"The welfare of humanity is always the alibi of tyrants" - Albert Camus

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Death of American Foreign Policy

American foreign policy since 1776 has been nuances ranging from periodic pre-world war II isolationisms to the more hawkish stance that started with the Truman doctrine in 1947.  Whatever the prevailing policy of any given era was, however, the goal of American foreign policy had always been the promotion of America and the American way across the globe as it should unquestionably be.  After all that is what our national interests as well as our belief in American exceptionalism dictates. 

Role of American Exceptionalism on foreign policy:

Believing in American Exceptionalism does not simply mean everyone else is second class citizens of the world. American Exceptionalism is the idea that the “United States and the American people hold a special place in the world, by offering opportunity and hope for humanity, derived from its unique balance of public and private interests governed by constitutional ideals that are focused on personal and economic freedom”. I like to call it a quality that directly and indirectly enhances the human condition all around the world – not inhibit it.

Although the current President would take an issue, we have proven our exceptionalism continuously for over two centuries by defending liberty with our own blood and treasure all around the globe; opening up our shores to the downtrodden and the oppressed; and as a byproduct by our innovative and productive leadership and our charity in general.

What makes us unique as a nation? Are we geographically blessed more than anyone else? Have we had thousands of years of shared history or common religion as people to build our nation on? Are we a homogenous people who might be somehow superior to others? The answers are obviously NO!

More fundamentally, what makes us unique is our exceptionalism emanating from having broken away from European feudalism and forming a nation, based on a collection of founding documents that were inspired by natural law (as historically ascribed by Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and others) that placed utmost importance on the concept of civil society.

As the English writer G. K. Chesterton observed, "America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed." That creed is set forth most clearly in the Declaration of Independence, by which the American colonies announced their separation from Great Britain. The Declaration is a timeless statement of inherent god given rights, the proper purposes of government, and the limits on political authority.

Just think for a moment. This collection of men, who based on the norms of their era could have created any type of government and given themselves any amount of power, chose to create a republic that would be effectively governed by people, with limited, enumerated powers reserved for the government. An amazingly enlightened course of action as likes of Chesterton would extensively write about. Perhaps the best summation, still, is as Alexis deTocqueville observed: “America is exceptional because of our uniquely American ideology based on liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, populism and laissez-faire – all working in harmony.”

In sum, America is an exceptional nation, but not because of what it has achieved or accomplished. America is exceptional because, unlike any other nation, it is dedicated to the principles of human liberty, grounded on the truths that all men are created equal and endowed with equal rights. 

So, what is more morally imperative than spreading the creed that has made us the beacon for freedom in the world? 

The Death of American foreign policy:

I call the two decade period starting with 1989 the decline of American foreign policy.  This is when the United States lost its focus on spreading the 'American way' across the globe and embarked on a foolish policy of nation building.  Reagan was our last leader who believed in the true meaning of American exceptionalism and the importance of spreading that message to the world - not as a means of boasting of our superiority, but rather for other nations to emulate us in adopting respect for individual rights. 

The act of nation building - a la Iraq or Afghanistan - is a foolish substitute for simply spreading the gospel of American exceptionalism.  Democracy is not a hardy flower that can take root regardless of the soil it is planted on.  The necessary ingredient for democracy is a healthy respect for individual rights.  Such respect does not exist in certain cultures, thus regardless of blood and treasure spent, these societies will never adopt a republican form of government nor will they have a civil society in the foreseeable future. 

2009 marked the beginning of yet a new era in American foreign policy.  I call it the postmortem era since there is no discernible American foreign policy anymore under the progressive regime of president Obama.  We apparently should be rejoicing in the fact that we now live in a utopian world where all the hard facts and complexities of millenia of ethnic and religious coexistence have disappeared thanks to the election of the great one.

The Obama doctrine is simple enough.  It dictates our equality with all nations on this earth - no matter how despotic the regime might be.  This egalitarian utopianism is typical of Marxism and other collectivist ideologies.  So, it is no wonder that this administration wholeheartedly supported the Arab spring which has replaced all friendly dictators with Islamic radicals of groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, who are sworn to erase the Western civilization from the face of this earth?  At the same token, this Administration has double crossed almost all our former friends - including Israel, Taiwan, Poland, Czech Republic, Honduras, Colombia, and many more - in favor of tyrants like Iran's Ahmedi Nejad, Russias's Putin, or Venezuela's Chavez.  After all, America is an unjust society and must be cut down to size in the sick minds of progressives - and the best way to accomplish that is by working against American as well as western interests.

As Obama famously said in 2008, he believes in American exceptionalism as much as Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.  Disecting this statement gives us a window to the psyche of our president.  Obama clearly believes that we have no moral authority to spread our creed to the rest of the world.  In other words, American exceptionalism means nothing to Obama and his progressive ilk, and why should it?  Believing in it would be wholesale rejection of the collectivist policies progressives subscribe to.   

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