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  • The hijacking of American Foriegn Policy

    I recently read a report by America's Survival, Inc. The report entitled "The Hijacking of American Foreign Policy: How the United Nations Subverts US Interest" was prepared by Cliff Kincaid. (I'm certain a number of Americans know him.)

    The 100+ report, which is being distributed free, discusses the recent problems with the UN and offers causes for alarm. Some of the report is suggestive. Other parts, such as the communist conspiracy, seem to be out rageous. Yet, there were points highlighted that were valid.

    Observations in Foriegn policy:

    - The United States must recognize the Cold War policies of the past no longer apply. The demise of Communism and the current stability in Europe means governments will focus increasingly on promoting their foriegn agenda. We must establish standards to ensure expansive foriegn policies don't

    a. Undermine US interest

    b. Are not misunderstood as suggesting a hostile intent.

    Other countries want a piece of the pie that has made America so prosperous. We can't stand in the way of this move. Instead, we should learn how to operate within it.

    - Establish when and when not to consider the opinion of our allies in shaping foriegn policy. The US can't design policies that completely ignore the opinions of outsiders. However, not every problem is a matter for the UN. This has been a longstanding unwritten rule. We need to incorporate it into doctrine.

    Every major player in the UN have acted unilaterally when it deemed necessary, even if it didn't have UN support, or if UN support would not be forthcoming. This trend will continue as nations expand their foriegn interest. The United States should always consult and consider the concerns of regional leaders first, then everyone else.

    - Make drastic reforms to economic aid, including assistance provided through the UN. The report did make me conclude that it is counterproductive to just pump money into the organization without seeing positive change. The American people probably spend more on humanitarian aid than any country on earth. Yet, there is not much to show for it. Our aid should be streamed lined to make sure the dollars go where needed, and are not employed to fuel any agenda of counciling members.

    - Work to establish better relationships with our allies, built on the current world situation. I believe the main problem between most of Europe and the US is that we're operating in different times. Europe wants to be seen differently. America seems not prepared to accept that. Our alliances must change. That doesn't mean someone becomes a new enemy. It just means the relationship is reconstructed based on how the world is today.

    - If the decision to act unilaterally is made, don't go to the UN. Bush made the mistake to go to the UN after he decided to act unilaterally if necessary. The US should not be ashamed of acting alone if it is in our best interest. However, we can't pursue two courses.

    I don't support Kincaid's position about the UN conspiring with communist and Islamic fanatics. Nor do I believe the US should walk away from the organization. That would be a mistake. However, the US need to understand the world we live in, and it's people. They must be weighed properly in how we execute foriegn policy. If other nations refuse this, that's fine. It should not alter our position. We have accept the possibility the UN is going to be used for ill. It's happened in the past, and will occur again. We must determine when international law has gone from objective to suggestive and act appropriately.

    One other thing,

    My personal concern: I fear new political leadership emerging today is increasingly detached from WWII. Europe will never forget it. It's one thing to fight on the soil. It's another to live there. While the world has changed, I do believe we should not forget that war. We can't live in that era, but should keep the lessons learned close. I do have some concern young American politicians might be forgetting this.

    These are some of my observations based not only on Kincaid's report, but the situation in general. I do support multilateralism. However, we must apply it appropriately, not as a blunt stamp.

    I am prepared to transfer the report to Word or pdf if people want. It would take a bit. Like I said, it has some radical ideals, but also some good points.
    "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

  • #2
    Re: The hijacking of American Foriegn Policy

    Originally posted by Deltapooh
    We must establish standards to ensure expansive foriegn policies don't

    a. Undermine US interest
    With all do respect, what exactly are 'US interests'? This whole rhetoric coming out of many nations (not just the USA) about 'national interests' is usually quite vague. I understand that in some cases, the US interest is for a progressive and democratic government. However, due to the 'selective' nature of this interest, one can't help but wonder that purely selfish (bordering on Imperiialistic) economic and political interests are involved. While I'll give Bush the benifit of the doubt when it comes to the wellbeing of the Iraqi people, but both his and Cheney's history with big oil, and the coincidence that Iraq happens to have a large supply of it, makes one question some of the Bush's motives.

    - If the decision to act unilaterally is made, don't go to the UN. Bush made the mistake to go to the UN after he decided to act unilaterally if necessary. The US should not be ashamed of acting alone if it is in our best interest. However, we can't pursue two courses.
    Doesn't this in a way undermine the whole point of the UN? The USA isn't the only one who acts unilaterally, but if the largest and most important players don't play by the 'rules', why should anyone else? Obviously there is a point at which unilateral action is required. If my country was invaded, or had her sovereignty directly violated/threatened, I would expect my government to act, with or without any international support. However, that would be an extreme circumstance, and not a semi-regular occurance. Nor should it be used as an exuse for some military adventure half way around the world. You can't claim to support an organisation like the UN, while acting unilaterally on a regular basis. It defeats the whole concept of collective action.


    Nor do I believe the US should walk away from the organization. That would be a mistake. However, the US need to understand the world we live in, and it's people. They must be weighed properly in how we execute foriegn policy. If other nations refuse this, that's fine. It should not alter our position. We have accept the possibility the UN is going to be used for ill. It's happened in the past, and will occur again. We must determine when international law has gone from objective to suggestive and act appropriately.
    I am currently reading Henry Kissinger's book 'Diplomacy'. Interestingly, he points out (perhaps his own claim though), that the whole concept of collective security, and institutions like the League of Nations and the UN, were ideals proposed and promoted by the USA. The League of Nations was Woodrow Wilson's brainchild, while the UN was FDR's. Both Wilson's and FDR's ideas of collective security stem from a new American concept of foreign policy, as opposed the the traditional European concept of Balance of Power. Yet nowadays, some of the strongest critics of the UN and collective security, are American. What has changed? Has the concept of collective security lost its effectiveness in a changing global political system? Has the UN lost sight of its purpose -> world peace? Are some of the bigger players frustrated that they can't manipulate the UN, to achieve their own self-interests?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Martin Schenkel

      With all do respect, what exactly are 'US interests'? This whole rhetoric coming out of many nations (not just the USA) about 'national interests' is usually quite vague. I understand that in some cases, the US interest is for a progressive and democratic government. However, due to the 'selective' nature of this interest, one can't help but wonder that purely selfish (bordering on Imperiialistic) economic and political interests are involved. While I'll give Bush the benifit of the doubt when it comes to the wellbeing of the Iraqi people, but both his and Cheney's history with big oil, and the coincidence that Iraq happens to have a large supply of it, makes one question some of the Bush's motives.
      In the simplest term of the word, "interest" are those developments that deal with all forms of the national power spectrum. This includes political, social, economic, military, and information. "Vital interest" are those developments that clearly can affect the survival of a nation. This class is usually limited to the economic and security (military) factors of national powers. However, it could also include political ideology as was the case during the Cold War.

      The larger a country is, the more interest in incurs. This is because it's growth usually depends on the national powers of other smaller nations. These smaller countries adopt similar policies and ideals as the larger power. However, it shows less interest in expanding most forms of national powers. It also depends on the large power for things like security and economic stability.

      So if someone threatens the smaller country, the larger power can conclude that this is a threat to it's interest, even though it's not exactly a direct threat. The political, social, economic, and military changes might undermine the large countries power. So it acts to maintain the status quo.

      This kind of reaction to interest also covers resources like oil and water.

      The US faces a new problem. What happens when you have all the interest, and you don't leave enough for the people around you? Europe has to expand beyond it's borders. It's needs to have a wider physical position on the planet to support economic growth and security. However, in doing so, this will undermine American power. The options are suppression, cooperation, or skillful participation. Suppression is clearly not the answer. The people will act. Cooperation is always a good ideal, but I'm not certain political ideals will tolerate this along every level. I also believe most people are not content with sharing a pie. They want their own. So skillful participation is a better choice. Under this, the US acknowledges growth, and selects what it must keep to maintain a relatively dominating status, while giving everyone a chance to have fulfill their own dreams.

      We have to be smart though. Those conditions that ensure our own status are likely desired by those around us. The UN threatens to force the US to share what it can't. That's why I say we need to make it clear the US will protect it's interest. This includes dominating the Middle East.

      Bush is fighting for things that he shouldn't. He was unwilling to honor French contracts for 25% of Iraqi oil! If we let them have this, France will certainly tone down it's criticism. So would those who believe we invaded merely to seize oil. At the same rate, we'll be in position to ensure the French and more importantly Russians don't make a move to seize the rest.

      We don't need to own the world to maintain our status. However, we do need to adjust and just fight for what is necessary.

      The UN can be used by some to steal American power. Multilateralism doesn't always favor the US. It could mean countries obtaining power without getting their hands dirty. This is what I want to prevent.

      Bush is foolish and greedy. He'll need to make some compromises to maintain our position. He simply must choose his fights wisely.

      Doesn't this in a way undermine the whole point of the UN? The USA isn't the only one who acts unilaterally, but if the largest and most important players don't play by the 'rules', why should anyone else? Obviously there is a point at which unilateral action is required. If my country was invaded, or had her sovereignty directly violated/threatened, I would expect my government to act, with or without any international support. However, that would be an extreme circumstance, and not a semi-regular occurance. Nor should it be used as an exuse for some military adventure half way around the world. You can't claim to support an organisation like the UN, while acting unilaterally on a regular basis. It defeats the whole concept of collective action.
      The UN has many problems. I don't believe the US is necessarily the source for all them. I agree that walking against the UN carries alot of risk. However, when countries get unreasonable, we might not have a choice. We need to be prepared to address this without hesitation. The UN has to act reasonably or get side stepped. Right now, it's far to political to be very reasonable and objective.

      Unilateralism didn't hurt the Bush administration. He never made a good case for going to war. He came in like a bull and got stopped by the red cape. He focused more on getting US support rather than shoring up the international front. Most of countries could have been ignored. Russia had no business in the debate at all. We've spent decades trying to keep them out. That won't change.

      However, France did have an interest greater than people understood. The war actually threatened France's vital interest; economically. I wanted to contain France to make sure it didn't seize all of Iraq's oil along with Russia. However, we did go very far to harming the long term status of her economy. I believe the US should consider that more.

      I am currently reading Henry Kissinger's book 'Diplomacy'. Interestingly, he points out (perhaps his own claim though), that the whole concept of collective security, and institutions like the League of Nations and the UN, were ideals proposed and promoted by the USA. The League of Nations was Woodrow Wilson's brainchild, while the UN was FDR's. Both Wilson's and FDR's ideas of collective security stem from a new American concept of foreign policy, as opposed the the traditional European concept of Balance of Power. Yet nowadays, some of the strongest critics of the UN and collective security, are American. What has changed? Has the concept of collective security lost its effectiveness in a changing global political system? Has the UN lost sight of its purpose -> world peace? Are some of the bigger players frustrated that they can't manipulate the UN, to achieve their own self-interests?
      "Diplomacy" was required reading in college. I admired both Kissinger's skills as a diplomat, and his calm behavior. I took anger management classes to improve my attitude.

      FDR and Wilson likely never envisioned the world today.
      "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Deltapooh

        The larger a country is, the more interest in incurs. This is because it's growth usually depends on the national powers of other smaller nations. These smaller countries adopt similar policies and ideals as the larger power. However, it shows less interest in expanding most forms of national powers. It also depends on the large power for things like security and economic stability.

        So if someone threatens the smaller country, the larger power can conclude that this is a threat to it's interest, even though it's not exactly a direct threat. The political, social, economic, and military changes might undermine the large countries power. So it acts to maintain the status quo.
        Some very ineresting points. I never thought about it that way, and it certainly is starting to make a bit of sense. I don't agree with it (morally), but it makes sense. I just find it odd, that a country like the USA or others would claim a 'national' interest on the other side of the world.

        However, whose 'interest' takes precedence? The larger power, in order to maintain its own power and the status quo, or the smaller power, in order to maintain its own sovereignty? While it makes sense that the larger power would want to maintain its own power, at what point are these 'interests' considered interference/imperialism?


        The UN has many problems. I don't believe the US is necessarily the source for all them.
        Certainly not. It seems (to me at least), that the world is begining to slightly shift away from the 90s trend of globalisation. Perhaps it was Sept/11th that caused some to take a brief moment to step back and re-think a bit, rather than a major trend. The lack of credibility/respect given to the UN by many nations, dosen't help either. Then again, the whole concept of collective action is always difficult, whether interpersonal or international. People naturally want what's best for themselves, not someone else.


        "Diplomacy" was required reading in college. I admired both Kissinger's skills as a diplomat, and his calm behavior. I took anger management classes to improve my attitude.

        FDR and Wilson likely never envisioned the world today.
        To even out the balance a bit, when I finish 'Diplomacy' (I'm aiming for christmas 2004 ), I happened to find a book called 'The Trial of Henry Kissinger', with obviously a different view of his achievements. I never did like Kissinger, but he was an intelligent man, and knew what he was doing.

        Anger management? You!? Wow, I never would've thought it. I always admire your diplomatic attitude.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Martin Schenkel

          Some very ineresting points. I never thought about it that way, and it certainly is starting to make a bit of sense. I don't agree with it (morally), but it makes sense. I just find it odd, that a country like the USA or others would claim a 'national' interest on the other side of the world.

          However, whose 'interest' takes precedence? The larger power, in order to maintain its own power and the status quo, or the smaller power, in order to maintain its own sovereignty? While it makes sense that the larger power would want to maintain its own power, at what point are these 'interests' considered interference/imperialism?
          It doesn't make alot of sense to me. There are times when a country, including the US, make exaggrated claims of national interest. Vietnam, was a good example. Eisenhower's Domino Theory was never properly tested. A thorough analysis of Ho Chi Minh, Chinese foriegn policy, and the Vietnamese people would have cast serious doubt on "The Domino Theory."

          The larger nation's interest almost always takes precedence. It tends to justify the moral question by concluding their actions will make things better. This is sometimes true. Yet, other times, it doesn't work out that way.

          Imperalism occurs when the larger nation decides to grossly undermine the soveriegnty, prosperity, and way of life of the smaller nation. In the past, empires would cover the whole spectrum.

          Certainly not. It seems (to me at least), that the world is begining to slightly shift away from the 90s trend of globalisation. Perhaps it was Sept/11th that caused some to take a brief moment to step back and re-think a bit, rather than a major trend. The lack of credibility/respect given to the UN by many nations, dosen't help either. Then again, the whole concept of collective action is always difficult, whether interpersonal or international. People naturally want what's best for themselves, not someone else.
          I believe 9/11/01 brought individual thinking to the front stage. People had different views about American and internaitonal policies, and decided now was the time to express them. It's clear alot of the issues that ignited the debate existed long before Sept. 11, 2001. The world never re-examined itself appropriately after the end of the Cold War.

          Neccessity changed that. We don't have a choice, but to accept the world, and it's people have different ideals. The US can no longer dedicate. As you stated, people what is best from them. Instead, we need to be honest, and build off of what we agree upon. I highly doubt anyone in Europe gave a hoot about Saddam. Most people wouldn't mind if he died. However, the US basically sprung the Iraq issue on the people, and immediately said "I don't care what you think."

          People need to feel not only justified, but wanted. Bush never provided a clear definition warranting war. More importantly, he made people feel as if he didn't need their help. So why bother fighting? The US needs to accept a new role. It doesn't mean we are on a decline in power. It simpy means we're doing what's necessary to survive.

          Imperalism never worked. At some point people will make a decision that goes beyond self-preservation and you're in deep trouble. The US has to accept the ideals and differences it has with the international community, and decide how to appropriately address the issues. The world has already proven it would tolerate going around the UN if the cause is just. That's what happened in Kosovo. Maybe Bush should have worked harder to convince people, instead of politicians.

          The UN has a role in the future. However, I do believe it will need to make changes. The only reason any nation should go around the UN is if the organization is being completely foolish. In a way, that is what happened in Iraq. Yet, it's not a clear cut case because Bush was kind of leading the foolishness.

          To even out the balance a bit, when I finish 'Diplomacy' (I'm aiming for christmas 2004 ), I happened to find a book called 'The Trial of Henry Kissinger', with obviously a different view of his achievements. I never did like Kissinger, but he was an intelligent man, and knew what he was doing.

          Anger management? You!? Wow, I never would've thought it. I always admire your diplomatic attitude.
          Kissinger was highly skilled at diplomacy. He knew how to remain calm in crisis, and be objective in discussion. He also avoided the spotlight in his efforts.

          I took anger management becuase I wanted to learn how to understand anger and it's affects on how you think. Since it's an emotion, it can alter your decision making process, even though outward signs (like yelling and fighting) don't manifest themselves.

          I also am fond of Winston Churchill. In 1944, he realized the British empire faced a serious point. He objectively surveyed the world around him, and set into motion steps that were designed to preserve the United Kingdom, not just it's status. He saw the US was interested in being the big dog, and let us have it.

          (Sometimes I wonder if that was the act of an allied or an enemy. )

          I believe the US should take a similar approach now. Not everything is worth fighting about. We need to create room to allow for change and prosperity.


          Last edited by Deltapooh; 20 May 03, 12:52.
          "As soon as men decide that all means are permitted to fight an evil, then their good becomes indistinguishable from the evil that they set out to destroy."-Christopher Dawson - The Judgement of Nations, 1942

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