It's important to remember that much of US foreign policy is decided by the executive branch. However, it is vitally important that we all remain engaged, whether we're active military, an elected official, seeking political office, or an everyday citizen of our great nation. Below are the ideals and principles that we should seek to uphold in all aspects of our foreign policy, and in dealing with our neighbors on the world stage.
For too long US foreign policy has been dictated by fear and greed. We've have seen it in the pilfering of natural resources, the propping up of vicious dictators, who are friendly to our economic interests, the assassinations of democratically elected officials, and through the practice of economic hegemony through the IMF. It is time that our actions, around the world, reflect the best of who we are as a country. Going forward, our foreign policy should seek to uphold peace, human rights, prosperity, and the security of our country and its allies, as well as the world as a whole.
Often, people think of America versus every other country in the world. Except, that's not the reality. We have many allies and friends that work diligently to aid us in our endeavors, trade us for goods, and all around help us to be better. We, in turn, do the same for them. It's the nations that we don't see eye to eye with us that seem to be at the forefront of our foreign policy. Granted, we should worry more about our enemies than our allies; but are some of these nations truly our enemies, or are they following our example? Take Russia for instance, and Ukraine. What is so different about Russia invading Ukraine to promote their sovereignty (ambiguously defined), then America invading.... well, any of the countries we've invaded over the past century? What's so different about Israel fighting Palestinians, or Chinese trying to bring Taiwan back into their leadership?
The difference, ladies and gentlemen, is that it is them doing it, not us. Now, are some of those examples bad for the World and America in general? Of course. Is it our business to intervene in every little scuffle on the World stage? Well that's the debate, now isn't it? When do we crush the opposition, and when do we let them be? It's tricky, and I don't envy the President, or our military leaders in having to make those decisions. The issue is when bipartisan politics, and biased media, try and influence the public into extremism or pacifism. Neither is the correct approach.
When it comes to security, decades of war has taken a toll on us as a country. We have sunk untold trillions of dollars and are arguably less safe than when we started. The loss of human life is immeasurable and unconscionable. Ending war is a value we should all aspire to.
These factors have led for some to call for an isolationist stand, which is understandable, but not practical or wise. Like it or not, the world is interconnected, and the US is an important world leader, whose sudden absence would create a power vacuum that we can't leave in good conscience.
The question then becomes, when do we get involved? It's obvious that we must defend ourselves, but when should we insert ourselves into the scuffles of other countries? These questions are nuanced and complex and they must be addressed as they arise. There is not a one size fits all answer. That said, diplomacy should always be the first answer and all diplomatic solutions should be exhausted before we use military force. We should also always move in conjunction with our allies and resist the urge to act unilaterally, unless our security as a nation is in direct threat.
Ultimately, any conflict involving other nations, and not the US, is none of our business no matter how much we want it to be. The issue is when do we intercede, and whose side do we take? Well, in a perfect world, the answer would be the good guys. But who are the good guys in Ukraine versus Russia, or Taiwan and China, or Israel and practically all of the Middle East? That depends entirely upon which news network, or report you watch at the time, and why it's such a complicated issue.
My take personally, as the author of this page, is that we should let the World handle it's own affairs, unless it's crimes against humanity. WMD's (legitimate ones, not made up ones as an excuse), or any overt/covert threat to the US, her allies, or her citizens abroad are in existence. That should be our foreign policy. Fight to defend humanity, dignity, and freedom, not for profit, oil, and just because.
The Trump Administration has imposed tariffs that have been met with similar actions from China, escalating tensions and leading us down the path to a trade war. That is not good for anyone involved. We must protect America's interests in imports and exports, with an even approach, and as much diplomacy as possible.
Trade is an important and integral part of international relationships. Whether they are your ally or not. Most Americans would probably agree that China is at best a wary ally, yet, most of our trade is with them in one way or the other. We also trade with Russia and Middle Eastern Countries. The other side of that coin is trade embargoes. This is the non-violent war mongering solution to international disputes, and something we as a nation have employed against Russia and North Korea to a remarkable effect.
In the case of Russia, we did it to deter their actions, whether or not you or I agree with them. It worked phenomenally. Does that mean Russia is the bad guy and we need to worry about Russia attacking us? No. Because Diplomacy to include economic trade agreements are a peaceful means to either forge alliances, ease tension, or to reprimand untoward actions or aggression. Now, in the case of North Korea, every ounce of trade embargo or military action that we have taken has been to deny them any hope of gaining a foothold of power in the world. This is because the leaders of that nation would wreak havoc on its neighbors if given the chance. So why haven't we, or the combined forces of an international coalition, wiped them off of the face of the Earth?
That's the second debate in foreign policy and international relations. When is war a necessity, and when is it enough to deprive a nation of its economy? When is too much deprivation hurting the populace (who are presumed innocent) more than the regime it's targeting? Well, the answer is; trade embargoes are supposed to. By acting as warning lights to stop those nations from acting out of line, and if you don't, you will suffer worse consequences. But what if that's not enough, when is war necessary? Well again, personally speaking, war would be necessary when a foreign nation is either unwilling to back down from its aggression towards you, or towards others. North Korea doesn't have to be hell bent on the destruction of everyone else, but its' leaders choose to be. So who are we to decimate a nation because of the antics of the people in power? Do we have the right to attack anyone because we disagree with them, even if it is arguably justifiable?
The answer is more so not what is the correct option, but what is the option you are willing to live with. Me, personally, I would be able to sleep at night if the US sent in teams of highly skilled soldiers to annihilate the political and military leaders of North Korea. I would wholeheartedly support that. I would not (under any circumstances) support a full scale invasion, in which civilian casualties would far surpass the threshold for acceptable losses (zero). Since Russia was the other primary example I gave, I'll give my thoughts on that as well. Russia is doing what Russia has always done and will probably continue to do. However, in the case of Ukraine, Russia and Ukraine aren't doing anything that we and the British Empire didn't do in 1776. In my opinion, Ukraine deserves its' sovereignty if the Ukrainian people wish it, and we should support that. However, if Ukraine becomes a state of Russia, again, then that is in no way our business. Some might argue it'd be a huge threat to our safety and security. How?
Ukraine, although a beautiful country, isn't wealthy, or powerful, and is full of unsettled land. True, it is deeper into Europe than Russia is by itself, and the natural resources Ukraine possess are considerable; but would it truly put Russia over the edge compared to the might of American war fighting capability? No. Would America win a fight against Russia in the first place? Probably, but it would escalate into WWIII and nobody would win if that happened. Which is largely why it hasn't happened, and why so many countries (with exceptions) try and avoid declarations of war. The point is, we should not look to escalate already tense situations, and blow up every problem that occurs. This no longer Ancient Rome, or Greece. This is the 21st century, and we need to start acting like the evolved, sentient species we claim to be. The means to do so is being demonstrated all around the World. Through unity comes strength. Through the people peace and prosperity!
The other aspect of international relations is trade. The values of peace, human rights, prosperity and security are also the core values we should seek to uphold in our policies involving international trade.
We have seen the disastrous effects of deregulation and we must regulate markets and fair trade policies to insure we are protecting consumers and workers.
The world is connected through our markets and that is an inescapable and unavoidable fact. The Trump administration has imposed tariffs, that have been met with similar actions from China, escalating tensions and lead us down the path to a trade war. That is not good for anyone involved. We must protect America's interests in all areas.
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