Perhaps no other area of policy illustrates and encapsulates the sheer stupidity, brutality, arrogance, wrongness and…well…stupidity of the Bush Administration than it’s horrific foreign policy. Embracing and enacting the blatant “Might Makes Right” philosophy of the Neo-cons and their childish desire to Rule The World! as an American Empire has harmed both our country and the world in ways we will not fully appreciate for decades. Perhaps even, as the newly manufactured anti-American terrorists it has spawned grow up and pass this awful legacy down, generations.
At approximately 500 Billion dollars a year in Pentagon budgets adding up to nearly 4 TRILLION dollars over the last eight years (admittedly not the sole fault of Bushco) plus the 700 Billion in war supplementals…..we could have BOUGHT Iraq and Afghanistan. Instead of invading them and killing and torturing their citizens and making the entire Muslim world hostile, if not outright belligerent, towards America. It was an out and out Christian Crusade, masquerading as foreign policy. As many have said a Global War On Terror is a ridiculous concept, as you cannot wage war against a tactic. Such sheer lunacy as this is nearly incomprehensible, when looking back at it.
So let us look forward.
Diplomacy, diplomacy, diplomacy. Talking to our ‘enemies.’ (Instead of creating new ones daily through our insane foreign policy.) This has been proven again and again to work. To produce peace. Of course if your goal is Empire, if your goal is to keep your own citizens in fear to make them easily controllable as you plunder their treasury for the benefit of your cronies in the Military Industrial Complex….peace is the last thing you want. Some of us on this planet however, are NOT insane megalomaniacs and greedy sociopaths intent on conquering the world.
Here is an alternate concept. An alternate vision. Take a quarter of the money that we spend on defense (the more the better of course, but that might lead to a Department of Peace or something crazy like that!) and spend it on improving the lives of “foreign” people.
Lead by alleviating the conditions that cause terrorism and war, instead of exacerbating them. To reduce it to it’s simplest terms…..buy friends! Buy good will. Buy the unwillingness of people to support dictators and terrorists. Buy Peace….instead of buying war, the killing of innocents and torture. The seemingly bloodthirsty (or at least simple minded blunt force for every problem advocating) Right Wingers seem to find this somehow morally reprehensible. More reprehensible, somehow, than buying war, the killing of innocents and torture. They say it won’t work, even though we have never really tried it and the small forays we have made into that territory (combined with real diplomacy) HAS worked, at least worked better than….buying war, the killing of innocents and torture. Will it stop terrorism? No, and neither will anything else.
It will however, help stop those who make fortunes of off killing and war from being some of the richest and most powerful people in the world.
Plus…it will improve lives, improve countries and regions, improve the world. What a concept! Making the world a better place, a less hostile place, a less impoverished place in so many ways as a national policy. Self defense through helping people, instead of killing and torturing them.
Pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into impoverished terrorist breeding grounds in the form of jobs and projects to, for instance, establish alternative energy, clean up pollution, educate children, build hospitals and water treatment plants….feed hungry people. Creating good will towards America and a better more peaceful world all at the same time.
Among the many, many things that must never be forgotten about the Bush years are the days after the attacks on 9/11, when the whole world was willing and eager to come together with America and create a new, more unified and thus more peaceful planet. The squandering of that opportunity rises above even their war crimes in the litany of humanity’s charges against Bush and his Republican cohorts. Instead they took a disaster and turned it into an even larger disaster, a monumental disaster, an inexcusable disaster.
It is time now to use the power of America to create a new unified world, to use it to bring the world together. Not to fracture the planet even further into petty nation states continuously at war. As Climate Crisis looms, we have a choice. Perhaps the most important choice in the history of humanity. We can splinter apart and have endless war over resources such as oil and water….or we can find a way to bring us ALL, the whole planet, together.
Together to do what we can as a species, as the human race, to defeat Climate Crisis, hunger, thirst, and ultimately war itself. Or…if the human spirit MUST think in terms of war as it has throughout it’s long and bloody history, let it be War on THOSE enemies, not each other.
This is not an optional decision, or some utopian vision. This is not a war of choice. Climate Crisis is real, it is coming, it is in fact already here. And it has the potential to kill billions and make vast parts of the planet uninhabitable, if solutions are not found. We have what comes down to a very simple choice in the coming decades…come together as human beings, as a planet, to ‘fight’ this common enemy…or to fight and kill each other as Climate Crisis destroys us all.
American Foreign Policy can be the beginning, the cause of that coming together, just as, after 9/11. it has been the major cause of the splintered and bristling world we see now.
CREATING peace and prosperity…..might. What the hell, let’s give it a shot! What have we got to lose?
squandered opportunity is what sticks squarely in my craw.
& you’ve certainly explained most of my foreign policy ideas…& ver ver eloquently, may i add!
to me that as I contemplate the “vision” thing, the simple but profound words of John Lennon keep coming to mind.
Much of our foreign policy and militarism is driven by corporations, not the needs and interests of the People of our country. And certainly energy independence will go far in reducing possible justifications for any foreign meddling. And as you rightly point out, the LIES that have driven our foreign policy over the years (eg- the war on terror, the irony of which is that we have become the terrorists) must be utterly discredited, and the purveyors of these lies silenced in all arenas of public discourse.
PS- Budhy- thanks for putting forth the positive vision-thing!
We spend billions of dollars on farm subsidies every year, literally paying farmers to not grow crops to prop up commodity prices. What if we grew the crops and gave the excess away as foreign aid?
We would create economic activity here with the increased agricultural production, save the subsidy money, replace the spending of foreign aid dollars with foreign aid food, and hopefully gain some of the goodwill you were talking about.
Excellent job again, buhdy!
We need one. We can all give one another pedicures, dance badly, drink some wine…. Sure this whole democracy thing should be taken seriously but not too seriously. The big thing about republican hatred is how dull and unattractive it is.
and sort of is.
I was channel surfing the other day and caught this, Cornel West on Tavis Smiley. I can’t embed it for some reason, so here’s the URLs:
part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…
part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v…
This one is tough. Our culture and history is so ingrained with the mythology of Manifest Destiny and self righteousness along with the love of violence, that peace as a concept is considered weakness. I think it’s why we proclaim war on everything wars on drugs wars on terror wars on poverty. We love us some war.
War in these cases is part of what we call competition. We have to compete. We have to keep moving the settlers out as we are Civilization. In order to heal ourselves we need to somehow be able to see our history for what it is. The good is there as well as the bad but we as a people fancy that were the heroes fighting and killing for freedom, our way. War is not inevitable and while profitable for the profiteers, it does not bring prosperity.
Capitalism just props this up, the concept of Growth seems an offshoot of expansionism. We need to somehow make the concepts of harmony, including other people globally, a concept that is American. Our yearning to be the good guys is a positive but were unable to overcome the need to be on top the biggest the winner. The hubris of defining progress in lands we seek to civilize is part of the problem. Respect for other cultures paths of progress is essential. Perhaps we could learn from other definitions of progress as ours seem to consist of burning up the world.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
As for policy foreign the only ray of hope I see and it’s a small one is the fact that Obama did not in speeches I heard, call those we deem enemies and EVIL (Chavez, Iran, etc). but adversaries. Small difference but a big one. On the other hand chest trumping like Christianity is required in order to ‘lead’ us. To Where? We need to civilize ourselves before we tear off and pump billions into lands we seek to conquer.