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27 April 2013


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A studied and well reasoned note on foreign policy.

"Hesitation itself can become an effective policy."

Indeed it is; I am reminded of William Lamb, Lord Melbourne, who as British Prime Minister made a virtue of "masterful inaction" in the correct belief that many problems solved themselves in the fullness of time.

I would have thought that Syria and the Assad regime should have been left alone in the interests of regional stability. My understanding is, whatever their faults, they stuck to the letter of the law in their peace treaty with Israel.

Babak Makkinejad

Richard Sale:

I think your premise is invalid; historically states have not conducted their foreign policies on basis of dispassionate evaluation of costs and benefits.

The United States has supported Israel to the hilt for since 1948; what benefit has she drawn from it?

What benefit was there to the United States when US - under Bush I - went into Somalia to make it safe for UN to deliver food to those starving alien people on the other side of the planet?

United Kingdom gave a strategic IOU to Poland which sucked her into war against Germany; what benefit was there in that IOU?

French fought in Indochina after World War II, to what gain?

Syrian Arab Republic, a UN member, a hard dictatorship but a functioning country that helped United States thwart terrorist attacks after 9/11/2001 attack on US, is being undermined by a coalition-of-the-willing - what benefit is there in that to US, UK, or France?

William R. Cumming

Interesting analysis and a receipe for long term disaster. The end probably does not justify the means no matter how it looks in the meantime. Remember that Kissinger was a refugee in 1940 and then an administration official in post-NAZI Germany.If not a Jew probably would have been a ranking NAZI official during the 3rd Reich.

The FP establishment has is it does not know what it wants except to maintain its own comfort and position. Largely undemocratic in its leanings and jealous of Presidents that led during WWI and WWII the FP establishment largely believes the USA won the Cold War and that the Soviet Union did not lose it.

And unlike the decades from 1930-1970 few in the FP establishment are literate in the cultures and languages that will dominate the agenda in the 21st Century. In fact like the American people they are largely an ignorant and arrogant lot that fails to understand either the currents of American or world history.

The demographics and religions of the 21st Century will create paramount challenges to the US. And while not agreeing totally believe the "Clash of Civilizations" worth a reread as well as other Huntington analysis.

And no doubt Nixon and Kissinger had an amazing dominance in the last half of the last century.






Chile, I think, is a questionable example of sensible Realpolitik - on two grounds. First, I find it hard to see what national interest of the US was served by intervention - unless we equate it with protection of American mineral extraction business. Indeed, it damaged our reputation as an upholder of democracy in a way that lingers in Latin America to this day. In recent years, we have behaved similarly in encouraging the toppling (by one means or other) of elected governments in Honduras (worked, by coup); Venezuela (by coup, failed); Bolivia (supporting business backed uprising - failed); Paraguay (by pseudo-legal coup, worked); Ecuador (multiple pressure campaign, failed). Is this cold-blooded Realpolitik or stupid anti-Leftist reflex? Two, Kissinger was not always cold-bloodedly rational. He had his emotions too. He despised liberal humanists in principle wherever they might be. He triggered the Cyprus bifurcation by backing a coup organized by a crackpot Greek rightest against elected President and Archbishop Makaris whom he accused of being some sort of Com-symp. He bought into American exceptionalism even if he arrived at it by a Realpolitik backdoor; he thought it disasterous that United States could ever be seen as losing anywhere (even Bangladesh of all places). He supported the Iraq War, he has opposed leaving Afghanistan, and is irrationaly fearful of Russia - while senible about China. He dislikes the former, is fond of the latter. That is to say, he is human.


Dr. Brenner,


And to be human is to on occasion - if not constantly - have a tendency to err...

That however does not mean I've any liking for him or his acts.

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