December 1, 2010
Rethinking Foreign PolicyBy Vasko Kohlmayer
A thought experiment for you: Imagine that CableGate happened when the name of the American President was George W. Bush and the name of the Secretary of State was Condoleezza Rice.
A frenzied hysteria would surely break out in the media and Congress. Incompetence, neglect, stupidity, betrayal, and worse would be charged.
Condoleezza Rice would be forced to resign within hours of the documents' appearance on WikiLeaks. Impeachment proceedings against Bush would start within days.
But what is good for the goose should also be good for the gander, should it not?
It just so happens that one of the greatest diplomatic gaffes in the history of global foreign affairs was committed on Mrs. Clinton's watch. Now the whole world can go to the internet and learn -- courtesy of Mrs. Clinton's State Department -- that the world's so-called leaders are for the most part liars, crooks, or worse. Thank you, Mrs. Clinton. You have done the people of the world a great favor. Now they can see what their political betters are made of.
Too bad that America became compromised in the process. Our foes and friends alike will not easily forgive us the fact that we have spilled the beans. Such rank incompetence is inexcusable.
As if this were not bad enough, our friends at the United Nations have also learned that Mrs. Clinton put them under surveillance. She was even checking their credit card accounts. What was the logic behind that? one wonders. Do they not have the right to freely spend the money they stole from their own populations? They will not take Mrs. Clinton's nosiness kindly.
When George Bush was in office, liberals constantly complained that his actions and conduct lowered America's standing in the world. But it turns out Bush was nothing when compared with the current gang.
They told us that Barrack Obama would restore respect for America on the world stage. Instead, America's reputation is today at the lowest point ever. Friend or foes -- this administration has embarrassed and offended them all.
This debacle should give an occasion to rethink our foreign policy.
A question to consider: Why do we have to take sides in every conflict and strife around the globe? The leaked cables clearly show that in many of those, there are no good guys. Sure, they come to us for money and aid, claiming that they are the righteous ones and that they stand for democracy and freedom. But more often than not, such talk is baloney, pure and simple. They want our help just so they can dispatch their opponents and then rule the roost. We should not be surprised that people oppressed by such allies of ours come to resent America. After all, we support and sponsor those who prey on them.
Do we really need to involve ourselves in the likes of the authoritarian King Abdullah or the corrupt Hamid Karzai? But if we are not friends with the Saudi King, some may reply, they will not sell us their oil. So what? We will drill our own. We have plenty of it, as the Deepwater Horizon spill amply showed.
We have many warnings from our founding fathers, who cautioned over and again against getting involved in other people's affairs. In his first inaugural address, Thomas Jefferson called for "peace, commerce, and honest friendship will all nations, entangling alliance with none."
In his farewell address, George Washington urged America to have "as little political connection as possible" with foreign nations.
Some two decades later, John Quincy Adams warned that "by enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she [America] would involve herself beyond the power of extrication in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standards of freedom."
Those who do not find this convincing may perhaps consider the fact that as the greatest debtor in world history, we are broke and simply do not have the money to conduct an aggressive foreign policy around the globe.
Which brings us to another point. It would not be a bad idea to cut the State Department by half or more. We do not need an army of bureaucrats cruising around the world while spending money and causing mischief.
The WikiLeaks disclosures show that it is not money well-spent.