SI
SI
discoversearch

We've detected that you're using an ad content blocking browser plug-in or feature. Ads provide a critical source of revenue to the continued operation of Silicon Investor.  We ask that you disable ad blocking while on Silicon Investor in the best interests of our community.  If you are not using an ad blocker but are still receiving this message, make sure your browser's tracking protection is set to the 'standard' level.

   PoliticsForeign Affairs Discussion Group


Previous 10 Next 10 
From: Sun Tzu11/20/2020 11:05:25 AM
   of 281500
 
The Disastrous Idea That Won’t Go Away
Trump might be tempted to order a military attack on Iran, because his “maximum pressure” campaign failed to thwart that country’s nuclear program.


When President Donald Trump convened his national-security team last week to discuss whether to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, his top advisers dissuaded him from launching missile strikes, The New York Times reported. This comes as a relief, but that such a move was even under consideration is cause for alarm.

The scorn now being heaped upon the president’s Iran policy—which has manifestly failed to stop that country’s nuclear-weapons program—may animate the president’s interest in taking dramatic action before his term expires. Trump’s critics have even speculated that when the president recently bounced his top Pentagon officials, it was out of a desire to attack Iran. I still doubt the connection, but, regardless, this commander in chief has the authority to do a lot of damage in his remaining days in office—no matter who else is in the room with him. And attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities would be disastrous.

Tom Nichols: Iran’s smart strategy

Four years ago, President Trump campaigned on withdrawing the U.S. from Barack Obama’s antiproliferation agreement with Iran—officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—under which Iranians received relief from economic sanctions in exchange for stopping a variety of nuclear-development activities for up to 15 years. Although American intelligence agencies were unanimous that Iran was in compliance with the agreement, Trump argued that it was “a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made … the Iran deal is defective at its core.” The U.S. pulled out in 2018. The other parties to the agreement—China, Russia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, in addition to Iran—denounced Trump’s move, while Iran’s rivals Saudi Arabia and Israel praised it. Iran continued to abide by the agreement’s terms, Russia and China provided Iran with its benefits, and Europe created a payment system that allowed companies investing in Iran to skirt continuing restrictions on transactions conducted in dollars.

The Trump administration initiated a “maximum pressure” campaign that aimed to suffocate Iran’s economy until the country’s leaders submitted to an agreement without sunset clauses. This campaign has not succeeded. None of the 12 demands that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo outlined as preconditions for new negotiations with Iran have been met. By reneging on the JCPOA, America discredited the Iranians who’d advocated for it, strengthening the hand of Tehran’s most anti-Western elements. The administration’s basic theory—that while withdrawing from the agreement, the U.S. could build allied support for a more restrictive approach—has proved false. When the administration attempted to engineer the resumption of multilateral sanctions against Iran, it garnered only a single vote from other countries on the UN Security Council.

Nor has “maximum pressure” constricted Iran’s ability to mobilize militia in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon; impeded its support for terrorism; restrained its human-rights abuses; or prevented it from destabilizing regional governments. In fact, Iran has become more brazen, attacking shipping in the Gulf, conducting drone and missile strikes against an oil facility in Saudi Arabia, and—after the U.S. killed the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander Qassem Soleimani—resuming attacks on U.S. troops stationed in Iraq. The Trump administration has failed at reestablishing deterrence.

Given its fixation on Iran, the Trump administration might seek to use as pretext for a military attack on Iran the International Atomic Energy Agency’s recent announcement that the country has now succeeded in reprocessing 12 times the amount of low-enriched uranium that would have been permitted under the JCPOA. When nuclear material turned up at a location that Iranian officials had not declared to be a nuclear site, the IAEA described their explanation of it as “ not technically credible.”

Read: A new nuclear era is coming

Pompeo is currently traveling to Europe and the Middle East, and while the trip is billed as a series of consultations over his initiative to promote religious freedom worldwide (Turkish officials have bristled at that pretext and, by some accounts, refused to meet with him), it could also be an attempt to wring agreement out of allies whose territory, airspace, or bases would be needed in an attack on Iran. Some credence should be given to the possibility that such discussions are under way, because of a call General Mark Milley, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had with his Israeli counterpart late last week, which an official readout described only as a discussion about “the current security environment throughout the Middle East.” But an attack on Iran is a terrible idea for three reasons—which should also be sufficient to make such an attack unlikely even from an administration as reckless as Trump’s.

First, Iran’s nuclear-weapons program is geographically distributed, its key equipment is buried deep underground, and U.S. intelligence agencies have imperfect information about its location. Which means that fully destroying Iran’s nuclear program would require a sustained military campaign that could take several weeks. It would also require the participation of countries in Europe or the Persian Gulf region that are unlikely to give their consent. Recall that after Iran’s attack on Saudi Arabia in 2019, the Gulf countries opposed U.S. military retaliation. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif recently reminded his country’s neighbors, “Trump is gone in 70 days, but we’ll remain here forever.”

Second, although the U.S. has ways of punishing Iran militarily without destroying its nuclear infrastructure, those alternatives are even less attractive. The U.S. could launch a naval campaign of submarine- or air-launched missiles against Iranian military targets without utilizing allied bases or airspace. But these attacks would be largely symbolic. And the problem with symbolic uses of force is that they invite meaningful retaliation. Attacking Iran while banking on its restraint would be strategic malpractice. If Iran does have a clandestine nuclear-weapons program, the country’s leaders might consider actually using it if attacked. Iran could also resume conventional missile launches or terrorist attacks on U.S. bases in Iraq, use its precision munitions against U.S. Central Command facilities in Bahrain, or launch attacks elsewhere. The government of Iraq could well demand the removal of U.S. troops in protest, as could the governments of Qatar and Bahrain, decimating the future of U.S. power projection in the Middle East and the security relationships underpinning it. Iran retaliated modestly for the killing of Soleimani near an airport in Iraq; the country’s leaders would retaliate more fulsomely for an attack on their territory.

Third, a military strike without the need to preempt an imminent attack and with no attempt to gain approval from the UN or even a coalition of American allies would be incredibly damaging both to the United States and, more specifically, to Trump and his top aides. Trump would become an international pariah, shunned at Davos, unwelcome in and perhaps even prosecuted by foreign capitals, denied the foreign money that would otherwise boost his future prospects and ease his current debts. Even Saudi Arabia might not be willing to associate with him. President-elect Joe Biden surely would not support an unprovoked attack on Iran if he were consulted, so Trump would further sully the tradition of bipartisan foreign policy during a presidential transition. The incoming president would denounce any attack by Trump and repudiate its underlying policy—so Iran could end up in an even more favorable position than the Trump administration’s policies will currently leave it.

Read: Trump cultivated his own credibility crisis in Iran

Having failed in four years to craft a successful strategy for constraining Iran’s nuclear-weapons program, the Trump administration can only make things worse by conducting a military attack on the country in the waning days of this president’s tenure. Trump and the advocates of maximum pressure have learned the hard way that their theory of success was mistaken. They’ve managed to isolate the U.S., not Iran. Diplomacy is more than making demands and administering punishment; it also requires winning support from those countries essential to your policy’s success.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)


From: Graystone11/25/2020 11:04:22 AM
1 Recommendation   of 281500
 
It is what it is
or
You aren't what you aren't

Hoover and Trump have a lot in common. Petty, vindictive little men, but most of all, they were wrong.
It really is a toss up as to which was worse for America but Trump is probably going to win this battle.
Ongoing efforts by the sitting President damage America and American companies and interests every day.
The 2020 pandemic is watershed event affecting four or five generations of people all over the world.
Every nation from the wealthiest to the poorest has been affected but America has been victimized.
Beaten bloody and still losing so badly that the world just watches from a distance, some cheer, some cry.
And amidst this carnage of preventable death sits a loathsome spider of racism and white supremacy.
It is difficult to imagine that America is in the grips of a movement that wants to end the opposition of fascism.
The specter of unorganized people fighting paramilitaries and jackboots isn't registering for them.
It is almost impossible for an American to see the picture of America that is being painted right now.
A vicious brute who casually dismisses the deaths affecting families across the nation, just dismisses them.
Riots in the streets of cities across the nation protesting the very public slaying of another victim of racism.
That dismissed as well with a statement that America has no racism problem, just a law and order problem.
From outside of the bubble that America seems to be caught in, there is no explanation.
America has always had religion in it's many forms but now, the gospel of tolerance and love is done.
It almost seems like Catholicism is lost in America to fundamentalism, a win at any cost religion.
Fundamentalism is replacing the gospel across the country, perverted and twisted is the new truth.
An alleged rapist now sits in the highest court of the country, an alleged rapist and a perjurer.
There is an attack on the principles that form the fundament of the law, it is happening today, now.
In spite of numerous opportunities to present evidence lawyers like Giuliani just yell and shout in court.
It is an egregious display of ignorance from someone who has met the bar, it disgraces all lawyers.
And this fraud is supported by an other lawyers that know and understand it is a fraud.
I understand some law firms have clearly made their position known and they deserve credit for that.
It undermines justice, in trial after trial arranged and allowed by judges in state after state the same show.
The waving of arms and the shouting that something was stolen and no evidence, none, not one bit.
At least thirty judges have accepted and examined what has been called, by them, lies and spam.
In spite of this there is no cessation, it is like a mercenary force that is willing to do legal evil for money.
Social media is used to push the same story, massive fraud, no evidence beyond "everyone knows".
At this point America is likely tired of being attacked, tired of kidnap plots, tired of tear gas clearings.
Not tired of law and order, just desiring some, every institution in America has been and is being, attacked.
They are tired of dying, tired of fighting and they are tired of the vicious little place America has become.
Some are happy, religious fundamentalists are happy, filled with hate, they march on in their war on love.
The corrupt and criminal are very happy, the opportunities to take advantage have been legion, to the highest offices.
White supremacists have been uplifted and empowered with messages straight from the top racist in chief.
Fascists continue to attack and loot and damage property while trying to blame those opposed to fascism.
And all of this happens while America sits in a giant bubble of "it is what it is" ism.

Powerful economic partnerships are developing across the world while America wallows in the mire.
Pacific nations, including Canada, China and Mexico are part of a new trading alliance, Americans aren't
In America the petty business of making it illegal to do business in China is being enacted now.
And Americans continue to pay because of the trade war they started, subsidies aren't sales.
Nations are forging ahead with fighting the coronavirus, Pfizer's vaccine had nothing to do with America.
This is true, claiming credit doesn't work in this situation, Americans aren't responsible for this vaccine.
And countries around the world have national leaders that are addressing the virus, America's aren't.
It looks like New Zealand is willing to try and help the incoming President try to fight the virus, this is good.
The direct attack on climate science and science in general was started by the oil industry.
They have misinformed, lied, obfuscated and hidden the truth as a matter of course over generations.
Under the stupid simpleton ruled by greed and inherently corrupt they have redoubled their efforts.
Every agency that has tracked and tried to turn around the runaway disaster has been gutted.
Regulations have been rolled back in every area and polluters have been unleashed.
Sensitive environmental areas have been opened to activity and the destruction goes on and on.
American's aren't leaders in much anymore except in a host of very bad ways.
And American's aren't getting smarter, they seem blind to the reality of the situation.
America was built on facing and fighting fascism, on empowering individuals, on the rights of every person.
America was defended and world wars were ended when being smart become better than being strong.
Men who had abilities, not empty braggarts, built the weapons that ended mass conflict on this planet.
And now, almost eighty years later we are faced with a stupid person who wants to use them to look strong.
Nothing could emphasize more clearly how weak and useless America has become and is becoming

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)


To: Sun Tzu who wrote (281490)11/26/2020 7:31:36 AM
From: Sun Tzu
   of 281500
 
Scoop: Israeli military prepares for possibility Trump will strike Iran



Barak Ravid, author of from Tel Aviv


Defense Minister Benny Gantz attends a cabinet meeting. Photo: Abir Sultan/POOL/AFP via Getty

The Israel Defense Forces have in recent weeks been instructed to prepare for the possibility that the U.S. will conduct a military strike against Iran before President Trump leaves office, senior Israeli officials tell me.

Why it matters: The Israeli government instructed the IDF to undertake the preparations not because of any intelligence or assessment that Trump will order such a strike, but because senior Israeli officials anticipate “a very sensitive period” ahead of Biden's inauguration on Jan. 20.

The IDF's preparedness measures relate to possible Iranian retaliation against Israel directly or through Iranian proxies in Syria, Gaza and Lebanon, the Israeli officials said.Flashback: Last week, the New York Times reported that Trump raised the possibility of attacking Iran’s uranium enrichment facility in Natanz in a meeting with senior members of his national security team.

Trump raised the idea after being briefed on an International Atomic Energy Agency report about Iran’s growing stockpiles of enriched uranium, but top officials — including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — warned about the risks of regional escalation, per the Times.Trump seemed convinced that it would be too risky to strike Iran directly, but has considered other options, the Times reports.What's happening: Israeli minister of defense Benny Gantz spoke twice in the last two weeks with Christopher Miller, Trump's acting defense secretary. They discussed Iran as well as Syria and defense cooperation.

Last Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Saudi Arabia with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. One of the main issues discussed was Iran, Israeli officials say.Pompeo visited Israel and several Gulf countries last week to discuss Iran. State Department officials traveling with Pompeo told reporters “all options are on the table."While Pompeo was in the Gulf, U.S. Central Command announced that B-52 strategic bombers conducted a “short-notice, long-range mission into the Middle East to deter aggression and reassure U.S. partners and allies." That was seen as another signal to Iran.Hossein Dehghan, an adviser to Iran’s leader and a possible candidate in Iran's upcoming presidential elections, told AP last week that a U.S. military strike against Iran could set off a “full-fledged war” in the Middle East.What’s next: Senior Israeli officials tell me they expect Israel will get prior notice ahead of any U.S. strike against Iran. But they're concerned that won't be sufficient to fully prepare. Thus the order to the IDF to start taking preparatory steps under the assumption that such a scenario is possible

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read


To: Graystone who wrote (281491)11/26/2020 7:48:30 AM
From: Sun Tzu
   of 281500
 
Re: That dismissed as well with a statement that America has no racism problem, just a law and order problem.

That reminds me of the saying that the law equally bars the rich and the poor from sleeping under a bridge.

As to the rest of your post, you may want to google Steve Bannon and Honey Badger. The honey badger was Bannon's inspiration for code of conduct. Basically, have a thick skin and break all the norms and rules to get what you want and the hell with whoever who doesn't like it.

And that's what you're seeing in America; A dysfunctional marriage between two sides where one side doesn't care a bit for the other side and just wants to squeeze whatever it can no matter what.

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read


From: Sun Tzu11/27/2020 6:08:22 AM
   of 281500
 
What Donald Trump and Dick Cheney Got Wrong About AmericaWe allowed an important idea—American exceptionalism—­to be hijacked and misused. Now we need to rescue that idea and let it guide America at home and abroad.


Justin Fantl

Story by Jake Sullivan
January/February 2019 Issue
Politics


Excerpts from the article: theatlantic.com

Young people have been exposed to a particularly arrogant brand of exceptionalism. Many of them aren’t naturally inclined to see American foreign policy through a lens of optimism or aspiration. I hear this in my classes, and I see it in surveys that reveal a strong generational divide over the idea of “American exceptionalism.” Large numbers of young people question the merits of a unique American leadership role in world affairs.This is partly because they have seen the country’s foreign policy so frequently fall short. But I suspect it is also because they have been exposed to a particularly arrogant brand of exceptionalism. For example, Dick Cheney and his daughter Liz published a book a few years ago called Exceptional, in which they boast of America’s unmatched “goodness” and “greatness”—conceding nothing, admitting no error. In their telling, the Vietnam and Iraq Wars were sound strategic decisions. George W. Bush’s administration’s use of torture was right; its critics were wrong. And on and on. Young people hear these kinds of arguments and say, Count us out.

Meanwhile, older generations are tilting toward a different outlook: the United States as the world’s No. 1 sucker. It’s time, many believe, to stop shouldering the burdens and letting others enjoy the benefits. This is Trump’s vision of “America first.” He is hostile toward America’s allies and contemptuous of cooperation. He loves to goad and bully (and even bomb) other countries and says alarming and irresponsible things about nuclear war. He has pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal, the Paris climate agreement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and more. He is not preaching isolationism; he is preaching predatory unilateralism.

American exceptionalism has meant different things to different people at different times: the unique geographic advantages of the continent, the story of the Revolution and the writing of the Constitution, the legacy of the frontier, the impulse to universalize the American experience. Some have taken this to an extreme, asserting that America is blessed by divine providence.

There is a common thread: the idea that the United States has a set of characteristics that gives it a unique capacity and responsibility to help make the world a better place.

The foreign-policy community’s traditional response to that question has been to describe America as the world’s “indispensable nation.” That is no longer sufficient. By itself, indispensability is more wearying than energizing—it’s the boy in the Hans Brinker story, holding back the flood by putting his finger in the dike. It speaks to fulfilling others’ needs, not one’s own. And it comes with no limits.

The core purpose of American foreign policy must be to protect and defend the American way of life. This raises the obvious challenge that the very definition of the American way of life is currently up for grabs. No vision of American exceptionalism can succeed if the United States does not defeat the emerging vision that emphasizes ethnic and cultural identity and restore a more hopeful and inclusive definition: a healthy democracy, shared economic prosperity, and security and freedom for all citizens to follow the paths they choose. This requires domestic renewal above all, with energetic responses at home to the rise of tribalism and the hollowing-out of the middle class. Foreign policy can support that renewal, while dealing effectively with external threats.

These fall into two categories. The first emanate from other countries, specifically the major powers: There is China’s long-term strategy to dominate the fastest-growing part of the world, to make the global economy adjust to its brand of authoritarian capitalism, and above all to put pressure on free and open economic and political models. And there is Russia’s pursuit of a related strategy to spread neofascist ideology and destabilize Western democracies. The threats in the second category are those that transcend national borders: the spread of weapons of mass destruction; deadly epidemics like Ebola; irreversible planetary harm caused by climate change; another global economic meltdown; and massive cyberattacks.

All of these have the potential to cripple America as we know it. Here’s the kicker: None of them can be effectively confronted by the United States alone, and none can be effectively confronted if the United States sits on the sidelines.

The fact that the major powers have not returned to war with one another since 1945 is a remarkable achievement of American statecraft.
A national idea like American exceptionalism will fail, however, if it is neither plausible nor well defined. We should therefore identify the distinctive attributes of the United States, explain how to revive and reinforce them, and prescribe how to put them to work in foreign policy.

The first of those attributes has been a recognition that the best and most durable solutions are ones in which America’s gain also contributes to gains by others. From the republican ideas of the Founders—in particular, from their notion of interdependence—flows an attitude. Alexis de Tocqueville called it “self-interest rightly understood.” Today, we might call it positive-sum thinking.

This attitude guided America’s grand strategy after the Second World War, as the U.S. rebuilt vanquished foes, protected the sea lanes, and responded to natural disasters halfway around the world. For centuries, European states waged war with grim regularity. The fact that the major powers have not returned to war with one another since 1945 is a remarkable achievement of American statecraft. Meanwhile, China’s extraordinary development was the result not of failures in U.S. foreign policy but of its successes. The U.S. maintained the security that helped drive remarkable economic growth across the Asia-Pacific region.

This is why so many observers around the world fear American retreat more than they fear American domination. During my time in the Obama administration, when I talked with counterparts in the Middle East or East Asia, I often heard a litany of complaints about things the United States had done—punctuated by a demand that the United States do more. It reminded me of the classic restaurant joke: “The food here is terrible … and such small portions!”

We live in a country full of problem-solvers, in a world full of problems.At some level, most of the world knows that America’s positive-sum approach is valuable and unusual. At a gathering of Asian nations in 2011, I heard the Chinese foreign minister address the issue of Beijing’s ambitions in the South China Sea this way: “China is a big country, and other countries here are small countries. Think hard about that.” This is China’s way, and Russia’s way. It generally has not been America’s way.

The second key attribute of American exceptionalism is a can-do spirit. We live in a country full of problem-solvers, in a world full of problems. The historian Frederick Jackson Turner’s famous “frontier thesis” described Americans as having a “practical, inventive turn of mind, quick to find expedients.” For the past 70 years, a habit of problem-solving has defined America’s role in the world.

Americans may like to solve problems, but which problems should they be trying to solve? The answer cannot be all of them, everywhere. As the Harvard economist Michael Porter has pointed out, “The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” America’s priorities should consist of the list I outlined earlier—challenges that legitimately threaten its way of life. Americans should throw every ounce of their problem-solving weight against those threats.

Too often, the U.S. succumbs to the temptation to go toe-to-toe with adversaries in situations where they have an advantage. For example, when the Chinese military started building on rocks and reefs in the South China Sea, the U.S. jumped up and down even though it could do little to stop the construction short of using military force, which it was not prepared to do. The U.S. ended up looking weak. Worse, it let the measure of success become something other than its vital interest, which is not those rocks and reefs. Its vital interest is the freedom of navigation for commercial and military ships. The U.S. can enforce that interest by increasing naval operations in the area and getting its partners to do the same, demonstrating that the world rejects China’s claims to these waters and forcing Beijing to decide whether to stop us.

Finally, the relationship between America’s interests at home and its interests abroad must always be kept in mind. Obama, listening to his national-security team ask for more money for Afghanistan, would shake his head and point out that he was the only person in the room who had to think about all the things we were not spending money on at home. This should not be about guns versus butter, but about what will position America to compete effectively—especially with China, which is now poised to out-invest the U.S. in technological innovation and R&D.

It should also be about where the middle class fits into America’s foreign-policy priorities. The erosion of America’s middle class is sapping the nation’s strength. The main causes lie in domestic policy, but foreign policy bears responsibility as well.

During the Obama administration, when the national-security team sat around the Situation Room table, we rarely posed the question What will this mean for the middle class? Many other countries have made economic growth that expands the middle class a key organizing principle of their foreign policy. The American people want their leaders to do the same: to focus on how strength abroad can contribute to a strong economic foundation at home, and not just vice versa.

As a starting point, the U.S. must define what counts as its “economic interest,” looking beyond generic GDP growth in order to understand the impact of specific policies on corporations and communities. Who are the real winners and losers? I recall working on a diplomatic effort for an American firm that wanted to close an energy deal in Europe, which the State Department saw as a potential “win.” We later learned that the company planned to import materials from other countries, not the United States. Whose interests, exactly, were we serving? Whose interests are we serving by putting diplomatic muscle into helping companies like Walmart open stores in India?

America’s trade and investment strategies should place less emphasis on making the world safe for corporate investment and more emphasis on international tax and anti-corruption policies that target drivers of inequality. Jennifer Harris, a former State Department colleague, posed an arresting question when I spoke with her recently: How is it that the domestic economic agenda of the Obama administration could be so different in its values and priorities from President George W. Bush’s—so much more focused on the needs of working people—while its international economic agenda was nearly identical? The answer is that both political parties came to treat international economic issues as somehow separate from everything else. U.S. internationalism became insufficiently attentive to the needs and aspirations of the American middle class. Changing that is a prerequisite of an effective and sustainable foreign policy that enhances the American way of life.

A lot more at theatlantic.com

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)


To: Sun Tzu who wrote (281494)11/27/2020 6:10:22 AM
From: Sun Tzu
   of 281500
 
That is the most sane piece of FA strategy piece that I have read in a long time...which I cynically assume will be ignored...It is a good read with some very practical solutions and positions.

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)


To: Sun Tzu who wrote (281495)11/27/2020 7:48:40 AM
From: Sun Tzu
   of 281500
 
A well reasoned article that calls for a more honest and pragmatic national security and foreign policy strategy without abandoning American leadership and ideals. I'll be very happy if it ever happens.

============

The United States was fashioned not from a territory or tribe but from a set of ideas. The Founders proclaimed the values of liberty and equality. They established the supremacy of “We the People.” Although their worldview incorporated racist and sexist elements—the legacy of which continues to roil American society today—they also anticipated progress toward “a more perfect union.” Establishing a state based on ideas was itself exceptional.

Crucially, the Founders believed not just in individual rights but in the common good. They were not small-d democrats but rather small-r republicans. They embraced the notion of interdependence—that human beings have shared interests and need institutions to pursue those interests, and that liberty can be preserved only through such institutions. They believed that a good society is the product of active citizenship combined with responsible and virtuous leadership. And they viewed these truths as universal—the United States was not coming into existence to rise and fall as other powers had, but rather to transform the world.

The United States cannot expect to lead if it is offering only pragmatism, and not aspiration.The current moment calls for a new form of patriotism—for citizens of all political stripes to embrace a sense of national pride based on America’s founding ideas...It will also require a renewed belief in the power of American values in the world.

I can imagine two types of readers rolling their eyes. One group will ask why we should make values a priority at all, rather than simply securing our interests. But as the late John McCain once noted, “It is foolish to view reason and idealism as incompatible or to consider our power and wealth as encumbered by the demands of justice, morality, and conscience.” A place for values in the conduct of foreign policy is built into the character of a country founded on ideas. It is also essential to our interests, because freer, less corrupt, more open societies are less likely to threaten America’s way of life. Moreover, the U.S. cannot expect to lead if it is offering only pragmatism, and not aspiration. It can’t necessarily outbid China, which has much more cash to spend abroad, but it can out-persuade and out-inspire.

The other group will call out the many times that the United States has not acted on its asserted ideals. The theologian Reinhold Niebuhr reminds us why this will always be so: “Hypocrisy and pretension are the inevitable concomitants of the engagement between morals and politics,” he wrote, adding, “They do not arise where no effort is made to bring the power impulse of politics under the control of conscience.” American leaders after Trump do not need to make categorical claims that place values above every other consideration. They should be more honest and more precise, but no less proud. Values have been a genuine consideration in the weighing of interests, and the U.S. has tried far more than other great powers to take them into account. This is rare and impressive enough. Proceeding from this basis, a new American exceptionalism can more consistently, if more modestly, secure a place for values in the conduct of foreign policy.

theatlantic.com

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)


To: Sun Tzu who wrote (281496)11/27/2020 4:19:13 PM
From: Sun Tzu
   of 281500
 
My last word on that article. He is too forgiving of the past US mistakes, and he is of course very partisan (as should be expected of a political appointee). BUT, his diagnosis and remedy are dead on the money. Importantly, he is right that viewed properly, the US exceptionalism means that the US has exceptional abilities to make the world a better place and that this power should take the form of enlightened self interest. After all, the problems that the US faces are beyond America's ability to address single handedly, and even if they could be, it would be too expensive. Leadership is not about doing it solo. Nor is it about dictating terms.

As I consider which country could be the next global leader, I cannot find any candidates that are better suited than America. Neither the EU nor China (and certainly not Russia) have the right psychological make up and culture to lead the world to a win-win environment.

Unfortunately, the US record has been spotty at best - most notably under GWB and Trump who each took extreme positions on the US Exceptionalism, albeit in opposite directions and neither has been right. But the Democrats globalism agenda has not been wise either.

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last Read


From: roto10/19/2021 4:36:05 PM
1 Recommendation   of 281500
 
it's most unfortunate that this thread is dormant

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)


To: roto who wrote (281498)10/19/2021 7:44:40 PM
From: Elsewhere
   of 281500
 
Many posters active two decades ago are no longer around.

Colin Powell's death on Oct. 18 reminded me of this board.
wsj.com

I posted the text of his UN speech on Feb. 5, 2003 here.
Message 18539048

There is a different set of topics on the agenda now.

Share RecommendKeepReplyMark as Last ReadRead Replies (1)
Previous 10 Next 10