By Gary P Jackson
The Jerusalem Post’s Carolyn Glick writes about the dilemma facing the United States, and the world: What sort of foreign policy will our next president have?
Glick goes into detail discussing the three different schools of thought out there: Isolationism, neo-conservatism, and Jacksonian/Reaganesque. We know isolationism doesn’t work, and as Glick points out, America’s isolationist foreign policy in the last century actually led to two world wars, as the enemies of Liberty and Freedom were emboldened by a passive United States.
Neo-conservatism, nation-building, has been a disaster in many ways, and has us fighting in three different wars with no real master plan or objective.
It’s Jacksonian/Reaganesque foreign policy that Glick advocates, as do most Americans. It’s a policy of intervention when it makes sense, and with a specific goal and outcome in mind. Speaking of Reagan and the Jacksonian principles, she writes:
In truth, the dominant foreign policy in the Republican Party, and to a degree, in American society as a whole is neither neoconservativism nor isolationism. For lack of a better name, it is what historian Walter Russell Mead has referred to as Jacksonianism, after Andrew Jackson, the seventh president of the US. As Mead noted in a 1999 article in the National Interest entitled, “The Jacksonian Tradition,” the most popular and enduring US model for foreign policy is far more flexible than either the isolationist or the neoconservative model.
According to Mead, the Jacksonian foreign policy model involves a few basic ideas. The US is different from the rest of the world and therefore the US should not try to remake the world in its own image by claiming that everyone is basically the same. The US must ensure its honor abroad by abiding by its commitments and standing with its allies. The US must take action to defend its interests. The US must fight to win or not fight at all. The US should only respect those foes that fight by the same rules as the US does.
The U.S. president that hewed closest to these basic guidelines in recent times was former president Ronald Reagan. Popular perception that Reagan was acting in accordance with Jacksonian foreign policy principles is what kept the public support for Reagan high even as the liberal media depicted his foreign policy as simplistic and dangerous.
For instance, Reagan fought Soviet influence in Central America everywhere he could and with whomever he could find. Regan exploited every opportunity to weaken the Soviet Union in Europe. He worked with the Vatican in Poland. He deployed Pershing short-range nuclear warheads in Western Europe. He called the Soviet Union an evil empire. He began developing the Strategic Defense Initiative. And he walked away from an arms control agreement when he decided it was a bad deal for the US.
Throughout his presidency, Reagan never shied away from trumpeting American values. To the contrary, he did so regularly. However, unlike the neoconservatives, Reagan recognized that advancing those values themselves could not replace the entirety of US foreign policy. Indeed, he realized that the very notion that values trumped all represented a fundamental misunderstanding of US interests and the nature and limits of US power.
If a Jacksonian president were in charge of US foreign policy, he or she would understand that supporting elections that are likely to bring a terror group like Hamas or Hezbollah into power is not an American interest.
He or she would understand that toppling a pro-American dictator like Mubarak in favor of a mob is not sound policy if the move is likely to bring an anti-American authoritarian successor regime to power.
A Jacksonian president would understand that using US power to overthrow a largely neutered US foe like Gaddafi in favor of a suspect opposition movement is not a judicious use of US power. Indeed, a Jacksonian president would recognize that it would be far better to expend the US’s power to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad — an open and active foe of the US and so influence the identity of a post-Assad government.
For all the deficiencies of the neoconservative worldview, at least the neoconservatives act out of a deep-seated belief that the US as a force for good in the world and out of concern for maintaining America’s role as the leader of the free world. In stark contrast, Obama’s foreign policy is based on a fundamental anti-American view of the US and a desire to end the US’s role as the leading world power. And the impact of Obama’s foreign policy on US and global security has been devastating.
From Europe to Asia to Russia to Latin America to the Middle East and Africa, Obama has weakened the US and turned on its allies. He has purposely strengthened US adversaries worldwide as part of an overall strategy of divesting an unworthy America from its role as world leader. He has empowered the anti-American UN to replace the US as the arbiter of US foreign policy. And so, absent the American sheriff, US adversaries from the Taliban to Vladimir Putin to Hugo Chavez to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are empowered to attack America and its allies.
In the coming months, Republican primary voters will choose their party’s candidate to challenge Obama in next year’s presidential elections. With all the failings of the neoconservative foreign policy model, it is clear that Obama’s foreign policy has been far more devastating for US and global security.
Still, it would be a real tragedy if at the end of the primary season, due to neoconservative intellectual bullying the Republican presidential nominee was forced to choose between neoconservativism and isolationism. A rich, successful and popular American foreign policy tradition of Jacksonianism awaits the right candidate.
Read the entire article here.
In her article, Glick names names. Obviously Ron Paul is the leader of the very dangerous isolationist movement. Anyone who saw the latest Republican candidate debate, where Paul said it was quite OK for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon, understands why that kind of thinking is not only dangerous for the United States, but the entire world. Yes, other nations have nuclear weapons, but mostly as a deterrent. Iran is the one nation that would most certainly use these weapons without regard for the consequences.
We’re familiar with the neo-conservatives. George W Bush was pulled in that direction after September 11. Before that, he had been dead set against nation building and even preemptive strikes. Obviously the events of the worst attack on American soil changed things. As noble as his intentions were, we are still in Iraq and Afghanistan for the foreseeable future, with no clear direction.
Rick Perry has surrounded himself with Bush’s foreign advisors including Donald Rumsfeld, and Douglas Feith, a man who General Tommy Franks describes as “the dumbest f*cking guy on the planet!”
Rumsfeld disagrees, but Feith’s record is troubling:
Feith’s office was also responsible for the oversight of military prisons, including Abu Ghraib. And it turns out that Feith himself masterminded the policy of ignoring the Geneva Conventions against torture. Nevertheless, Secretary Rumsfeld defended his deputy in August 2004 when he told the press that Feith is “just a rare talent”
“He is one of the intellectual leaders in the administration” and “without question one of the most brilliant individuals in government.” After his 2005 resignation, the Pentagon’s Inspector General investigated Feith’s office for supplying pre-war intelligence assessments — at odds with findings of the intelligence community — outlining strong ties between Iraq and al-Qaeda. The Inspector General’s office found Feith’s work “inappropriate” but not illegal.
Other than his long standing open borders wish for Mexico and Texas, Perry has said very little on foreign policy, except the usual soundbites we get from politicians. So the only way we can really judge Perry is by the company he is keeping. It appears he will be following in the tradition of the Bush administration and be a nation building neo-con.
That brings us to the Jacksonian, or as I prefer, Reaganesque school of foreign policy. Of all the candidates for President [and yeah, she’s a candidate] Governor Sarah Palin is the only one who has a solid, stated, foreign policy. The “Palin Doctrine” if you will.
Speaking at Colorado Christian University (CCU) on May 2, 2011, in tribute of our troops, Sarah Palin went into detail concerning her foreign policy: [emphasis mine]
There’s a lesson here then for the effective use of force, as opposed to sending our troops on missions that are ill-defined. And it can be argued that our involvement elsewhere, say in Libya, is an example of a lack of clarity. See, these are deadly serious questions that we must ask ourselves when we contemplate sending Americans into harm’s way. Our men and women in uniform deserve a clear understanding of U.S. positions on such a crucial decision. I believe our criteria before we send our young men and women—America’s finest—into harm’s way should be spelled out clearly when it comes to the use of our military force. I can tell you what I believe that criteria should be in five points.
First, we should only commit our forces when clear and vital American interests are at stake. Period.
Second, if we have to fight, we fight to win. To do that, we use overwhelming force. We only send our troops into war with the objective to defeat the enemy as quickly as possible. We do not stretch out our military with open-ended and ill-defined missions. Nation building is a nice idea in theory, but it is not the main purpose of our armed forces. We use our military to win wars.
And third, we must have clearly defined goals and objectives before sending troops into harm’s way. If you can’t explain the mission to the American people clearly and concisely, then our sons and daughters should not be sent into battle. Period.
Fourth, American soldiers must never be put under foreign command. We will fight side by side with our allies, but American soldiers must remain under the care and the command of American officers.
Fifth, sending in our armed forces should be the last resort. We don’t go looking for dragons to slay. However, we will encourage the forces of freedom around the world who are sincerely fighting for the empowerment of the individual. When it makes sense, when it’s appropriate, we will provide them with material support to help them win their own freedom.
We are not indifferent to the cause of human rights or the desire for freedom. We are always on the side of both. But we can’t fight every war. We can’t undo every injustice around the world. But with strength and clarity in those five points, we’ll make for a safer, more prosperous, more peaceful world because as the U.S. leads by example, as we support freedom across the globe, we’re going to prove that free and healthy countries don’t wage war on other free and healthy countries. The stronger we are, the stronger and more peaceful the world will be under our example.
Read more and watch her speech here.
Like any policy Governor Palin sets forth, you can state the essence of the “Palin Doctrine” in two words: Common sense. We can’t be the world’s policeman, and we can’t right every wrong. That said, we can indeed remain the strongest power for good in the world, and lead by example. A strong United States always means a safer world. Remember, Reagan, with his “Peace through strength” policies, won the Cold War without firing a single shot.
In furtherance of her doctrine, Sarah hired Peter Schweizer, the man who literally wrote the books on how Reagan won the Cold War. Schweizer is a fellow at the Hoover Institute, and rock solid as an adviser.
One more piece of Governor Palin’s strong foreign policy, is also a strong national security policy, and something no one else is really talking about, and that’s an aggressive national energy strategy.
Sarah Palin will be the Energy President. She will be aggressively working to make the United States energy independent with an “all of the above” approach that will include opening up exploration of our own resources as well as the use of alternatives that make economic sense.
A strong energy policy, one that makes dependence on foreign sources of energy obsolete, will put the United States in a stronger position to deal with rogue nations and foreign powers, that work against our best interests, without the concern of interruptions in our energy supply. This is a bigger deal than most imagine.
It’s seems with our economy in free-fall, and all of the disastrous policies the Obama regime is implementing, foreign policy has sort of dropped off the map. People aren’t paying much attention. The fact is, a successful president must have a strong understanding of how the world works, and a solid policy for dealing with it. Sarah Palin is the one candidate who has this, and has had it for years. Sarah Palin is the one proven leader who will make it work. The one leader we can trust.