Thursday, May 11, 2017

What Interests?

I am often critical and sometimes outright dismissive of US foreign policy and a "doctrine" which is in the foundation of a disaster which US foreign policy is. I still remain on this position and I can justify it; it is not very difficult to do. Having said all that, when looking at the sorry state of today's world and understanding that it is undergoing profound changes, there are constants one must consider when analyzing those changes. Among those constants are legitimate national interests of the United States of America. The United States does have national interests which she absolutely must protect and her livelihood depends on protection of those interests. But what are those interests? What is "legitimate" in this case, what is worth for the US to draw real red lines and fight for? This is not an easy question to answer. Once pathos-ridden globalist rhetoric, which permeates most of American geopolitical documents, is discounted, one has to recognize that far from being self-proclaimed guarantor of "world order", the United States not only contributed greatly to its destabilization but ran out of resources to even barely maintain this order, let alone take on what US considers her main geopolitical rivals: Russia and China. 

As Bronislaw Malinowski wrote in his An Anthropological Analysis Of War in 1941:  
Another interesting point in the study of aggression is that, like charity, it begins at home. 
In 1951 Daniel J. Levinson in his Authoritarian Personality And Foreign Policy went further: 

America has only recently come of age internationally; the understanding of international relations requires an ability and a readiness to think in terms of institutional abstractions to which Americans are only just getting accustomed; our newspapers and other communications media tend to perpetuate the existing confusion and ideological immaturity...  The American nation as a symbol is glorified and idealized; it is regarded as superior to other nations in all important respects. Great emphasis is placed on such concepts as national honor and national sovereignty. Other nations are seen as inferior, envious, and threatening. At the worst they are likely to attack us; at best they seek alliances only to pursue their own selfish aims and to "play us for a sucker".

This was written 66 years ago. Most of it applies today easily to current America and it is precisely a set of the US' recurring attitudes which prevents her from both formulating her vital national interests and defending them. I could go deep into American Founding Fathers ideas and wax historical here but those points of view and ideas are so well known that it simply makes no sense to repeat them again. Maybe with the exception of John Quincy Adams' reminder to US Congress in 1821 that America:

But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force. The frontlet upon her brows would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre the murky radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.
Adams was prescient. But the problem of modern day America turning into "empire" is the fact that US fails miserably as an empire to start with and, for all intents and purposes, is not very good at fighting those "imperial" wars. Not to speak of Adams' warning which came true completely--"enlisting under other banners", those banners being, of course, first of all banners of Israel and of Arabian Peninsula medieval satrapies. A catastrophe in the Middle East was not in American national interest, not to speak of the millions upon millions killed, maimed, displaced innocent Arabs, Christians, Alawites etc. But then again, how US can define her real national interest when she fights constantly for someone else' interests, many of which far from being merely economic ones, are very often genocidal, such as the case of Saudi Arabia's (with US support) behavior in Yemen or Israel being more interested in the existence of Al Qaeda and ISIS than of secular Syrian government. 

One may wax anti-colonial and anti-imperialist whatever one wants--yes, Belgian behavior in Kongo was inhumane--but British imperialism didn't leave just negative marks on its colonies. It left after itself often whole government institutions which worked, it also left skilled administrative, technical and intellectual local elite, it also provided a developmental impetus in places where such a development was greatly retarded. It is not a secret that many in current political and military elite in India went through Oxford and Sandhurst. Friedrich Engels, hardly a Russophile, defined Russian imperial expansion as:
Despite her Slavic dirt and baseness, Russia provides civilizing influence on her Asiatic subjects.      
But this is not what US does with her "empire". Whole Middle East is on fire, Western Europe which was liberated by Allies in WW II is in a cultural death spiral and economic troubles, US involvement in Indo-China in 1960s resulted in utter destruction of the region, with millions of people dead. Building "democracy" in Afghanistan or even Iraq--places which never had a culture even remotely compatible with "democracy"--is an unmitigated disaster. In the end, the so called "liberal democracy" practiced in US resulted in cultural and political trends which completely torn the nation apart and threaten to bury it completely under the rubble of cultural, racial, economic, ideological and political warfare. How can one possibly formulate sensible national interests when the subject which must generate these interests is in a state which is hardly conducive for calm and productive discussion on what real American national interests ARE? 

Are American national interests "large" in economic sense? Absolutely they are--US is still second economy in the world and has a huge internal market and it shouldn't have surrendered her industry to China to start with. What are REAL military threats to the US? Is North Korean missile program a threat to the US? Potentially, yes but how serious a threat? The Fat Thing in Pyongyang is not suicidal. Is Russia a threat? Militarily--only within US globalist world view, since will keep US from global military "dominance" (greatly overrated and talked up), once globalist (and treasonous) US "elite" is discounted, Russia becomes a natural ally, but what about China? Is US maritime dominance under challenge? Only in littorals of the nations US wants to attack, Russia included. US ocean dominance is not under threat and nobody really cares to challenge it there--overwhelming majority of nations are for safe navigation and movement of the goods. Is Latin America a US' "backyard"? Objectively it is but what is US' game plan there? Is globalism a national security threat to US herself? Absolutely--it is poison which kills US slowly but surely. Those questions are numerous and they must be first stated and then answered before one can even start formulating real national interests of the United States. Donald Trump started doing this during his campaign but we all can chip in.  Will we? 

UPDATE: what a coincidence, Pat Buchanan, whom I respect deeply, despite not always agreeing with  his point of view, published today (a day after my post) a piece with telling title: 

             What Is America's Goal In The World. 

There Pat discusses a lot of issues which I posted about yesterday. As I said, I do not always agree with Pat but he is always worthy of listening to.   

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