Foreign Policy Incoherence


By: Craig Chamberlain

One thing should be abundantly clear: this administration doesn’t have a clue when it comes to foreign policy. It’s message changes day to day, they’re selective – and contradictory- in their actions and have no idea what results they are aiming for. This President thought that all he would have to do is turn on the charm and the world dictators would be eating out of his hand. How could they resist? He would usher in a new order of peace, and he would do it without firing a shot. Now he’s finding out that the real world is a bit more complicated and doesn’t move to his whims. Dictators don’t play nice with people just because you ask them to, and they take such overtures as a sign of weakness.

Then there is the hypocrisy of the Democratic party. People who were calling President George W. Bush a war criminal, compared him to Hitler, prayed for his death, and said we have no business in Iraq or Afghanistan, are now twisting themselves into illogical knots to defend a President who is meddling in a country that posed no threat to the US, didn’t get congressional approval, and has fewer allies than Bush had(but the French are on board so that makes everything OK). This, they tell us, is not a war, but a humanitarian mission. We’re in this only to protect the Libyan people from being slaughtered by a ruthless dictator. And there is no argument that Qaddafi is a ruthless dictator. If the people of Tripoli seize him, and hang him in public I’m not going to shed any tears over his demise. But there are two problems with this motive.

First of all it’s inconsistent. If we’re going after Qaddafi then why aren’t we going after other dictators in the region? Why aren’t we going after Bashar Al- Assad of Syria? By all accounts he’s as ruthless as Colonel Qaddafi and is killing his people in an indiscriminate fashion to put down a popular revolt. Instead of condemning him the Democratic party praises him as a “model leader.” The Iranians get a free pass for their murderous behavior. The regime in Tehran is the worlds leading sponsor of terrorism. If we were to crush the Iranian regime Islamic terrorism would be a poisonous snake without its fangs. Instead, no matter how many people they slaughter, we look the other way. We insist that, somehow, we can reason with them. That with this President they will be open to negotiations. Apparently as long as then media doesn’t report on it and bring the violence to our attention we’ll let the thugs get away with it.

Secondly it’s unreliable. We don’t know anything about these Libyan rebels. Who are they, and what do they want? No one seems to be able to answer a very simple question. Apparently aside from wanting Qaddafi out of power( and who can blame them?) they have nothing in common. They are a mishmash of unhappy tribes, intellectuals, activists, and Islamic radicals. Who takes over when Qaddafi is ousted? There is no consistent policy of who we are to support. Do we continue our support of the monarchies, strongmen, and dictators in the region? Do we let events play out? Do we support the democratic forces in the area?

We’re fine with some autocracies, such as the ones in Saudi Arabia, and Syria. We’re letting events play out in Egypt. This will almost certainly lead to the Muslim Brotherhood taking over the country by the end of the year. Anywhere that there is a real democratic movement we either ignore it or do what we can to undermine it. It should be the foreign policy of this country, regardless of the party in power, to support, finance, and help democracy come to countries that are under dictatorial rule. Instead of acquiescing to the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt we should be helping democratic, secular, groups in the country that want to create a real civil society. And yes, such groups do exist.

We must be coherent. Do we want democracy, or are we OK with the status quot most of the time? Democratic governments are always more stable and less likely to support violence and terrorism than a dictatorship, even the most friendly dictatorships. It will benefit no one if these nations are taken over by Islamic radicals, no matter how much oil they sell us. If we want stability in the region then we must have democracy, and that can only happen if there is a serious foreign policy coming out of Washington. And we’re not seeing that in this administration.

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