A Humble Foreign Policy?
Posted on April 6, 2009
A Humble Foreign Policy
When George Bush II came into the White House, he promised a more humble American foreign policy. Then, September 11th happened, Europe wanted appeasement, and it became clear that a humble foreign policy was not going to happen.
Jimmy Carter promised a more humble foreign policy. He dismantled the CIA, he cut defense, and he gave away the Panama Canal. The Soviets saw that as weakness, and invaded Afghanistan. So, too, did extremists in Iran, and they seized our embassy.
Woodrow Wilson campaigned on a promise that we wouldn’t enter the war that had enflamed Europe. After the war ended, he marched into France and demanded that everyone sign up for the League of Nations (without checking with his own Congress, which impolitely passed on the opportunity to join).
Ronald Reagan, on the other hand, preached about America’s strength, and promised to rebuild our military. He believed that the best way to get peace was through strength, and his bellicosity towards the Soviet Union was roundly condemned in Europe (old and new). He used his strength to negotiate an end to the Warsaw Pact.
The world wants a more humble American foreign policy, but then seeks our help when the world collapses without a strong U.S. presence. So many countries love to bash the U.S. at the U.N., but when they are under attack, they quickly send the S.O.S. to good old Uncle Sam.
Now, Barack Obama is condemning American arrogance, and promising a more humble foreign policy. And as he meets with the Turks, jokes with the Brits, and poses for pictures with the French, the North Koreans send a missile over the Japanese Mainland. Take that, Mr. Humble.
The President went to Europe to ask for some more help in the good war (better known as the conflict in Afghanistan). The feckless Europeans are non-plussed. Better for the Yanks to handle to tough stuff.
The President has made a point to say that we are not at war with Islam, and maybe we are not. But many Islamic extremists are certainly at war with us, and reasoning won’t make them go away. The President has promised an early exit in Iraq (timelines and all) and guess what? All of sudden, it is starting to get hot there again.
Humility in foreign policy is a nice concept. But the world is a dangerous place, and sometimes letting the bad guys know that we won’t put up with their crap is a good thing.