America’s Neoconservative & Liberal Hawkishness

America’s Neoconservative & Liberal Hawkishness

I come not to praise resurgent neoconservative power but to bury Donald Trump’s lurching approach to foreign policy. For many of us who had grown weary of both Republican and Democratic hawkishness, the last Presidential election represented a risky choice or a dismal choice. Hillary Clinton was a (liberal) hawk of such proportions that she had been endorsed by prominent neoconservatives. Donald Trump on the other hand…

Amidst the bombast and the braggadocio, there was a break with the Washington consensus on foreign policy. Trump criticized the Iraq war. He railed against NATO’s usefulness and America’s outsized role in it. He seemed perfectly fine with letting Russia deal with the Syria problem. Yes, he advocated a get-tough stance on ISIS. But it seemed that he really advocated disengagement in situations where America could not do any obvious good.

Though how to trust such an unprincipled man in the first place. If I had believed that candidate Trump would really disengage from the Middle East, I might have considered voting for him. But I didn’t believe him. And his other words on immigration and Islam were so toxic that I didn’t feel I had a choice. So, I held my nose and voted for the liberal hawk, Hillary Clinton. Something about the devil you know being better than the devil you don’t. Read more about America’s Neoconservative & Liberal Hawkishness

Can we talk foreign policy now?

Can we talk foreign policy now?

… Or Ya know, Governatoring! Donald Trump is the President-elect of the United States of America. Yesterday, I wrote that I disagreed with Hillary Clinton’s neoconservative foreign policy but did not trust (now) President Trump’s temperament:

Whatever negative views I may hold about Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy views, I at least trust her with the nuclear launch codes. I trust her not go on flights of fancy about her ability to railroad and rearrange the world to her liking through sheer force of personality. I trust her to have a plan and to seek sober counsel about the global challenges she will inevitably face; unlike Trump who once claimed that he knows more about ISIS and other issues than the America’s Generals.

I trust Hillary Clinton not to unilaterally end Muslim immigration or denounce Latino immigrants or call to register Muslims SS-style. I trust her not to pick fights with SNL over how she’s parodied. I trust her to respect women.

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Putting Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy on Blast

Putting Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy on Blast

Or… Chafee’ing at the Bit

Last week, former Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee announced his intention to run for the Democratic nomination to the Presidency. I think most of us would predictably yawn. Chafee intends to press Hillary Clinton on her foreign policy record which I think is all good and well seeing as how Clinton has functioned as the war-mongering foreign policy hawk that I had hoped her former-rival-turned-boss, President Obama, would not become. He did. Very disappointingly. Clinton had a chance to be a steadying hand as Secretary of State but she fell right in lock-step with El Presidente.

Chafee has almost no chance whatsoever in preventing Clinton from winning the Democratic nomination. Barack Obama had a magnetic presence that Chafee does not; Clinton will not be denied again and definitely not by an old white boy. Given current Republican alternatives, I have a hard time picturing myself voting for the eventual Republican nominee.

So why should we care about Chafee’s predictably doomed campaign. Because predictably, Congress is full of lily-livered jagoffs who care more about being able to complain about the occupant of the White House than actually fulfilling their constitutional duties. Witness:

In 2011, President Obama announced that he could go to war against Libya without congressional approval. Congress hemmed and hawed, but in the end was unable to agree to do anything about it. Two years later members of Congress were vocal about Obama’s lack of action against Syria when it was revealed that the Assad regime had been using chemical weapons. Obama eventually responded and asked Congress for approval to take military action. Congress did nothing. Now we have yet another war, this time against ISIS, and Obama asked for congressional approval months ago. Result: nothing. Members of Congress would rather be free to lambaste Obama on the campaign trail than to actually commit themselves to a strategy. [Kevin Drum: Yet Again, Congress Is Too Scared to Assert Its Warmaking Powers]

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Let’s Move Palestine Out of Palestine because… GOD

Let’s Move Palestine Out of Palestine because… GOD

Mike Huckabee is a fruit cake but at least he’s an honest one. Speaking to Arutz Sheva TV on Sunday, Huckabee called for the forced relocation of an entire people. Because GOD.

Huckabee cited there being “plenty of land in the world” to find a place for a Palestinian state outside of Israel.

“If there’s a two-state solution, the Palestinians state needs to be outside the boundaries of the nation of Israel. There’s plenty of land in the world where we can find a place and say, ‘Okay, let’s create a Palestinian state.’ But not within the confides of a secure Israel.”

Speaking at the event, Huckabee said “we never can accept the notion that Israel will be divided,” citing the boundaries of Israel being given “not by the United Nations but by almighty God.” [Buzzfeed].

Well, at least he’s not pussy-footing around the issue. One can’t even be too surprised though because as Daniel Larison concludes:

[This] would normally be the sort of thing that would doom a person’s political career, but in this case it probably helps Huckabee with his target audience and mostly elicits a shrug from the press.

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The USA doesn’t owe its damned allegiance to Israel or Saudi Arabia

The USA doesn’t owe its damned allegiance to Israel or Saudi Arabia

In an Economist.com article on a scheduled summit between American and the six members of the Gulf Co-operation Council on May 13th and 14th, this blurb caught my eye:

And he [President Obama] cannot meet all the Gulf requests for advanced weaponry, because congressional legislation requires that Israel must maintain a “qualitative military edge” over its neighbours. [Emphasis mine]

That the USA and Israel have a special relationship is no surprise. Israel has been the only consistently functioning democracy in a region of states replete with strife and governmental incompetence.

It also makes some type of sense that the USA would want to ensure that its favored state in the region should have the ability to defend itself. But I find no compelling interest in the USA hamstringing itself because of a requirement that Israel continue to be able to kick its Arab neighbors’ collective arse. Read more about The USA doesn’t owe its damned allegiance to Israel or Saudi Arabia

US Aid is the Bane of Egypt

US Aid is the Bane of Egypt

Daniel Larison makes the case for cutting off aid to Egypt.

The most credible objection to the call for suspending Egypt aid that I have seen is that it wouldn’t change conditions in Egypt for the better. That’s fair enough, but it misses the point. There is probably nothing that the U.S. can do at this point that would make the military less intent on its crackdown, so it’s time for Washington to cease backing a client that completely ignores its preferences. Cutting off aid to a coup government in accordance with our own law shouldn’t have to be the tortured, difficult decision that some people are making it out to be, and it should be even easier when that client government massacres protesters in the streets. U.S. influence in Egypt is already very limited and becoming more so every day, so the U.S. should be willing to risk losing it without so much hand-wringing and indecision.

Anti-Morsi Protests
Anti-Morsi Protests

I’m reminded of the scene in The Dark Knight Rises where John Daggett accosts Bane for not helping him out enough in trying to take over Wayne Enterprises.

Bane: Speak of the devil… and he shall appear.
Daggett: What the hell’s going on?
Bane: The plan is proceeding as expected.
Daggett: Do I look like I’m running Wayne Enterprises? Your hit on the stock exchange didn’t work, my friend. And now you’ve got my construction crews working all hours around the city. How’s that supposed to help my company absorb Wayne’s?
Bane (to Stryver): Leave us.
Daggett: You stay right there. I’m in charge here.
Bane: Do you feel in charge?
Daggett: I’ve paid you a small fortune.
Bane: And this gives you power over me? … Your money and infrastructure have been important… ‘til now.

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Globalization, Security and Morality

Globalization, Security and Morality

I’m becoming increasingly disconcerted with the American electorate’s flirtations with economic protectionism.  One of the attractions of having been a Bill Clinton supporter is that he was never a protectionist.  Clinton pursued globalization because he realized that that you can’t turn back the tide.  I’m all for Unions.  Someone has to protect the interests ofRead more about Globalization, Security and Morality[…]