Thursday, March 19, 2015

Rebuilding Foreign Policy

Anyone who reads 44's new “National Security Strategy,” might come away believing that six years ago American embarked on a successful course of world leadership. They might believe we’d succeeded, as a superpower must, in reducing the danger we and our allies face and by spreading stability around the world.

The truth is precisely the opposite.

America’s foreign and defense policies are weak and in disarray. The world has grown far more unstable in the past six years as a result of the president’s failure to lead, his policies and his consistent practice of restraining America’s influence around the world.

First, our foreign policy should be closely interwoven with our national defense and economic policies. Properly formulated, each would complement the others.

Second, U.S. foreign policy has to be constructed around strategies and initiatives undertaken only after careful deliberation of the foreseeable consequences, four or five moves up the chess board. We have to anticipate how our adversaries and allies will respond to each initiative. Because 44 has pursued his initiatives in willful disregard of facts on the ground and the clearly foreseeable consequences, we have lost much of our credibility among nations and with it the ability to influence important events.

Our loss of credibility— and with it our superpower influence— has led directly to highly dangerous developments in the Ukraine, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and across the Middle East. Too many of our allies (including the Saudis and Israelis, both of whom have been vocal in rejecting 44’s actions) have divorced themselves from 44’s policies. Too many of our allies, especially Israel, have been damaged by his actions. Diminished credibility and miscalculation based on false threats— such as 44’s “red line” in Syria— only increases instability and ultimately leads to unnecessary war.

Third, our next president has to have honest discussions about foreign policy— and national security policy— with the American people. When major decisions are to be made, such as 44's earlier strategic arms agreement with Russia and the nascent nuclear deal with Iran, the president should explain to Americans why his important decisions benefit our national security. If he cannot, the action should not be taken. This is an essential part of leadership that 44 has never displayed.

Pic - "Divide and conquer"