Until the nuclear era, the United States has been protected from direct foreign aggression by the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. Unfortunately, we need more than oceans to protect us now and our ignorance of foreign languages and cultures handicaps us from gaining insights into other nations. For that reason the human intelligence (HUMINT) capabilities of the U.S. are very limited and we are compelled to rely on our Allies to “cover” that weakness, even as they look to America for military protection.
What can we do to overcome this historic weakness?
If we review the lives of Vice Presidents who have served since Harry Truman, only Richard Nixon and George H. W. Bush had any knowledge of foreign policy. The Presidents they served, FDR, JFK, LBJ, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush and Barack Obama entered office with very little foreign policy experience. That reality has made the United States a vulnerable nation.
Due to ignorance of foreign policy, every recent American President has made some mistakes that jeopardized American national interests. Lyndon Johnson entangled us in a ground war in Asia. Jimmy Carter made a concern for human rights a priority over balance of power. The capture of American diplomats in Iran and President Carter’s decision to let that problem fester brought down his government. The former Governor of Arkansas, William Clinton, misjudged North Korea and now we face a rogue regime that has gone nuclear. Clinton also involved the U.S. in an unnecessary war in Bosnia. George W. Bush was motivated by a religion of democracy that resulted in the invasion of Iraq. That one act–equivalent to Woodrow Wilson’s rejection of balance of power in Europe –destroyed the balance of power in the Middle East and created conditions that favored the rise of Islamic terrorism. And Barack Obama’s sympathy for Muslim nations assured that the government of Iran would dominate south Asia.
Many ethnic groups in the United States have some experience in what our grandfathers called “the old country,” but after three generations that knowledge is gone. Cuban-Americans–now three generations removed from Castro’s Cuban revolution–did not protest the Obama Administration’s decision to grant diplomatic recognition to Castro’s communist state.
Ukrainian-Americans dimly remember the Soviet policies that led to a famine in Ukraine from 1932-33 that killed more than five million people.
The Armenian “genocide” that led to the murder of more than one million Christian-Armenians in Turkey is remembered in name only and still denied by the Turkish government.
Americans descended from emigrants from Russia, Ukraine, Cuba, Armenia, Poland and the Peoples Republic of China do not carry direct knowledge of how terrible events in the old country were nor how dangerous the world has become. Many do not care.
That is why two candidates for President of the United States today–Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump–are going to face a more dangerous world than was known by their predecessors.
Is there anything that can be done to lessen the possibility that they will make mistakes in foreign policy that keep our vulnerable nation at peace?
If there was any doubt that the GOP is divided, Ted Cruz’ performance at the GOP convention on the evening of July 20 and his remarks before a meeting of the Texas delegation the next day brought most of those divisions into the open.
Over the weeks and months to come, those divisions will become more visible through criticism of Ted Cruz. In many ways, this one Republican politician embodies every aspect of the philosophy of the Internationalist wing of the GOP that led Donald Trump to seek the GOP nomination.
No matter what the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election, the GOP will be shaped by discussion of these three questions about Ted Cruz:
- Is Cruz merely a self-absorbed narcissist?
- Is Cruz is a forceful advocate of a strict construction of the U. S. Constitution?
- Is Cruz is a “dominionist” who believes the word of God trumps the laws of man?
FoxNews has confirmed that Roger Ailes will depart the media giant that he created. Though this news will be treated in light of sexual harassment allegations against Ailes, the real story is about corporations and news.
Here is a link to comments made on this page five years ago about Rupert Murdoch, News Corp and the danger of corporations that own news media.
Members of the Murdoch family, born and raised in Australia, do not share the values that enabled Roger Ailes to grow FoxNews into the media powerhouse that it has become, and want him “out.”
That will signal the departure of conservatives from media owned by News Corp and offer others a chance to take News Corp’s place. Chris Ruddy’s NewsMax TV is a likely successor. The Wall Street Journal, already diminished by the departure of John Fund and other conservatives, will be read only for business news.
I can’t wait to see that happen!
Reports that Donald Trump was seeking ways at the last minute to reverse his pick of Mike Pence to be his Vice President candidate is one sign that The Donald is a “problem.”
Politics attracts all kinds of odd personalities, many ego-driven, who seem to be decent enough to hold appointive or elected office, but they are “problems.”
I now realize, in light of Trump’s crazy attempt to choose someone other than Mike Pence, that The Donald is one of those.
During the first Reagan Administration, the husband of Nancy Reagan’s best friend played a prominent role in the election campaign and then served eight years as Director of USIA. His name was Charles Z. Wick, a self-made, millionaire and ego-driven maniac. But, he had connections to the First Family, had done some work during the campaign for the candidate, and was given a top appointment. Those who came in contact with him, Ed Rollins, Kenneth Tomlinson, Gilbert Robinson, Robert Reilly, Leslie Lenkowsky, Philip Nicolaides, and others knew he was trouble.
James Baker and Edwin Meese personally warned the President that Wick was trouble, but Ronald Reagan said he was grateful for what Wick had done for him and could have any position he wanted.
Unfortunately, like The Donald, Charlie Wick lived in a world consisting only of himself. Wick literally ran through a series of presidential appointees, the best we conservatives had to offer the new President, and deprived Ronald Reagan’s Republican successors a pool of talented political conservatives with foreign policy experience.
Wick was abusive to underlings in ways that caused those of us who worked for him to think he had to be replaced. We figured that out within weeks of working with him.
Apparently if you have great wealth, you tend not to have concerns for others, and your first response when they do or say something you don’t like, is to fire them. Trump tried to do that to Mike Pence.
We already know that Trump has not studied domestic or foreign policy and he considers that a matter of principle. Opportunities will be lost, if we know or believe in something, so Trump keeps his mind immaculately clean of ideas.
Unfortunately, we conservatives who have been loyal to the Republican Party expect our Presidents to be loyal to us.
There is nothing in Trump’s background to suggest he will be loyal to anyone other than his ego-driven self.
All 7,000 students in University of Delaware dormitories were required to submit to reform of their thoughts by Resident Administrators (RA) The purpose of this official program of the Office of Resident Life was “to psychologically ‘treat’ and correct the allegedly incorrect thoughts, attitudes, values, beliefs, and habits of the students.”
When they were undergraduates at Haverford College, Dr. Stanley Kurtz, author of Radical in Chief, and Dr. Peter Wood, President of the National Association of Scholars, were subjected to a thought reform program administered by Haverford administrators.
Not many of us who go to college expect to be subjected to programs designed to remake us into something other than we were when we entered. Before Political Correctness became the dominant ideology of university professors and administrators, all we wanted was to learn something and earn a diploma.
When I attended Pitt as an undergraduate, so pervasive was the Liberalism of Pitt professors that I rebelled and became a “movement conservative.”
Dr. Kurtz and Dr. Wood rebelled and became advocates of true education, not the Politically Correct “stuff” that passes for “education” today.
Now, however, we have a President of the United States who declares that our “implicit biases” must be eradicated. Unfortunately, human beings will always act like the human beings they are and carry with them throughout their lives attitudes, biases, and beliefs that nothing can shake. What type of U.S. government program can change that? And will that program be consistent with freedom and liberty of thought and action that is the hallmark of American society?
I am frustrated by ignorance and bias that passes for news “reporting” on television and in print media. The New York Times and Washington Post are biased to the point that those two important sources of “news” are unreadable. Politico is equally biased and news anchors for CNN, MSNBC and CBS vary from being biased to simply voices of the Left. Reporters in the field are younger and the product of our deracinated university system so not only do they lack experience but they have not read widely.
Civility has been lost and agitation and propaganda have replaced reasoned speech.
Ninety-two years after the death of Lenin in 1924 and twenty-seven years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Lenin’s methods of revolutionary action have come to dominate American discourse.
Lenin’s “What is to be Done?” (1902) outlined the methods that would achieve revolution. They included a) maintaining large non-Party organizations with mass membership controlled by communists; b) concentration on agitation of single ideas to foment discontent; and c) organized activism aimed at “the masses,” not exclusively the “proletariat.”
From Lenin’s day onward, civil society in the West was disrupted by agitation and propaganda guided by a revolutionary mindset originating in the works of Karl Marx.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, agitation and propaganda did not suddenly disappear. A habit of agitation and propaganda had developed that was evident in every type of protest. President Barack Obama taught that technique at the Mid-West Academy in Chicago and mastery of agitation and propaganda enabled him to become President of the United States.
Barack Obama understood that, in more ways than one, Vladimir Lenin is alive and well.
Where on the spectrum of public discourse can we find sustained, reasoned reflection?