Tag: Foreign Relations

Member Post

 

Russian fingerprints seem to be turning up everywhere in the news lately and it is more than concerning. Remember Reagan’s famous speech, “Gorbachev, tear down that wall!” The fall of the Soviet Union came with a crashing sound that echoed throughout the free world. The idea of introducing freedom into a major communist offered so […]

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A Shift of Perspective on Trump

 

This past week I was passionately critiqued by Trump supporters and Trump critics—and it was a significant learning experience. It wasn’t easy to read some of the comments: the Trump supporters told me I was being ruled by my fears and emotions and piling on with the hysterical media; the Trump critics, except for a few people, empathized with my reactions to Trump, but indicated that unless a disaster actually occurred, my complaints and worries were about a potential and to-date unrealized future. (Almost everyone, especially in the latter group, understood my detesting Trump’s tweeting, his misstatements and his boorish behavior.) I also appreciated @iWe’s post on our reactions to Trump, and his reasoning made sense.

I found myself carefully considering all this input, because I was experiencing a dissonance between the values I hold dear, such as cherishing truth and rational analysis, and the pieces I was writing. So my analysis is still limited, and conclusions are few, but I wanted to share them.

When I examined my reactions to the claim that I was “piling on,” I realized these people were correct, even if that wasn’t my intention. I knew on some level that the media reporting was hysterical and unprofessional. So I decided to take one current national issue and examine the tactics that were used to report on it, information that was collected and conclusions that were drawn. The degree to which these journalistic tools were being abused was shocking. I decided to review the story on Trump’s sharing information with the Russians.

The Roots of Our Foreign Policy Confusion

 

shutterstock_142671355Ever since we won the Cold War, Americans have been trying to figure out the ends to which our unrivaled power should be put. Remarkably, after a quarter of a century, we are more confused than ever about this basic question. The Obama Administration’s foreign policy rudderlessness, encapsulated in the puerile slogan “Don’t do stupid stuff” perfectly and alarmingly embodies this confusion. What passes for our foreign policy today amounts to incoherent, passive-aggressive mush, punctuated by mismanagement and scandal. How did all this come to pass?

There are four basic sources of our confusion: the persistent lack of a serious great power challenger to American dominance, bad ideology, democracy fatigue, and our misdirected obsession with “terrorism.”
The Lack of a Serious Challenger
It has been predicted that — as America withdraws into self-inflicted global impotence — rivals will rise to fill the void, with dire consequences. A quarter century after the Cold War, however, there is still no real great power threat to the United States. Despite suffering severe setbacks since 2001, in traditional great power terms, the United States is still the biggest kid on the block, and without a serious identifiable rival that could serve as the focus of our national strategy.

This past summer’s World War I centennial inevitably invited gloomy comparisons to today’s troubles. These comparisons are misplaced. No global power today occupies the position Germany did at the dawn of the 20th century. For all its opportunistic troublemaking and aggression against the existing European order, Russia is a power in the terminal stages of civilizational decline. Europe, in general, has taken itself out of the great power business, probably permanently. Iran continues to be a problem, but it too is a demographic and economic basket case.

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In Gil Reich’s thread “Cheer Up! The Bright Side of the Middle East” (a welcome dose of optimism), he repeats a popular claim about Russia’s diminished role in world affairs since the end of the Cold War.  Russia and China support the Iran – Assad axis. But today’s Russia and China have neither the power nor […]

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