The current squatter at 1600 PA might go down in history for his seemingly most-spoken phrase, “I’m not joking.” Neither are were here at TPOL. But regardless of what he’s saying, the actions of the government he nominally heads definitely are a joke. A big joke.
In this week’s column, Dr. Ron Paul (talking about Iraq, Iran, and Syria) states that American foreign policy has a perfect track record of 100% failure.
Allow us here at TPOL to disagree slightly with the good doctor: it is not just neocon foreign policy, it is American foreign policy as directed by the entire political matrix in power. Liberal, progressive, conservative, neoconservative: all of it has demonstrated an unenviable record of zero success in foreign affairs. At least in the last 50-60 years.
Perhaps the closest to success in the last quarter century has been the way DC has been able to browbeat its allies – particularly in NATO – to go along with DC’s foolish stupidity. Before that, we might consider Reagan’s effective defeat of the Soviets, the collapse of their empire in Europe and the fall of the Soviet Union itself as at least a partial success. And before that? Going back almost 80 years to Bretton Woods and the establishment of a world order that had an amazing impact on the entire world. (Both good and bad.)
Of course, the “forces of freedom” totally squandered the opportunity offered by the Soviet collapse. It was American (and American’s allies) actions in the 1990s and since that led directly to the current bloody war in Ukraine. Compounded by dozens of stupid foreign policy actions, admittedly, by DC in the last decade. We can’t blame the idiots in DC entirely for the present conditions in Russia, but certainly American foreign policy must shoulder a large part of the fault for the attitudes of the Putin regime. And the story of NATO allies is not yet completed: we still expect it to all end in tears.
Other examples? The current situation in Syria, of course. The mess in Iran – partially the result of decades of stupid failures on the part of American governments, going right back to the days of the Shah. Mesopotamia’s pitiful condition. Afghanistan’s current (and growing, if ignored) horror. Libya and therefore much of the migrant crisis in Europe: the responsibility is largely DC’s.
Do we even need to talk about North Korea? Or Cuba? Venezuela? The Ukraine itself? (Not the war, but the kleptocratic regime and corrupt society?)
No, we are not blaming the States – or even DC – for ALL the woes of the world. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. What we are pointing out is that things could have been, would have been, much better if American leaders and diplomats had made better, wiser decisions and avoided what were clearly stupid words and actions. Time after time. Situation after situation.
Overall, despite the detrimental – seriously evil – effects of American government on the world, the people of these Fifty States have been a tremendous boon to the world: moral, ethical, social, economic, scientific, technological. But too many of our good deeds have been compromised, even negated, by the actions of the FedGov. Time and time again.
Frankly, American federal government has virtually always been really bad at foreign policy. At least since the Monroe Doctrine and abandoning a de facto policy of neutrality in Europe’s (and Asia’s and Africa’s) affairs and wars. And we didn’t do so well in Latin America, either, when you look at the history of the Latin American nations’ relations with the Big Colossus of the North.
So bad a track record that it is incredible that we are still generally at peace and good terms with Canada. (Though it is not hard to wonder if Biden’s first trip to Canada – more than halfway through his term! – isn’t an attempt by Uncle Joe’s puppet masters to ruin relations with Ottawa and all the Provincial capitals!)
Why is this so?
A large part is (in our opinion) because we departed from the original concept of a federal government as a servant of the States – which meant in large part that the FedGov’s primary work and focus was to be national defense and foreign affairs. NOT internal improvements and meddling beyond that which would help settle squabbles between the States peacefully.
To put it another way, any person and any organization has a limited span of control and observation. When your hands are already full, and additional duties are dumped on you (or grabbed by you), your ability to handle ALL the tasks effectively and competently. Especially when internal matters and disputes spill over into your dealing with other countries.
Examples? Go all the way back to the Compromise of 1820, the Compromise of 1850, and the War between the States. It is beyond the scope of this commentary, but the evidence is there. The FedGov was not supposed to be a jack of all trades. As a result, it has failed at ALL its responsibilities. Especially as it reached out to seize more control. Not just from the States, but from local governments, private businesses, and private families and individuals.
It has failed at being a servant, and failed even worse at being a master. Not just of the Fifty States, but of the world.