Despite their loathing for Dick Cheney, most of America’s foreign policy elite — regardless of political party — are gripped by the same neurotic fear of the outside world that the former vice president possessed. It is the much-maligned President Donald Trump who is attempting to shake the foreign policy establishment from its anxiety and return U.S. foreign policy to a more rational, responsible, and restrained place. Giving into fear is not what statesmen do. It’s ironic that the brash, non-politician, real estate mogul from New York has a more statesmanlike foreign policy than the professional politicos who have run U.S. foreign policy for decades.
“As Tallyrand said of the Bourbons, our neocons have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. Today these same “intellectuals” advocate more expansive forms of humanitarian warfare. Everywhere from Syria to Nigeria is a potential target for American militarism. It’d be laughable if it weren’t for the fact that the neocons remain hugely influential not only in Washington, D.C. generally but even within the Trump Administration.”
“But, because George H.W. Bush was more concerned with playing petty politics based on short-term assumptions, rather than acting boldly and taking the licks for his decisions. Even his actions in Desert Storm were indecisive, which created many more problems for the United States in the long-run than there otherwise would have been. This is why George H.W. Bush’s presidency was an unmitigated failure (to say nothing of his domestic failures).”
“Today’s neocons are nothing more than new age Progressives of the sort that existed in both the Republican and Democratic Parties until the rise of Woodrow Wilson’s presidency.”
“America faces a world of severe threats with rapidly growing capabilities to threaten the United States—from space. A succession of American administrations have watched the threat grow over the last 30 years and done little to deter it. Now the threats are metastasizing. The solution, as Donald Trump has shown since 2016, is in nationalism—that is, space nationalism.”
“Unless American leaders begin accepting limits on what pure military force can achieve (without becoming doves), and more fundamentally, inherent limitations on their power to conduct war, then a sound strategy will never be crafted in war. Rather, we will continue to “do stuff.” Action will be conflated with accomplishment. And, threats will never be mitigated. Instead, they will simply multiply–even as we increase our expenditures and commitments to the conflict.”
“The next time some hack tries to argue that the War in Afghanistan was the “good war,” just remember Shakespeare’s old line about life being a “Tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.” Much like his jog through the deserts of Iraq, former President Bush’s War in Afghanistan lost sight of the real enemy: jihadist terror networks in favor of an unpalatable regime (in this case, the Taliban).”
“For the United States, it needs to not only temper its expectations (and therefore slow down the tempo of its intervention in the region generally, but specifically in Syria), and start focusing on larger geopolitical concerns. Obviously, the United States cannot (and should not) simply abandon the region, as many on the Far Right insist. But, we must be willing to give greater levels of support–and responsibility–to our local allies. That is our only hope for not breaking the American military in the quicksand of Mideast politics (which we presently are in danger of doing).”
“Basing our foreign policy on hard-to-discern ideals–or conflating the ideals that must define the American citizens’ relationship with his government with the kind of brutish action that is often necessary to preserve the national interest abroad–is idiotic.”
It’s time that America take a backseat in European geopolitics. We’ve got bigger fish to fry. By stepping back and encouraging states like Poland to build their own nuclear arsenals and ABM systems, America can trust that our friends will be protected–without having the American taxpayers shoulder the brunt of the burden.