The US State Department is shuttering 21 embassies in the Middle East and North Africa because of fears of a terrorist attack. Americans are warned about traveling worldwide because of possible Al-Qaeda attacks. This warning lasts the month of August.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State John Kerry clarifies for the world that the Egyptian military coup in July was necessary to restore democracy. I kid you not! And he proudly reconvenes “peace talks” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority while refusing to talk with Hamas. (Who does he think he’s kidding?)
I wish Chalmers Johnson was alive today (he died in 2010). Maybe he would provide some commentary on these current events.
Chalmers wrote American Empire: Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic. I’m going to have to re-read his book but his basic premise is that our foreign policy has unintended consequences — called “blowback” (a term coined by the CIA) — which can be catastrophic.
When I watch the events unfolding in Egypt, Palestine, Israel and elsewhere — I think about Mr. Johnson.
Today’s foreign policy wonks in D.C. seem to be the same old farts who have been shaping our country’s strategy for 40 years. Won’t they ever retire?
- Militarize our “friends” and blockade our “enemies”
- Don’t talk to “terrorists” which include anyone we view as a threat to our “security”
- Isolate and demonize rather than build bridges
- Threaten the UN and other nations with financial consequences if they don’t tow our line
- Focus our support on dictators as long as they are OUR dictators
- Manipulate, cajole, threaten and then bomb
- Minimize the legitimate needs of a young and growing population who need jobs, education, and a future.
No one asked me, but here’s my foreign policy Rx. Take it with a grain of salt. I’ve never studied or worked in foreign diplomacy.
- Redefine U.S. “security” and our national interest to include a stable economy, healthy ecosystem, and opportunities for the basic necessities of life (food, water, shelter and jobs) for everyone on the planet.
- Align our foreign aid ($) with our new definition of “security” and national interest.
- Bury the bad guy – good guy labels that we routinely put on world leaders and recognize that anyone can be an ally, and anyone can be a foe, and sometimes they can be both, depending on the issues at hand.
- Defer to the United Nations and its proper and legitimate role as the mediator of international conflicts. Stop using our “Veto” in the Security Council as a shield to protect Israel from the consequences of its own actions. A child never grows up if it doesn’t learn the consequences of its actions, ie. follow international law.
- Cut our military expenditures drastically. Our new leadership in the world will come from our moral authority not our military superiority. I’m not suggesting that we should give up our military superiority, but we might not need as many drones, guns and bombs if we provide more water systems, schools and jobs for people in need.