j-mac, et al,
I would suggest you to look at "foreign policy" and "international leadership" in a much different way; remembering that America's view is not always the "right view." America acts in it own best interest, that is to say the interest of the powerful and ruling elite of America. Without regard to what American Political personalities might say in the open forum for public consideration, their is always a hidden agenda. It may or may not have the same goals and objectives as the other nations of the world.
Originally Posted by j-mac
While it is true that the US must strive to set an example (preferably a positive example), that is not the same as setting a standard.
Have you ever been approached by Mormon missionaries, or stopped in an airport by Hare Krishnas? Neither are doing any harm, yet we tend to be quite annoyed by them --- none the less.
The US is often viewed as an Evangelistic Nation selling (pushing) democracy. But we only want the development of democracies of which we approve. If a people have open elections and choose a path of leadership that is anti-American, we instantly oppose it. Imagine Our surprise when the Palestinians chose Hamas? While it was a democratic process, one that by our own teachings we should respect, we none the less sanctioned it. Many nations of the world are annoyed with two aspects of America:
- America is always right and it is always our leadership that must prevail.
- America is above international law; because America has a higher calling to lead the world.
Now we preach and teach the concepts of the "Rule of Law;" but we set ourselves above them (we've discussed two conventions in just this thread most recently). In Iraq, I was most amused by the fact that the Embassy had a considerable staff dedicated to preaching and teaching the "Rule of Law." I saw a similar function being performed in Kabul. I got the biggest chuckle out of Senator Kerry standing on stage supporting Afghan President Hamid Karzai election. Everyone knew that he was one of the most corrupt officials anyone had seen in Afghanistan in more than a decade. But, it suited the purposes of the US. It did not go unnoticed by the Afghan People. We sort of validate corruption in government. It was not so dissimilar in Iraq.
Originally Posted by Sunday 4 December 2011 The Guardian.
Originally Posted by September 11, 2011|By Raheem Salman, Los Angeles Times
While Americans are not generally watching, those of us who have stayed the course, having been to the garden spots like Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen, know that we have not made the best of calls --- have not made decisions in the best interest of the people in these countries. It goes without saying that many of the allies that we bought in support of these campaigns have noticed as well.
Do they want the US enforcing the "standards?" Probably not.
Do you think the Arabs in the Middle East have a firm respect for the US relative to the "Rule of Law?" There is a country that the US directly support, militarily, economically and politically which is in violation of the statues in force by The Hague Court in the Netherlands.
Originally Posted by ICC Part II, Article 8 - War Crimes - Para 2b
This is much more than "Customary Law" --- but again, inconvenient for the US. Thus we ignore it, unless we need it as in the case of Saddam Hussein.
No, it is not time for America to "set the standard."
Should America pull back a bit?
There is this talk of a "power vacuum" that would be created if America releases the reigns. And there is a fear that the vacuum will be filled by another power that will not be sympathetic to the needs of America, and less likely to accept the blanket claim that America is not subject to International Laws to which it doesn't agree. But the argument is weak. If America is as powerful and relevant as it claims, then it should not matter what nation takes the lead. But it is not a foregone conclusion that any country will take the reigns. It is a very costly endeavor. The DoD FY 2012 is estimated to be $640B. What country wants to make that kind of commitment?
Back when I was in Vietnam, they had these guys called the "Whiz Kids." They were suppose to be the brightest and the best America had to offer in the arena of Foreign Affairs and Defense Policy. They believed in the Domino Effect if the US lost in Vietnam. In the end, we gave it away. But the Dominoes never fell. When I went to Iraq, we had the PNAC. They believed in the terrorist behind every tree and they spread the big WMD scare. I remember the Ambassador telling us (2004) what Iraq would be like in five years. Their would be stability, Sunnis and Shi'ites living side-by-side. Out front of the Embassy, their would be stores and shops where diplomats could eat, drink and be merry with a friendly population. There would be a staff of 600 and children going to the school they built. When I left in July 2010, it was nothing of the sort. It still isn't today. The school, at the time, was converted to a CAA Embassy Annex.
The US has not been very successful at predicting the outcomes of its military intervention. And as we still drive the eight miles to BIAP under armor and Kevlar, we see the outcome is not what we envisioned. And again, as we look to Afghanistan and a decade of combat operations, what do we see.
Originally Posted by CNN June 15, 2004
Originally Posted by j-mac
It is a very easy mantra to fall behind. It sound so patriotic - so tough - so American. Yet it is a very dangerous and slippery slope to embark upon in a timewhen America see danger in every direction. Now is a time to be cautious.
We need to back-up and take a look at what were doing, why we are doing it and how we got here. If we are going to claim that we are "right," then we better be "right."