Friday, June 6, 2008

Credit where credit is due: Barr on withdrawing from Korea--Will Obama match this?

I have long contended that my major problem with Senator Barack Obama is not his social program or social conscience (even though I have major disagreements with him on the programs), but his military and foreign policy.

Senator Obama has consistently accepted money and endorsements from big defense lobbyists, refused to renounce the doctrine of preemptive war, makes it part of his official platform to seek a significant rise in our already bloated defense budget, and refuses even to comment on reducing America's vast overseas empire of bases.

Now, in the wake of current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates' recent trip to Korea, Libertarian Presidential candidate Bob Barr has said what Barack Obama should have said long ago if he was serious about bringing Change I can believe in to America's foreign policy.

From Third Party Watch (directly quoting a Barr press release):

Defense Secretary Robert Gates just returned from a trip to South Korea, where he reaffirmed America’s defense commitment, including the presence of nearly 29,000 troops. This is precisely the wrong strategy, according to Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party nominee for president.

After more than 50 years of American support, “South Korea is well able to defend itself,” notes Barr. The South has an economy that is estimated to be 40 times as large as that of North Korea; South Korea has twice the North’s population and a vast technological edge. “It is time for real leadership on this important national security matter,” Barr said, adding that “maintaining a large and costly American military presence in Korea largely because that’s the way it’s been done for more than half a century makes little sense, especially if we, as we should, maintain the capability to respond quickly to actual threats against us when necessary and where necessary.”

Indeed, Barr adds, South Korea has been sending money and food to the government in Pyongyang. “That is a very strange way to treat a supposed enemy,” he notes. Today the U.S. military is badly stretched by the continuing occupation of Iraq. Surely “Washington can bring home troops stationed in not only South Korea, but also Europe and Japan,” he adds.

We must completely revamp U.S. foreign policy, returning to the noninterventionist strategy of the nation’s Founders.

To be clear: this is not isolationism. This is a strategy of non-interventionism.

I don't like candidates with mustaches as a general principle; but I have to admit he's dead right about this one.

Problem is: the MSM won't carry it.

1 comment:

Brian said...

Non-interventionism, we need to be clear, does not mean we do not work together. It means we do not set out to remake the world in our image to the exclusion of everyone else's ideas. It does not mean an end to war, but it creates a much better chance for peace becuase it does not dictate the way the world has to look. It does mean that we care about each other more socially as Americans, and use citizenship as a good standrad for any benefits from society. For example it was an American tradition to give American citizens abroad aid and assistance at the embassies from 1802-1982. In 1982 the program ended and American citizens abroad are expected to be completely self-reliant in times of trouble. It would not hurt us if we worry less about how someone in Pakistan decides to eat their homemade goat cheese, and worry more about about each other and the state of our union and were more helpful to one another.

It would also help if we staffed our embassies with American citizens.

Not interveneing in the foreign affairs of other nations, but pecaeful commerce and cooperation has always led to success and the process of developing mutual trust has always led to stability. Isolationism on the other hand has always led to disorder and paradoxically, nothing is more isolationist than refusing to negotiate or do business with a people becuase we do not like the way their government works. Hitler was the ultimate isolationist becuase he was unable to see anyone else's point of view and work with them. In the end it is really power politics (ala Karl Haushoffer) that does this, it creates mutual suspicion between nations as we see in the unfolding tragedy of the Middle East. Both sides acting only in their own interest and against everyone else. The shame of it is, we involve ourselves as if the nations we support were not perfectly capable of protecting themselves. We treat both sides this way, so we give 20 billion to the Saudi's feudal Monarchy in military hardware, and then 30 billion to Israel and say protect yourself.

Why should the interal affairs of another nation be of concern to Americans unless they use agression against us?

We can develop peacefully in our foreign relations when we set a standard of equality as the basis of a relationship of mututal trust between nations. So that they know we work for the mutual benefit of each other rather than working for our self-interest above their self-interest. That way led to every war from the Peloponnesian war through today. In the end we will find that power politics isolates America and makes us seem unwelcoming to business. There is interdependence socially, culturally and economically around the world, we need something to ensure that we can have some type of interdependence politically to reduce the likilhood of warfare. A good first step in doing that is to use FDR's good neighbor policy... That policy let Americans focus on America without ruining our ability to work in peaceful cooperation with others. It meant we pretty much stayed neutral and were able to engage the world and reduce hostility becuase of the preponderence of internal strength we developed. As far as I can tell, his policy and Jefferson's work well for this nation. I would like to know, why other parties never discuss the Good Neighbor policy and we seem enraptured by the ideas of self-interest when we could set a new standard in international relations? We are probably one of the few countries that can set a standard this way.