August 5, 2012 § Leave a comment
NOAH MILLMAN’S ESSAY at The American Conservative, “Normal Nations Have Allies, Not Just Dependents,” makes the point that America needs to make other great powers closer to the Middle East shoulder more of the responsibility of policing it.
“It is striking that, in our common foreign policy discourse, we talk about “allies” as countries that we help, rather than countries that help us. . . .
A policy of constructive withdrawal implies a policy of promoting the self-sufficiency and effectiveness of our allies. From my perspective, that means cultivating a Turkey that conceives of itself as a leading Muslim democracy and cultivating a Europe …
I’m sorry? What are they, potted plants? Why is it our business to “cultivate” any sovereign country or their self-image?
[Britain] fought a massive war for national survival against her principal geopolitical rival (Germany) that bankrupted her. She was able, then, to withdraw from her imperial role in Asia and Africa substantially because the close relationship with America meant the baton was being handed off to (somewhat) trusted hands. (Actually, America didn’t become all that friendly to British interests until the empire was largely dismantled, but you know, special relationship and all that.)
Re the baton being handed off: looks to me like the Empire simply moved its head office across the Atlantic. Anglophiles had been talking about reuiniting Britain and America — and attempting it, socially, finanially and politically — for decades. We fought two wars for Britain. The Morgan crowd and the Fed, at its outset, looked out more for Britain’s welfare than the States’.
Second, it requires that there is a set of powers with whom we are relatively in concord that are capable of operating internationally in defense of our shared interests.
1) “Operating internationally in defense …”? You mean “attacking or otherwise meddling in other countries’ affairs”?
To put “international(ly)” and “defense” together is a red flag. If “defense” is what you’re doing, what are you doing over there? We’re over here.
2) What’s “our shared interests”?
Is it too much to ask some one to define these euphemisms? What “interests” located geographically outside the coastal waters and airspace of the States of America am I obligated to “defend” with my blood and treasure, my very life force?
Hegemony over other sovereign nations or regions sure isn’t in my interest. A new Crusade isn’t in my interest. Manufacturing more terrorism isn’t in my interest. Enriching the war business isn’t in my interest. Propping up a belligerent Middle Eastern state in its troublemaking is not in my interest. Even keeping the oil flowing, at the expense of fomenting endless war and the hatred of a vast swathe of the world, is not at all in my interest. We got plenty of oil and gas right here. (Even my home State of Illinois, probably unbeknownst to most of us who live north of I-80, is good for a few million bbls of crude per year. We’re no Texas, but we do produce something besides corn and corruption.)
The Constitution for the States of America grants a war power to the Congress for domestic protection against foreign invasion of the same States. It is not there for the benefit of other states all over the globe. Nor is it there for the advancement of some amorphous alleged “interest” that floats hither and yon around the planet, wherever politicians or think-tank “Wise Men” declare it to be on a given day.
It’s not there for regime change or “spreading democracy” or international policing or plundering under the purported authority of, or in leadership of, any international combine, whatever it be styled.
To the Framers (not that we should listen to such unsophisticates) “interest” was a term of opprobrium, synonymous with “special interest.”
I submit that the “interests” of oft-employed cliche’ are purely special.
To George Washington (again, not saying we should take his advice or anything) playing favorites internationally was folly. It is the road to war and slavery, not peace and liberty.
To create special alliances is, by definition, to create enemies. Before some one counters: “Well, we can’t ally with tyrannical regimes –” I reply in advance:
You’re kidding, right?
Better idea than playing favorites: Allow Americans to trade with everyone who would trade with us. Project goodwill, and accept goodwill back. Drop the fig leaf of claiming we’re changing the world through the old way — the European way — of entangling alliances and enmities and intrigue. That way doesn’t work.
Change the world by example, as befits a Christian nation — if this be one. Preach always; use words IF necessary.
“If we treated them more as partners and less as followers, we might discover that not only don’t we have to do anything ourselves, we benefit from not trying to.”
True, but see above: it is is our interest to ally with every one, on equal terms. It is the analogue of equal protection under the law at home. It is the embodiment of the Golden Rule. A Christian foreign policy is entirely appropriate — again, if this be a Christian nation.