T Nation

Foreign Policy Differences Between the Two Parties?

This article makes a good case for there not being any. This is a quote that echoes a sentiment I’ve been saying for a while “The fact of the matter is that Presidents tend to act alike when they get into office, because they are confronted with problems that cannot be answered with quick zingers during a stump speech in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Frackville, Pennsylvania.”

http://tomnichols.net/blog/2012/10/15/americas-permanent-right-wing-foreign-policy/

Thoughts?

james

[quote]atypical1 wrote:
This article makes a good case for there not being any. This is a quote that echoes a sentiment I’ve been saying for a while “The fact of the matter is that Presidents tend to act alike when they get into office, because they are confronted with problems that cannot be answered with quick zingers during a stump speech in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Frackville, Pennsylvania.”

http://tomnichols.net/blog/2012/10/15/americas-permanent-right-wing-foreign-policy/

Thoughts?

james[/quote]

Yep. And they are being advised by people who got the same educations at the same elite schools. They read the same text books and examined the same case studies. In the end, ideological differences matter, but not to the degree that people pretend.

From the article:

That’s nonsense. The U.S. was/is contending with the Soviet Union/Russia who have veto power and backed Communist insurgencies and radical Islamist regimes. In the first Gulf War the USSR had a treaty of friendship with Sadam’s Regime and for two decades had trained the Iraqi military and supplied it with billions of dollars of weaponry. Throughout the 90’s Russia tried to lift sanctions against Iraq. Even so the U.S. worked through the U.N. before defending Kuwaiti sovereignty.

Today, the U.N. has been hi-jacked by the 57 member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, Russia, China, Venezuela and a host of tinpots. It has irreparably broken down as its predecessor the League of Nations did. The author makes no mention of any of this merely an assertion that it was the U.S. who had “disdain” for the U.N.

The general thrust of the article is that the U.S. shows a “general disregard for the legal niceties of sovereignty and other points of international law” and that there is no difference in foreign policy between the Democrats and Republicans. There is no analysis of Obama’s foreign policy whatsoever to sustain this contention. Obviously it can’t be sustained. Obama literally ignited the Arab Spring: supported the Ikhwan in Tunisia, dumped a vital ally of 30 years(Mubarak) and supported the Ikhwan in Egypt. He led an unconstitutional war to oust another ally(Gaddafi) all the while allowing Iran to run rampant and pressuring Israel not to defend themselves. And allowing Russia to move in and back Syria/Iran? No other administration would act like that. Then there’s the fact that Obama has overseen massive defence cuts and a recent poll(Military Times) showed he has only 26% support in the military. Obama’s foreign policy is an absolute shambles.

Given your disdain for Islamic terrorism, I find it odd that you characterize Gaddafi as an ally.

[quote]smh23 wrote:
Given your disdain for Islamic terrorism, I find it odd that you characterize Gaddafi as an ally.[/quote]

A “normalising” of relations began with Gaddafi in the mid-1990’s and was formalised when Tony Blair struck a deal in 2004. This is a Whitehouse cable dated August 10, 2009:

“Libya has acted as a critical ally in U.S. counter-terrorism efforsts, and Libya is considered one of our primary partners in combating the flow of foreign fighters. Our strategic partnership in this field has been highly productive and beneficial to both nations…Libya has stated its number one priority, in return for relinquishing WDM, is a security guarantee by the U.S. against foreign aggression.”

Obama turned on Gaddafi out of the blue and backed the revolutionary forces that toppled him.

Sexmachine - you’re missing the forest for the trees. The point of the article is that if there was really a difference then we would see Dems pulling all our troops back and disengaging everywhere. But that’s not what we are seeing at all. Both parties are projecting U.S. power and doing so in roughly the same manner.

james

[quote]atypical1 wrote:
you’re missing the forest for the trees. The point of the article is that if there was really a difference then we would see Dems pulling all our troops back and disengaging everywhere.
[/quote]

The only difference in foreign policy would be a complete withdrawal/surrender?

Obama is projecting U.S. weakness, appeasing our enemies and isolating/removing our allies.

[quote]SexMachine wrote:

[quote]smh23 wrote:
Given your disdain for Islamic terrorism, I find it odd that you characterize Gaddafi as an ally.[/quote]

A “normalising” of relations began with Gaddafi in the mid-1990’s and was formalised when Tony Blair struck a deal in 2004. This is a Whitehouse cable dated August 10, 2009:

“Libya has acted as a critical ally in U.S. counter-terrorism efforsts, and Libya is considered one of our primary partners in combating the flow of foreign fighters. Our strategic partnership in this field has been highly productive and beneficial to both nations…Libya has stated its number one priority, in return for relinquishing WDM, is a security guarantee by the U.S. against foreign aggression.”

Obama turned on Gaddafi out of the blue and backed the revolutionary forces that toppled him.[/quote]

Yes, he used the last two decades and the post-9/11 era in particular to save face. But the guy had his fingers in shady pies all over the world. I haven’t looked into this further so take it with a grain of salt, but I did read recently that, aside from the usual sorts of Jihadism and anti-Americanism that you’d expect, Gaddafi had a hard-on for pretty much any kind of rebellion he could find, even trying to fund Aborigene rebellion in Australia.

The way I see it, cooperative or not in the recent past, he was a financier of terror and an autocrat with blood on his hands. Good riddance.

[quote]SexMachine wrote:
Obama is projecting U.S. weakness, appeasing our enemies and isolating/removing our allies.[/quote]

How so? He’s pretty aggressive with the drones against Al Qaeda and stepped into Libya. I would say that’s hardly appeasing our enemies as the only true enemy that I really know of now would be Al Qaeda.

Our only true ally is Britain and that was proven during Iraq and Afghanistan. If you think we have allies in the Middle East I would say we have trading partners and nations that we want to see maintain power but that’s not the same as an ally. If China invaded the U.S. (it couldn’t happen but say it did) who would project power to help us out? It would be Britain.

And yes, any true difference in policy would be something that the Libertarian party brought into place which would be similar to isolationism.

james

[quote]atypical1 wrote:

How so?

[/quote]

He was elected on a mandate of talking with Ahmadinejad and North Korea. He then immediately went on a tour of the ME(with one notable exception) and Europe in what some have dubbed the ‘apology tour.’ His “talks” with Ahmadinejad and North Korea, predictably failed and were exploited cynically by those regimes to further their offensive military capability.

He grovelled before Putin and brought him a “reset button” care of Hillary - was a laughing stock in the Russian nationalist media. Putin marches through Georgia, makes territorial claims in the Arctic, flies strategic nuclear bombers through U.S. airspace and arms Assad and the Iranians. Russian media has reverted to a kind of crude, Soviet-style propaganda.

Venezuela is harbouring Hezbollah and al Qaeda operatives have been arrested trying to cross the border which the President won’t secure. These are only some of the reasons along with others I’ve mentioned above that Obama’s foreign policy is extraordinarily radical and ridiculous - ridiculous enough to distinguish his foreign policy markedly from any other President or serious candidate in modern history.

That’s because he can’t arrest them due to his policy of civilian trials and closing down GITMO.

That was part of my criticism of his foreign policy. Now it’s a hotbed of Islamists and they’re killing ambassadors, desecrating our war cemeteries and plotting terrorist attacks and so on.

No, that would require a ridiculous feat of mental gymnastics whereby we pretend that the Pakistanis and the Saudis and the Qataris and the Muslim Brotherhood and the Red Chinese and Putin and the Iranians and Chavez and all the rest aren’t really our enemies and aren’t working constantly against us.

There are different kinds of allies. We were allied with Stalin during WWII. The ME is currently in an Islamic revivalist/supremacist revolution - people like Mubarak and even Gaddafi after the mid-1990’s helped keep the place from erupting.

Don’t count on it.

I see a true difference between Obama’s foreign policy and that of any other President in or serious Presidential candidate in modern history.