclusions; OR
2) Like Howard Zinn WRITE YOUR OWN US HISTORY TEXT, "US History According to Richard" or "A Justin Raimondo History of the United States."

And I’m a REPUBLICAN and I found your slur offensive. Offensive and something of a non sequitur, after all who cares if WWII was the only war the Democrats supported this century? FDR helped bring out a victory over Nazi Germany and I think that counts for a HECK of a lot, even IF Social Security was created.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
It looks to me like Israel provides a convenient distraction that the rulers of various human rights crapholes (Saudi Arabia, Syria, Egypt, Iran, etc.) in the mideast. They use this distraction to take the attention of their captive population away from their corrupt rulers and focus it on something else, in this case israel.

There may be some good policy reasons to reduce subsidies for Israel (and Egypt also). However, thinking it would do anything to either reduce strife in the mideast or reduce the islamicists dislikes for the US strikes me as pretty naive.

Furthermore, I believe one of Bin Laden’s main irritants was the presence of the US troops in saudi arabia, home to mecca and medina, not our support of israel. Also, US support for various corrupt and out of touch mideast regimes (egypt and saudi arabia)is probably more of an irritant to the islamists then US support for israel.
 
Written By: TJIT
URL: http://
Foreign Aid is about 1% of the budget Kyle...
so what?
Surprise, Surprise Kyle, when adjusted for population size the US, UK, and France all field armies of comparable size. In short they do.
I am highly doubtful, I would like to see evidence, And even if so, it does not mean that western Europe has footed anything like our level of burden throughout the cold war and afterward.

And what about my other point? What exactly are American troops protecting Europe from?
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
Anyone who would openly associate with such obvious crackpot anti-semites as Buchanan, Scheuer, Noam Chomsky, David Duke and others of their ilk is risking not only their reputation, but their character
Why is asking questions about America’s role in the world and questioning the current strategy somehow make you into a Buchanan or Chomsky (as if those two were anything alike)?

That is a stupid comment.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
UK and France have ~25% of the US population and they field armies about 1/4 the size of the US Army. The Active Brit Army 115,000, about 1/3 US Army 495,000...Brit Population about 1/4 of US population.

France fileds ~ 8-9 brigades active again ~1/4 active US Army....again 1/4 of US populace.

In fact, they may have MORE than the US per/capita.

As nations, Western, move towards the Anglo military model, All Vol. with heavy training, the costs rise, usually about the same amount in each nation, the result being that force levels tend to stabilize at ~ the same level on a per capita basis.

The US forces in Europe ARE, in part, a hold-over from the Cold War, but they also provide the bases for intervention outside of NATO. Remember in the 2nd Gulf War it was VII Corps (?, mayhap V Corps) that deployed to provide the armoured muscle for the Hail Mary. In short, European troops are a part of the "Forward Deployment" of the US Army.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
The US army is just short of half a million but what about the entire military forces? I know thats over a million, are you comparing only army to army? or are you comparing our army to their entire force structure.
Not to mention that we spend more money on related things, for instance, all of those bases we have around the world, guess what we spend lots of money paying those nations leases to give them our protection.

I don’t know if you are Mr. Gung-ho, but I am Mr. Fed-up, I would like to see, after we draw down our forces in Iraq (and that won’t be for a while), A serious rethinking of our entire commitment. There is something foul and nasty about being the world’s policeman when most of our so called allies do everything in their power to undermine and use us. I am not an isolationist, I am a pragmatist. We are shrinking in the world in relative terms and might not have the ability to be all things to all people anymore.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
"I believe better of you and am certainly willing to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you are coming dangerously close to the camp of the Jew haters by your stated beliefs in this column."

Jon,
YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED! Best get back on the reservation before it’s too late. This was predictable, though. Anytime someone expresses doubts or disagreements with our pro-Israel policy, someone raises the spectre of Jew-hating-anti-semite-crypto-nazi-etc.

Actually, I think Israel would be more accurately called a protectorate rather than an ally. An alliance usually implies a symbiotic or mutually beneficial arrangement, but I cannot see what benefit we get from our reflexively pro-Israel policy that comes close to our costs. Perhaps The Poet can enlighten me.

There. Now I, too, come dangerously close to being a raving, loony, jew-hating anti-semite.


 
Written By: tmactual
URL: http://
Oops! I forgot to capitalize Jew and Semite. Proof positive that I am anti-Semitic. On another site I was once actually accused of being an anti-Christion bigot because I forgot to capitalize the words God and Christian. The truth will out, no matter how I try to conceal my evil thoughts.

I just noticed, I don’t capitalize my name; I must be a self-hating anti-Semite.
 
Written By: tmactual
URL: http://
D*mn! I misspelled Christan! I am just getting myself in deeper and deeper. Is there a circl of H*ll(capitalized to be on the safe side) deep enough for me?
 
Written By: tmactual
URL: http://
Acck!!

(Total, hopeless, abject despair).
 
Written By: tmactual
URL: http://
I cannot see what benefit we get from our reflexively pro-Israel policy that comes close to our costs. Perhaps The Poet can enlighten me.
A nuke-less Saddam for one :)

 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
To KyleN : I have no problems with asking questions about America’s role in the world. On the contrary, I fully agree with you and urgently believe that we need to be asking some serious questions about the direction of our foreign policy. I don’t consider abandoning our alliance with Israel as a serious question. Unless you belong to the above stated Buchanan/Chomsky camp.

TJIT : You hit the nail on the head. OBL’s desire to wage war against the US and launch a holy crusade has absolutely nothing to do with Israel, the Palestinians, or the US alliance with Israel. It has to do with (as the timing of 9/11 clearly indicates) that his objection is to the idea of US troops on the holy soil of Saudi Arabia. Other Islamists couch their language of jihad against the US in such platitudes as the plight of the Palestinian people, or the evil of Zionism, etc. At least OBL was honest (at the time of 9/11, not afterwards) : the US alliance with Israel has nothing to do with Islamism.

To Tmactual : Had I wished to indict Jon or anyone else here using such a serious term as anti-semite, I would have made my intention very clear. I did no such thing, and your knee jerk denial and sarcastic assault makes me wonder if you have a guilty conscience here. As for your comment about Israel being a protectorate, not an ally, this sounds like Farrakhan rhetoric, "Israel is the 51st state." I assure you that Israel is a most capable state, certainly more worthy than some of our other "allies" to call itself an equal partner in its relationship with the United States. As for the benefits to the US, they are nearly limitless. Militarily, we have a strong ally (how many of our other allies [other than the UK] have successfully defeated enemies that literally surround them and outnumber then massively in not one, not two, not even three, but four wars) and base for our own forces in the Middle East should we ever need one (if our relationship with Saudi Arabia ever goes the way its people would prefer). Economically, Israel has been one of our better trading partners over the years and, despite a depressed economy for the past few years, has been making great strides in certain market segments. Also, they are a great source of cultural and educational exchange as they offer some of the finest universities in the world. Culturally they are very similar to the US norm (especially since the country was founded as a Judeo-Protestant nation). I could go on, but I daresay Dale, McQ, and Jon wouldn’t like me taking up page upon page of their site listing the pros to the US of our alliance with Israel. I think that we can all happily conclude that you sit firmly in the camp of the Buchananites (I would say Chomskyites, but you seem like more of a right-winger than a lefty). As for whether you are a self-hating Jew, well, perhaps you can go over to the lefty side of the camp and ask Chomsky himself.


 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://
Today: is Taiwanese independence really worth a nuclear confrontation?
Why should we risk war over "a people far away, about which we know little?"
 
Written By: Dale Franks
URL: http://www.qando.net
Or Dale, as my Dad said, "Do you go to war for a few mud huts in Ethiopia or Manchuria?" (Of course, he said this tongue-in-cheek, after having served overseas defeating the Wily Nipponese and watching Capra’s Why We Fight Series.) No Jon is RIGHT, you go to war AFTER the opponent has grown MUCH bigger and nastier and attacks YOU. That way it makes the triumph, if there is one, all the much SWEETER!

If the nasties annex their neighbors that the NEIGHBOR’S problem. If the nasties are attacking other nations across the seas in an imperial bid, well that’s China’s/Ethiopia’s problem. If men, women and children are being held in bondage as chattel property, in defiance of all you as a libertarian hold dear, offer’em a ’buy-out" program and realize that slavery is economically inefficient and that with the onset of the Egyptian cotton into the market and cheaper transportation and manufacturing that the slaves will be putting their owners at an economic disadvantage and that the problem will "sort" itself out in 20-40 years.

And at all costs, REMEMBER SACRIFICE NO FREEDOMS, if that means the German-American Bund and the American Nazi’s get to march about freely, so be it. If the Copperheads are conspiring to defeat the war effort, by all means let them! Gerrman spies come ashore, they get a trial, not summary courts and an execution! Create no "Office of War Information" and impose NO censorship, because if we become like the Slaveholders/Nazi’s what is the point of the war?

It’s all so clear to me now... I think I’m going to buy one of Rothbard’s books, too.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"makes me wonder if you have a guilty conscience here"

No, you don’t wonder, you have already concluded it.

"this sounds like Farrakhan rhetoric,"

LOL. Thanks for proving my point.

"an equal partner"

Equal partners bear equal burdens. What burden, pray tell, have the Israelis shouldered on our behalf in the last 50 years?


"Militarily, we have a strong ally (how many of our other allies [other than the UK] have successfully defeated enemies that literally surround them and outnumber then massively in not one, not two, not even three, but four wars) and base for our own forces in the Middle East should we ever need one"

Yeah, should we ever need a base to protect Israel.
How many troops have the Israelis contributed to our various efforts over the years? How much money? It’s a one-way alliance. In VN, for example, even the Philipines sent troops. If they ever did contribute troops, they have been paid for by us.

I am happy for the progress of the Israeli economy, but just how does that benefit us? Have they stopped taking our financial aid?


"especially since the country was founded as a Judeo-Protestant nation)"

LOL. Protestant? That must be a surprise to most of the founders.

). "I could go on,"

I am sure you could, but you havn’t told us what Israel has done for us? You sound like an ad from the Israeli Chamber of Commerce.


***********

By the way, if my memory is still functioning, the reasons given by the aircraft hijackers, etc. before Al Qaida existed, was our support for Israel.



 
Written By: tmactual
URL: http://
And just to stoke the flames, it is my position that Israel is not a viable independant country. It cannot survive without substantial outside military and/or economic aid. Without the constant support of the US, both governmentaql and private, since 1947, Israel would be just another bad memory.


Note to self;
(I realize the phrase "bad memory" can be interpreted in more than one way. I wonder which way it will be interpreted. Hmmmm).
 
Written By: tmactual
URL: http://
The Judeo-Protestant comment was meant to refer to the US, not Israel which is obviously not a Protestant nation. I think the vast majority of readers here would have understood what I was referring to here. I include you in the vast majority of readers tmactual, so therefore I conclude that your comment was merely more sarcasm.

Remind me again of the vast US assistance, economically and financially that was rendered to Israel prior to 1973? Especially during the 1947-67 period? I have searched and searched but just cannot find any records of US troops storming ashore to combat Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, etc. who were all doing their best to annihilate Israel. Now British and French help... hmmm, that I find, but US no, no can’t seem to find any. After 1973, that all changed. US policy toward Israel changed radically follwing the 1967 war. Part of it, I suspect was due to our own involvement in Vietnam, but there were other motivations as well. The history of US-Israel relations from 1947 to 1967 is one book. 1967 to the present is another. Which period would you prefer to discuss?

As for needing a base in Israel, how about for the worldwide war against terrorism or militant Islam? Oh, I forgot, you place the entire blame for the jihadists crusade against the US on Israel. My mistake. The only reason we would ever want a military presence in Israel is to protect Israel. Got it. If we tear up the treaties with Israel tomorrow, OBL and the other Islamists will throw parties in our honor and name their firstborn after George Bush.

As for OBL and his hijackers motivations, perhaps the date of 9/11 should provide a clue (hint: it’s not a significant date in Israeli history).

Moving right along to the economic argument. So your theory is that if a nation requires foreign aid, it is not viable (or at least not viable as a trading partner or ally)? Hmmm... that rules out just about the whole world doesn’t it? Or would you prefer that we only trade with a few western European nations, Canada, and maybe Japan?

When our trading partners’ economies improve, that helps us. It’s a win-win situation. More capital, more investment opportunities, better universities, more stable banks and businesses, etc.

As for your implication that Israel cannot survive without help, again let me direct your attention to the War of Independence which began less than a day after Israel became a sovereign state. They had no military support from anyone and still they won. How about 1967? No allies and still they won. 1973? Prior to US and Soviet diplomatic (and threatened military) intervention, Israel was about to become the new owner of some fabulous beachfront property on the Nile River. So I think we can put to rest the idea that the IDF is a paper tiger.

Lastly, Israeli Chamber of Commerce? Lol. That’s definitely a new one. Usually, I’m part of the evil Zionist cabal (you do remember those darned old Protocols?), or I’m an AIPAC spy. I must give you great credit for a fertile imagination.







 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://
Richard must think we are idiots, becase he wrote:
"2) that he would promise to adhere to the Constitution. Lincoln’s reply was, "What about my tariff?"
Lincoln had already promised to adhere to the Constitution (I suppose Virgiia and the South wasn’t listening), and the tarriff was constitutional. I guess in as much as he may have said it in as many words, Licoln was asking the South if it and the South was going to obey the Costitution.

The answer was no, and they got shot to h3ll for it.

That’s good enough.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
I agree with Mr. Young. US attempts to mediate the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have failed, and no one regards the US as an honest broker anyway. The US should stop all financial aid to the Hamas government, and all military aid to Israel. The US should make it clear that our friendship and alliance with Israel would bring us to their side in the event that Israel was facing an existential threat, but short of that we will no longer be involved either politically or militarily in their dispute with the Palestinians.

That said, I strongly disagree with Jon’s insinuation that our support of Israel was a proximate cause or motivation for the 9/11 attacks. Al Qaeda’s ideology traces it’s geneology to Egyptian jihadism, not Palestinian nationalism. Al Qaeda would like to see the whole Muslim world united into a single Islamic Caliphate. There is no more room in that vision for a Palestinian state in the Mid-East than a Jewish one. Al Qaeda is driven by cult religious, not political, motives.

Furthermore, if I did believe that the 9/11 attacks were directly linked to the US position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that would make me less likely to favor a change in our policy. If the US was seen as retreating from our support for Israel as a concession to terrorists in the hope of averting further attacks, that would more likely have the opposite effect.

 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
Apologies, but I’ve been out of town since shortly after I put up this post.
The foreign policy you stated basicaly says that anytime we are engaged with a foriegn nation and another foreign nation doesn’t like it all they have to say is "we will hit you at home" and we will pack up and leave.
No, absolutely not. It is simply that we ought to correlate our strategies to our resources; that we ought not put our necks on the line when our necks are not on the line.
Oh, Jon.
You’ll have to explain that. I suspect some people think this is an urge for isolationism, but it’s far from that. It’s a urge for modesty, caution, skepticism. We all believe we should draw a line somewhere, beyond which we won’t extend US force. Ok, where? There are "people far away, about which we know little" that all of us would argue we ought not expend US lives and treasure to intervene on behalf of. Where’s that line, what’s the rationale for it, and what’s the cost/benefit calculation based on? The notion that we ought to intervene militarily anywhere and everywhere is far more troublesome than the notion that we ought not intervene in some places.
We pull out all US troops from wealthy and sophisticated nations who are facing no type of foreign threat whatsoever.
Some places, sure. Others, no. There are legitimate US interests in having forward bases and a presence in some places.
Jon, I see that you have very clearly entered the Pat Buchanan paleocon/ Michael Scheuer leftist camp.
I have no idea what you mean by "hatred of Israel". I don’t hate Israel. My only opinion is that we need to either engage that region productively with a clear path towards resolution, or we ought to get out of it. There’s absolutely no percentage in standing between two sides who won’t stop shooting at each other. None.

I believe Israel is much more right than wrong, and I believe their Arab enemies are much more wrong than right. I also believe forcing them to resolve their differences without our hand-holding may end the problem sooner. Alternately, I’d be perfectly happy to see a diplomatic grand bargain, wherein we gauranteed Israel’s pre-67 border in exchange for a Palestinian state, a verifiably nuclear-free Middle East, and a METO of some sort that prevented militaristic tensions from getting out of hand.
you are coming dangerously close to the camp of the Jew haters by your stated beliefs in this column.
Interesting. Also interesting that my reticence to defend Taiwan to the (our) death doesn’t make me a "Asian hater". Why there’s such a widespread belief in Israeli exceptionalism, I don’t know.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
I agree that we should reorient our foreign policy towards Israel and the Palestinians. The correct reason for doing so is the same reason that we are reorienting our military basing policies, that is, to orient the policy to current assumptions and realities.

It made sense to have huge American military bases in Germany during the Cold War. It does not make sense during the WOT. It may have made sense to pour billions of dollars into Israel after the 1967 War. It may not make sense in 2007. (It is too bad that all of those billions did not win us enough leverage to dissuade the Israelis from buiding settlements willy-nilly.)

The wrong reason to reorient the foreign policy toward Israel is the hope or expectation that doing so will prevent future 9/11’s. I believe that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict was an after-thought for al Qaeda. They latched onto the issue opportunistically after 9/11 in order to drum up support for their jihad in the Islamic world. That being the case, turning down the heat on this issue may make it a little harder for al Qaeda to raise funds and convert new cannon-fodder for suicide missions, but it is unlikely to stop them from planning new 9/11 attacks.

Furthermore, if the US is perceived to be altering our foreign policy in an effort to prevent future 9/11’s that will send a signal to the terrorists that they have the ability to drive our foreign policy.

 
Written By: Aldo
URL: http://
I appreciate your response Jon and I certainly did not mean to imply that you, personally, are a hater of Israel and/or Jews in general. My post was more of a statement that the beliefs you express in your column here seem to put you in the company of those who are legitimate Israel haters. I think that is a position which requires some serious re-examination.

I’m happy to see that, as a rule, you do tend to suppor the Israeli position in the great Middle East conflict, however your assertion that we should "either engage that region productively in a clear path toward resolution or we ought to get out" is incorrect. You assume that we have not chosen either option, when in fact the US has been consistently attempting to push Israel and the Palestinians toward a satisfactory resolution of their differences. This has been going on seriously since at least Clinton’s time in office. Every time an aggrement seems to be reached, the Palestinian leadership backs off and declares an intifada. Just becaue one side seems to be unwilling to play does not mean that we should just take our toys and go home.

I think that in my exchanges with tmactual who seems to agree with you, I have laid out numerous advantages of a continued strong US - Israel alliance. You have not demonstrated clear reasons why an end of this alliance would be beneficial other than some jabs at Israel for being the cause of 9/11. Or at least that the US has been targeted because of our alliance with Israel in any case.

Aldo put the notion that 9/11 would never have happened were it not for our friendship with Israel to bed very nicely. I don’t think that I can add anything to that.

As for the Taiwan thing, show me the close cultural ties between the US and Taiwan. The US was founded clearly as a Judeo-Protestant nation. Our founders, with a very very few exceptions, belonged to one of the above religions and based many of the decisions they made in creating this nation’s government and laws on their religious beliefs. Israel is much the same way. Although it is an overtly Jewish state and the US is openly secular, the common bonds are there if you look for them. Israel is a modern, Western style democracy with a similar idea of civil rights as the US. The dominant religions in both countries are similar in origins. Taiwan is none of the above. Taiwan is the tattered remnant of a failed nationalist, military dictatorship. Although it has evolved into a thriving democracy, I assure you that the similarity between it and the US (or Israel) ends there. We have no cultural ties with the Taiwanese. Is that a reason to pull the rug out from under them and abandon them to Chinese imperialism? Absolutely not! I believe that the US alliance with Taiwan should continue and that we should continue to help them negotiate from a position of strength with mainland China. I’m simply pointing out the flaw in comparing apples to oranges here.
 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://
"Now British and French help... hmmm, that I find,"

Where? I would like to see that.

"Oh, I forgot, you place the entire blame for the jihadists crusade against the US on Israel"

Once again, where? I am curious to see where I said that.

"If we tear up the treaties with Israel tomorrow"

What treaties would those be?

"As for OBL and his hijackers motivations, perhaps the date of 9/11 should provide a clue (hint: it’s not a significant date in Israeli history"

I can only conclude from this and other remarks that you are too young to remember that history, even in the middle east, did not start on 9/11, and that OBL et al. are not the only players in the Muslim world.

"So I think we can put to rest the idea that the IDF is a paper tiger."

And where did it get its teeth? And who paid for them?

****************
"It made sense to have huge American military bases in Germany during the Cold War. It does not make sense during the WOT."

Sure it does. It’s good for recruiting. Given the choice between being stationed in El Paso or Heidelberg, which would you prefer? Granted, El Paso has better Mexican food, but my money is on Heidelberg.





 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
To very very briefly reply to timactual’s comments (I will post a more detailed response later) :

In the early years of Israel’s history (pre-1967), you will find substantial cooperation between Israel and France. The UK (though inherently anti-Israel) did intervene in the 1954 Suez crisis. Although the British motivation was sheer colonialist nostalgia, it was, in effect, a pro-Israel move.

The part about placing the blame on Israel was misdirected. That goes back to Jon’s original column here. Sorry you got caught in that particular crossfire.

The treaties I am going to have to post later as I have no time to link to them right now.

As for my age, you flatter me by calling me too young. I am certainly old enough to spot an ad hominem attack when I see one (and although not old enough to remember the War of Independence sixty years ago, I certainly can remember some of the others). As for the specific comment about OBL, again this entire comment section came out of a column which Jon posted which implied that were it not for the US alliance with Israel 9/11 would not have happened. If you would like to discuss the history and motivations of Hamas and other Islamists, I would be happy to oblige.

The IDF orignially began as an outgrowth of the Hagganah (primarily) and the Irgun. Both of these were underground resistance organizations formed to combat the rabidly anit-Israel British authorities and, to a lesser extent, the Arabs and French. Many of the post-World War 2 Hagganah leaders and frontline soldiers were veterans of World War 2 having served (primarily) with the British Army. Their early equipment was mostly cast-offs that they purchased from Britain and France. Indeed, if you look at the early IDF uniforms, they are clearly derived from the old British WW2 uniforms. Israel’s primary arms dealer until post-1967 or so was France. The IAF’s planes were mainly Mirages (with some few other aircraft purchased from Britain). The early Israel Navy forces were equipped with French built gunships. The US did not become a major arms dealer to Israel until the 1970’s. Even today, though, many of the key IDF weapons systems are internally developed (Merkava tank, Cfir fighter aircraft, the David missile, etc.) and paid for. I can conclude from your comment here that this is little more than pointless Israel-bashing. If you are really concerned about US foreign aid money being used to purchase weapons, why not also mention Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Venezuela (until recently), Russia, Japan, Germany, France, Italy, Lebanon, Iran, etc., etc.


 
Written By: The Poet Omar
URL: http://
Two problems with the "withdraw from Israel" idea:

1. The press will still want us to "do something" about the endless violence there. We might still have to veto in the UN for Israel (unless we just abstain and let them vote all manner of resolutions through.) Will we still sell them weapons and spare parts, or do we have to stop that as well to avoid being seen as a crypto-ally?

2. By removing your aid from Israel, you also remove your leverage. The Israelis could make us regret that. What if they sell advanced technology to China? Would we have enough clout to stop that?

I think the timing issue is important - we can’t make it seem like we are "giving in." I think we could simply switch dollar for dollar any aid from Israel to Iraq and Afghanistan without making it look like a Hamas victory. Perhaps a minor cut for Egypt too, with that going to help Darfur.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
I’ve got a good book for you on this topic, Jon:

Ivan Eland of the Independent Institute: "The Empire Has No Clothes".

Mariginal cost and Marginal utility is a very good way to think about these things.

However, this worldview runs smack against the zeitgeist of doing more. 9/11 has caused a lot of people to believe that failed and/or failing states are dangerous. They’re right, to an extent - although 9/11 could have been done ten or twenty or thirty years ago and was brought on by our role as the world’s policeman. Failed/failing states have always been dangerous and will remain so.

But we can’t, and haven’t even tried, to fix the 100 or so failing states in this world - and we certainly can’t do it with the U.S. Armed Forces, which were built to break things, not to fix them. We can zap terrorists, but not all of them.

But the zeitgeist, at least among the nation’s elite, is more, more, more. We were already headed in this direction, and OBL has certainly fueled the fire.


The only remaining question is whether we can manage to do more harm than good. Around here, anyway, people are interested in "fixing" failing states by substituting the UN with a self-celebrating Group Of Democracies, ending foreign aid, and banning immigration into the US. Clearly, withdrawal from the world can destabilize the world as much as overaggression. It’s a tough line to walk.

As for Israel/Palestine: since George Bush Jr. was elected, we basically already took your advice. We can’t really disengage from that conflict much more than we already have without disengaging from our foreign relations with both countries themselves. That’s a tempting idea, but the marginal domestic political costs are higher than whatever legitimacy "honest brokerism" gains we’d achieve.

You’re certainly right about one thing, though: we shouldn’t be putting US soldiers into long-term counterinsurgency ops. Period. In the GWOT, it’s all about pinpoint. Anything else is the world’s biggest gift to the Islamic fundamentalism.

A small group of maniacs tried to blow us up because, broadly, they saw us as the world’s policeman to a bad system. A lot of people in other countries sympathized with that critique. We’re only winning the soft power battle because their vision of a future world is worse than the current system. Trying to make failed states unfailed by the power of the bullet is something for only the direst of emergencies.

Generally, taking a lower-profile role around the globe might help, but unless it came in combination with higher-profile by some other party, we’d still be blamed for most of the world’s problems. Even if you try to stop being the world’s policeman, the world won’t stop thinking of you that way until someone else steps in.
 
Written By: glasnost
URL: http://
We should applaud the democratic movements, but no more.

As an immigrant from the USSR, I know full well how important US sponsored Russian language broadcasts of Radio Free Europe, Radio LIberty and Voice of America were to the demise of communism. If "applauding" also means supporting anti-totalitarian movements financially and through propaganda channels, then I agree. Unless "applauding" only means standing on the sidelines rooting for people that are being slaughtered.

Another statement I am not sure I agree with, well, I am quite sure I do not agree with it, really:
A ’we’ll deal with our problem. Once that’s gone, whatever is left is your problem’ approach.
As someone commented already, this approach has been tried before and it always come back to bite us. Afghanistan is a classic example. When our problem (beating back the USSR) was solved, we left and forgot about Afghanistan. It came back later to haunt us on 9/11.

More on the subject here
 
Written By: Cyrill
URL: http://cyrillvatomsky.com
Jon, you’re right, it is an urge for modesty, caution and skepticism. Lines must be drawn, to be sure. But your conservative impulse hits it just right. It was approach utilized by the Bush 41 boys (Scowcroft, Baker, Powell) in not sacking Saddam in ’91. I recall being upset by that decision initially. But once I understood that there were deep divides between Sunnis Shia and Kurds (something I didn’t know at the time), the rationale made sense, common sense. Overcoming these divisions would’ve been nice in the abstract but ultimately presented an unrealistic goal. In addition, Iraq was Iran’s biggest regional enemy. These practical points won the day. Unfortunately, they were ignored in the unrealistic zeal to transform the ME.
 
Written By: kreiz
URL: http://
Kreisz, yeah those Brown folks in the Middle East CAN’T HANDLE DEMOCRACY...They NEED a strong man to run them. *SIGH*
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Yeah, Joe- witness the transformational power of democracy in Palestine. What an incredible metamorphasis. I remain very skeptical.
 
Written By: kreiz
URL: http://
And yet, look at Iraq... you know the place that can’t run itself because of the DEEP DVISIONS within the nation... seems to be moving ahead. Even Iran has elections. So I guess the Middle East CAN support democracy.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
It’s not just democracy that we’ve set out to establish, Joe. I vividly recall President Bush describing his vision of Iraq as a stable, democratic Iraq that’s a friend of the United States. I don’t think we have an overriding interest in creating anti-US democracies in the region. In my estimation, unfortunately, that’s exactly what we’re likely to have- whether it’s in Palestine, Iran or Iraq.
 
Written By: kreiz
URL: http://
I don’t think we have an overriding interest in creating anti-US democracies in the region. In my estimation, unfortunately, that’s exactly what we’re likely to have- whether it’s in Palestine, Iran or Iraq.


Sure I see... Iraq is going to be ANTI-American after we liberated it from Saddam. I see it... I see Iraq turning its back on it’s Number 1 trading and security partner.. well really I don’t.

And IF Iran throws out the Mullahs, you’re telling me that the Iranians are going to be ANTI-American? I’m not seeing it, but that’s just me.

The Palestinians, yeah it’s true they don’t like us and they probably won’t. It won’t kill me that they don’t like us. I’d prefer the friendship of Israel any way.

I’m seeing your argument shifting, from "Well the Middle East isn’t SUITED for democracy..." to "Well you son’t LIKE the democracies created."
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
I don’t think we have an overriding interest in creating anti-US democracies in the region.
I am not sure it is a likely scenario, unless we consider countries like Egypt - countries that never had a "former president" - to be democracies.

A universal suffrrage based democracy requires a strong middle class and thus requires a more or less developed capitalist system. Since interests of capitalist economies are based on interests of Capital and not of National Superstructure, it is unlikely that developing capitalist democracies will result in any of them being ant-US.
 
Written By: Cyrill
URL: http://cyrillvatomsky.com
As I recall, Saddam garnered 100% of the vote in his democracy.
 
Written By: kreiz
URL: http://

 
Add Your Comment
  NOTICE: While we don't wish to censor your thoughts, we do blacklist certain terms of profanity or obscenity. This is not to muzzle you, but to ensure that the blog remains work-safe for our readers. If you wish to use profanity, simply insert asterisks (*) where the vowels usually go. Your meaning will still be clear, but our readers will be able to view the blog without worrying that content monitoring will get them in trouble when reading it.
Comments for this entry are closed.
Name:
Email:
URL:
HTML Tools:
Bold Italic Blockquote Hyperlink
Comment:
   
 
Vicious Capitalism

Divider

Buy Dale's Book!
Slackernomics by Dale Franks

Divider

Divider