March 14, 2017
“Foreign Policy: A World View”
Across the globe, there are innumerable challenges to peace, prosperity, and free choice. For the past hundred plus years, the United States has been a leader, a beacon of diplomacy, a country on whom much of the rest of the populated world looked for answers, assistance, and foresight. While it is still early in our new President's administration, it appears that he is taking the position that it is NOT our place to lead the world in the direction of peace, prosperity, and freedom of choice. I surely hope that's not the case.
Is it our destiny to be the “policeman” of the planet? I certainly hope not; no American wants that responsibility. We'd be hard pressed to afford it. However, we also cannot build a wall around the country, put a protective nuclear dome over our people, and ignore the deadly challenges facing the people's of other countries, not to mention the potential ecological catastrophes which we face (whether certain groups choose to believe that they are real or not). No, Americans don't live inside a protective bubble. The “criminals” (some call them terrorists, which only enhances their prestige among their own) who are at work in Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Afghanistan, and numerous other countries must be brought to justice, and their organizations must be destroyed. Yes, others will arise, and that will continue through the end of time. However, if we do nothing...as Edmund Burke has been quoted (he was adaptively quoting several writers who preceding him), “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men should do nothing.” When disease is first spotted, it must be eradicated; if not, it will spread and infect those who are susceptible to it. Whether it's dictatorship or organized crime or religious zealotry, the “criminals” must be opposed!
While our State Department is in transition, seemingly doing little but waiting for direction from the White House (the new Secretary of State wants to travel alone like the Exxon-executive that he is). Our diplomats must continue their work of maintaining friendly relationships with all countries, helping where we can, and working to prevent the two other world powers (I consider Europe, Australia, and several other countries to be working with us on these tasks), Russia and China, from undermining our efforts to support the free choice of other people. While Russia appears to be more concerned about increasing its influence in the Middle East, China is spreading its influence throughout Africa and SE Asia, both through diplomacy and its military growth.
While most people see both Russia and China as communist countries, I have a different view. Russia has transformed from communist to semi-democratic to its criminal oligarchy, with Vladimir Putin as the “godfather.” His political intentions appear to be an attempt to re-establish the old U.S.S.R. He has a strong hold on power, but I have always believed in the “power of the people.” Unless he is willing to turn out his private military forces (those most loyal and rewarded among the Russian army) to shoot people in the streets, which would lead to a civil war in Russia, he will be eventually be turned out of office. His stolen wealth and greed could see him “retire,” but unless the “mafia-style” corruption is uncovered for all Russians to see, he'll never pay for what he's done. He's tantamount to a dictator. We should speak to the Russian people, work for their benefit, and maintain our relationship with them. However, THEY must be the ones who get rid of Putin and the criminal syndicate which controls the resources and government of Russia.
China, on the other hand, is a fairly efficient communist government. Yes, they are attempting to expand their sphere of influence throughout Asia and Africa. It is a concern, one which must be met with determined resistance, a military presence when necessary, but war with China would benefit no one. As China spends more and more of its national resources trying to expand, it will reach a point where the cost outweighs the benefits. China is better as our friend, our economic partner. With five times the population of the United States, its potential for ecological damage to the atmosphere (pollution from all those cars and factories which don't meet the same clean air standards as ours) and the oceans is a good enough reason to work with them to keep this planet inhabitable. It could be that China's form of government, while still repressive, is a better system for such a large population. I can't imagine a “real, elected government” of thousands of representatives and senators like we have. It's hard enough for our 535 (approximate) elected Congressional members to pass legislation. Imagine what they would face.
Aside from the “war on criminal mobs” (my preferred term, rather than terrorists), I believe that one of the primary duties of our diplomatic corps should be to feverishly work toward not just “zero population growth” but reducing the populations throughout the developing world. So-called “western” governments of Europe and North America have conquered this problem. Growth in these countries is from immigration. China had a “one-child” policy since the 1970's to curb the rising population, but it has recently “modified” that rule to allow certain couples to have two children. At one time, India provided free “vasectomies” in train stations. The Indian government is working to find solutions to its burgeoning population and the suffering which it brings to such a large population. India's resources cannot provide for an unlimited food supply. South American populations continue to grow, with natural resources being the victims as more land is needed for food and housing. One need only look at the slums of Rio de Janeiro to see what uncontrolled population growth does for people.
While the ”intransigent” religious “stone walls” in the United States continue their assault on abortion, the world's population continues to spiral toward “food wars.” Other countries (primarily China and India) have no problem with abortion as a last-resort method of population management. It would behoove those in this country to follow their lead. If the amount of dollars, both private and taxpayer, that are being used to pay lawyers and legislators and advertising companies to fight abortion rights were used to prevent pregnancy, both here and around the world, the abortion rate worldwide could be reduced. It's difficult for our diplomats to say one thing while the “stone hearts” here at home do another. Preventing pregnancy and unwanted births worldwide leads to less famine, less suffering, less ignorance, fewer wars, and better health for all humans.
If President Trump and his supporters believe that we need fewer diplomats and that we should spend less helping those around the world who are most vulnerable to “criminals” who will not only take advantage of them but use them to attack the “western world,” he can certainly do that. For the short time that he's in office, it might appear to be a good economic policy. Unfortunately, years down the road, a price will have to be paid when we are besieged by criminals who have built “leagues of suffering people” into new “ISIL” armies (or whatever new moniker they choose to use) or by hordes of starving, disenfranchised, disillusioned people who were abandoned by the west and now need more help than ever. If we do nothing, if we ignore those who need us now, what will be the cost later? If we stand by and watch developing countries destroy their land, poison the oceans, and pollute the air that we share, what will be the price down the road. We must be engaged daily throughout the world; our future depends on our decisions and the diplomats who represent us before the world; it's a small price to pay. Just look at the budget!
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