An answer 7

One of our readers, Hawk2, has commented on our post below, Question, providing the sort of answer we are looking for.

We think his/her comments are so interesting that we are posting them in full here on our front page.

US foreign policy should be grounded in two essential considerations, and only these two:

1. Profitable trade

2. National security

With these in mind, the only recent war that must be seen to have had no justification whatsoever is President Clinton’s war in the Balkans. It did nothing for trade. It gained America nothing. It was not worth what it cost. What is worse, its rationale was the protection of Muslim rebels, at a time when Islam was fast becoming the major enemy of the Western world.

Oil is a very good reason to go to war. It satisfies both considerations. If the US had gone to war to seize the Saudi Arabian oilfields in 1974 when the price of oil was hyped as an attack on the US economy, it would have been right to do so.

If the wars against Saddam Hussein were waged for oil, they were necessary and worth what they cost. Also if they were waged to protect America from WMD, they were necessary and worth what they cost. If, on the other hand, they were waged to protect Kuwait from conquest, or Iraqis from tyranny, they were unnecessary and not worth what they cost.

The war against the Taliban/al-Qaeda was justified by 9/11. But having soundly beaten the Taliban, the US should have withdrawn, leaving a clear message that if the US were struck again the Taliban would be beaten again. Staying on to build schools and clinics which the Taliban will demolish is senseless, and not worth what it costs. There is no saving the Afghans from themselves: from corruption, the subjugation of women, the growing of opium.

As to the argument that it is always in the interests of the US to protect freedom in the wider world, that is true, but the threat to freedom must be a real one. It was why America was right to go to Europe’s aid in the in the First and Second World Wars. It may be a reason for America to go to war again. America’s own freedom was under threat then as it is now, this time by the creeping colonization of Europe by Islam. ‘Spreading democracy’ – another reason given for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – does not guarantee the spread of freedom. Germany was a democracy when Hitler came to power by being democratically elected. Zalaya was democratically elected in Honduras, and was deposed because he was trying to establish his dictatorship. But the State Department insists that he should be reinstated. This is staggeringly stupid if not treacherous. The preservation of freedom on the South American continent wherever it exists is plainly essential to US security. Hostile regimes in the hemisphere are a serious threat, as Hugo Chavez proves by his alliance with would-be-nuclear-armed Iran.

This reasoning would fully justify an immediate military attack on Iran and North Korea.

  • rogerinflorida

    C. Gee,
    Please, we are talking about the death of millions, and the total destruction of societies. Perhaps I am biased, I know many Iranians and have visited Tehran (a long time ago, I admit, 1978, although it was then one of the most polluted cities I had ever visited). In contrast to Arabs who I have found to be largely ignorant and submissive to authority, Iranians are a lively crowd, very pro business and pro US. We only need to encourage a small change and we can achieve our objectives without death and destruction.
    Please don't regard the Iranians as cowed at the point of a gun, they are not, Iranians are a wonderful people, with a huge history of art and culture, they are our natural allies in the struggle against islamist fundamentalism, we just need to be sensitive in how we deal with them.
    You seem to be all for the war; are you or your children going?

    • C. Gee

      No. I am talking about the prevention of the death of millions. The brave Iranian opposition should hope that the West stands up to the mullahs so that they can succeed in the struggle against Islamist fundamentalism. A rightly placed missile in time, saves nine.
      By the way, do you see Obama giving any encouragement to the opposition?

      • rogerinflorida

        C. Gee,
        No I do not, this administration is about the worst imaginable, but at least they are unlikely to start a stupid war. Millions have not died, nor is there any move anywhere to do this. Let's just be careful that we do not initiate the nightmare.

  • rogerinflorida

    C. Gee:
    I do not have a seat on the revolutionary council in Iran, and neither do you. I believe that the talk from Tehran about attacking Israel is just blather to disguise their real intentions. Certainly they sponsor and fund anti-Israel activities by the groups you mention, that is a far cry from a direct attack on Israel that would certainly leave Iran a radioactive ruin. Do you think that they are unaware of this? Do you think the leaders of Iran can't wait to die for the prophet? If you do I have some oceanfront property in Ohio to sell you. Why do you think secret negotiations have gone on between Saudi Arabia and Israel to provide Israel a forward airbase in S-A to make easier an Israeli attack on Iran, do you think the Iranians don't know this? Do you think the Saudis are anxious to protect Israel?
    Iran's oil reserves are rapidly running out, this is the elephant in the room for the Iranian Govt. Their whole grasp on power is founded on payouts to the population made from oil revenues, no oil, no payout, no power, it is as simple as that. They are going to replenish their reserves by conquering the ME, they already are De-facto in control of Iraq, when the US withdraws that control will become actual. They will then have a base from which they can directly stir up trouble in the oil rich regions of Saudi, which just happen to be majority Shia. Nuclear weapons and short/medium range missile delivery systems are just what Iran needs to keep the US Navy at bay in the Indian Ocean. Meanwhile they have to keep an eye on Sunni Pakistan, already a nuclear power.
    As for N Korea, certainly they are looking for attention, but the bellicosity of N Korea is one man deep, Kim Dong Il goes and the situation changes. Amazing that we give $B to Pakistan who clearly have proliferated while we treat N Korea as a pariah.
    I urge great caution before resorting to military force. both these potential enemies are miniscule in their military capacity compared to the US, but they could cause huge trouble.
    There is a saying C. Gee you would do well to remember “If you are looking for trouble, it is just around the corner”.

    • C. Gee

      Iran is looking for trouble (as you say ), but do they find it just around the corner? No. The West runs away. And while Iran looks for elusive trouble, its weapones are being improved. Should Iran eventually find trouble, it will be able to give it what for. Which is why the West's aircraft carriers and submarines should station themselves at every corner, now, while Iran does not have the capability to keep the US navy “at bay”.
      Your theory that mullahs are after oil as a means to stay in power by placating the population with oil-revenue bribes is not convincing. First, they stay in power at the point of a gun, like all tyrants. Second, the traditional and proven way for tyrants to suppress dissent, is to create an external enemy (Israel, US ).
      In any case, for whatever reason Iran goes adventuring in the Middle East – oil or caliphate or wiping Israel away – it should be stopped.
      And what information about North Korea do you have that suggests that it will open up with the death of Kim Jong Il? He has already lined up his son to take over. That he hasn't been assassinated suggests that he has a strong group of supporters who no doubt would like to take over power.

  • rogerinflorida

    “This reasoning would fully justify etc”.
    With all due respect I don't think it does. As I have said in other posts I do not think it is clear what Iran is up to, although I have suspicions that they do not involve an attack on Israel. Iran is certainly a potential security threat to the US, a sure way to turn them into an actual threat is to attack them. Personally I believe the US should reconsider who it is supporting in the ME; Saudi Arabia is an actual and ongoing security threat to the US as it is the major funder of islamic proselytizing and terrorist activity throughout the world.
    As for N Korea; is their posturing a threat to the US or a request for some attention? There are a lot of potential consumers in N Korea, although of course the US has just about given up on producing consumer (or any type except military) goods, so trade between US and N Korea would be limited to easily copied CDs and software.
    I do not see much evidence of a rational foreign policy in the US; a case in point is the decision not to supply F22 fighter to Israel. Israel is adamant that they need a 5th generation fighter to maintain their military superiority over their potential enemies. Funny enough Russia is attempting to build a fighter to match the F22 but they do not have the stealth or avionics technology, Israel does, so a result of a shortsighted policy to appease the palestinians may be that Russia, and therefore China will counter the USAF with a comparable aircraft.
    Never mind football and baseball, the most essential game to teach schoolchildren is chess.

    • C. Gee

      Not clear what Iran is up to? Not involve an attack on Israel?
      Iran is up to getting a nuclear bomb. Iran is up to funding Hizbollah and supporting Hamas. It is up to attacking Israel by proxy, and using the threat of nuclear obliteration to extort concessions, to impose regional hegemony, to extend its reach by forming alliances with dictators across the globe and to spread Islamic revolution.
      Iran is as much an actual and ongoing threat to American national security as are wahabbi terrorists hailing from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Britain, Germany, Somalia, Sudan etc. and will become far more dangerous under the watch of the torpid Obama administration.
      As for North Korea – however did the nonsense that it is crying “for attention” become a consideration in foreign policy towards it ? The only definite “attention” NK says it wants is a non-aggression pact with the US, but that is a ploy – a chimerical diplomatic goal under which it can make demands for “reciprocal” concessions in the negotiations for it. The non-aggression pact is demanded, is refused, NK says it must have concessions that show the US does not have aggressive intentions, in lieu of a pact. In exchange for”peaceful” nuclear fuel and food, it closes one nuclear power station and permits inspectors. It cheats. The US walks away from the negotiating table. Meanwhile NK continues to pursue its nuclear proliferation trade (with Iran which also acts as middleman), for which the call for “attention” was a deflector. It fires off a missile or two, and each time they perform rather better , have a longer range. Its customers are on hand to watch (Iran ). The US decides this is a call for “attention” and either ignores it, or returns to the table with or without other parties. An agreement for NK is analagous to statehood for the PLO or Hamas. It is the last thing either wants, but pretending it is what they are striving for, allows them to retain and increase power.
      You right in saying that there is not much evidence of rational foreign policy in the US.
      The rational action – to blockade Iran and NK, and retaliate with shock and awe if missiles are launched – will not be taken. Calling the bluff is the basis of Iran's and NK's foreign policy. When will the US call theirs?