Trump's dollar diplomacy

The United States has Turkey floored economically.  It doesn't take much pressure to get the Turks' attention.  That's why Turkey is making nice.  It has no choice.

Eisenhower used the same tactic in 1956 with Britain and France.  They were warring on Egypt over the Suez Canal.  The economic sanctions he threatened were enough for them to call the whole thing off.

FDR used a similar tactic with the Japanese, cutting off their oil imports from the U.S. and forcing them to either back off in China or go to war.  They unwisely chose war.  Bad decision.

The Mexican government decided to cooperate with us in border enforcement because it had no choice.  President Trump has the power to bring Mexican economy to its knees.

This is the 21st-century method of choice in American foreign policy.  Don't use military force.  Use economic carrots and sticks.  Sticks if you're bad, carrots if you're good.  If the North Koreans ever do come around, it will be the allure of the carrot (economic development) as much as the pain of the stick (sanctions).

Now that the Western hemisphere is energy independent, it can get along just fine without the rest of the world.  As a result, the United States is a great power without vital interests abroad.  We can pick and choose when we will engage with the world.  It will always be on our terms, and in our interest.

North and South America are islands, in the geopolitical sense.  The other island, maritime, nations of Britain, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand are allied with us in ruling the oceans, and thus the commerce, of the world.  Any attack on them is an attack on us.  We fought World War I for freedom of the seas, and we'll fight again for the same cause.

Beyond that, our interest in the conflicts of the world is discretionary.  President Trump intervenes with Turkey in order to prevent a humanitarian disaster and to keep ISIS confined.  You don't have to put young Americans in harm's way to do it.  Nancy Pelosi doesn't comprehend any of this.  In foreign affairs, she has the innocence of a child.

Fritz Pettyjohn blogs at

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