Thursday, October 25, 2012

Post Script on Romney and Foreign Policy

On the subject of Romney and foreign policy this post expresses my views perfectly:
[Romney] treats foreign policy as a matter of domestic marketing, and he believes that the people of the United States want our country to be really obnoxious, but not actually take any serious risks.
 This is probably an accurate take on how most Americans feel about foreign policy.  They want America to be loud and assertive and order other countries around, but not to get into any actual wars because that would be messy.  Of course, it is also a terrible way to conduct foreign policy.  Although I believe a well-executed bluff can occasionally be useful, basing one's entire foreign policy on empty posturing is a surefire recipe for disaster.

It is still possible that a President who conducted his foreign policy that way might escape serious political damage.  So long as no U.S. ground troops were involved, any resulting blunders would probably not affect most Americans much.  And people are more likely to notice the chest-thumping speeches the President makes than actual outcomes on the far side of the world.  But this is a terribly irresponsible way for any President to view the world.

The author ends up concluding that, although he dislikes President Obama's foreign policy, at least Obama has a foreign policy and takes it seriously.

As an interesting bonus, consider the same author's preceding piece in which he suggests that maybe Israel is not as unique as I and others have suggested.  If your foreign policy is one of "omni-directional belligerence," then you are apt to allow any ally who wants a war with any adversary to drag you in after them.  Israel is merely the most obvious example, but the same rule may apply to Georgia and even Taiwan.  The result would be to drag us into a lot of wars that are not in our interest, on the general principle of maximalism.

Finally, though not related to foreign policy, I highly recommend this beautiful essay by the same author on the subject of abortion in cases of rape.  He points out that it is perfectly morally consistent for anyone who believes that full personhood begins with conception -- that a one-celled zygote is morally equivalent to a newborn -- refusing to condone abortion even in cases of rape is morally consistent, even required.  But anyone taking that position should honestly face what he is asking of the women in question and not just pretend that, although rape is a horrible thing, it can be a blessing in disguise if it results in a baby.

No comments:

Post a Comment