GLEN COVE, NY – American foreign policy is in the worst disarray of the past 195 years, and our Secretary of State thinks “climate change” (formerly “global warming” and before that “the new Ice Age”) is our greatest problem.
After the loss of Czechoslovakia and mainland China to the communists in 1948 and 1949, respectively, the United States adopted a foreign policy of “containment.” The goal was to stop Communist expansion by surrounding the Communist world with anti-Communist countries. This policy did not work well. Dean Acheson blundered into the Korean War. Dwight Eisenhower lost Cuba, part of Indochina, North Korea, Hungary, Algeria, and the Suez Canal. Even worse, he allowed the seeds to be sown for an anti-Western, anti-Christian revival of militant Islam in North Africa and the Middle East.
We never really got India on our side, and we lost Indonesia to a greater and lesser extent from time to time. Lyndon Johnson bungled Vietnam, and Richard Nixon legitimized the loss of mainland China. Perhaps the worst event was Jimmy Carter’s loss of Iran to Moslem extremists. For all of its failures, containment had one redeeming feature — its losses affected a small percent of the countries in the world.
From 1949 to 1981, half of the Republican politicians and American conservative writers consistently opposed the policy of containment and argued for a policy of victory. In 1981, victory became our national policy, and the West subsequently won a spectacular victory in the European theater of the Cold War. Although the West did not defeat communism in Asia and Latin America, the defeat in Europe eliminated it as our main enemy.
Despite this gain, we soon began to incubate a new enemy. Under Carter, we abandoned an ally and installed a new government in Iran that was religiously absolutist, violent, deadly, lawless, and intolerant. It drove millions of Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians into exile. It imposed the death penalty for deviations from a strict form of Islam. It kidnapped diplomats. It is now set on a course to develop a nuclear weapon to destroy Israel.
After ridding itself of Communist rule, Afghanistan acquired a government that was as Islamic, deadly, and intolerant as the one in Iran. Saudi Arabia’s government had long enforced an extreme form of Islam by means of the death penalty. A form of Islam that did not respect foreign diplomats and diplomatic buildings; that severely punished minor deviations from rules about dress, prayer, and almost everything else; and that imposed severe restrictions on the rights of women, spread throughout Northern and Equatorial Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
From 1989 to 2009, the United States took some decisive action against the criminal government of Afghanistan and then withdrew. The United States waged two wars against an Iraq ruled by a vicious dictator. The second war may have been ill advised, but following it up by American interference in Iraqi politics was disastrous. During this period, the foreign policy of the United States focused on spreading democracy to the whole world. Our government began to place a higher value on universal suffrage than it did on freedom of religion, respect for diplomatic immunity, fair trials, the right to life, adherence to contracts, and most of the values that make a civilized society.
Under the Obama administration, the network of alliances and relationships has collapsed.
We can count our real allies today on one hand. Our closest (but sometimes difficult) ally, Israel, is angry with us. Great Britain is incapable of mustering a parliamentary majority in support of the United States. A top State department official has vulgarly insulted the European Union. The United Nations (acting as if Alger Hiss received its charter on Mount Sinai) has insulted the Catholic Church. Pakistan, once one of our strongest allies, now hates us. The developing détente with Russia is being destroyed as Putin preaches Christianity to Obama.
Our troops are dying in Afghanistan, sometimes shot in the back on American installations, while the supposedly friendly government refuses to negotiate with us. The justifications for our presence in Afghanistan are increasingly absurd. Ukraine is slipping into civil war; Russia (which murdered 2 million Ukrainians within the memory of living people) seeks hegemony over Ukraine.
Our Syrian policy is an international embarrassment. Our President’s respect for basic diplomatic protocol is nonexistent. He even talks over the playing of the national anthem of the country he is visiting.
We need for some serious people to think about what our diplomatic objectives are.