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  • Foreign Thinking Missing in Foreign Policy

    Obama and Medvedev

    Treaties are just words. Deeds matter more. We were supposed to have learned that lesson from the fallout after World War I.

    That global conflict was billed as “the war to end all wars.” The Versailles Treaty was meant to seal the deal. But its words couldn’t stop the German military.

    The treaty aimed to prevent Germany from producing cutting-edge weaponry. The Kaiser’s U-boats, for example, had taken a dreadful toll during the war.

    So the treaty forbid all future “construction and purchase of all underwater vessels, even for commercial purposes … in Germany.” The Germans consequently used foreign dummy corporations to build and test their new and improved U-boat designs while Karl Doenitz developed the “wolf pack” tactics that would make Nazi submarines the scourge of the Atlantic during World War II.

    The treaty also placed great restrictions on German air forces. It said nothing, however, about rockets or missiles. Wernher Von Braun brought that loophole to the attention of the German high command. In turn, it bankrolled development of the world’s first military missile — the A4. During World War II, 3,000 of them rained down on Britain.

    Measuring intentions is an important part of negotiating any treaty. Yet this basic tenet of foreign policy seems to elude our current administration. Case in point: the new arms control treaty the president plans to sign.

    President Obama believes that reducing nuclear arms in concert with Moscow is the first step on the “road to zero.” Unfortunately, the Russians don’t.

    Moscow sees its nuclear weapons as the cornerstone of its defense. Moreover, its unspoken threat of nuclear attack is central to the success of its foreign policy. Significantly diminishing those resources is the last thing Russia plans on doing.

    Moscow does, however, want to see the U.S. nuclear deterrent reduced to an equal footing with its mediocre might. It also wants U.S. conventional strike capabilities and missile defense to be on the table.

    As the U.S. deterrent shrinks, others will step up — not down. The president arms control “road” is more likely to lead to a new arms race, rather than to “zero.”

    Our Iran policy looks much the same. The White House offered to negotiate with Tehran, believing Iran could be talked out of building nuclear weapons. But the mullahs want nuclear weapons, desperately.

    Put aside the fact that their leaders shout for “death to Israel” and speak of a “world without America.” They have other reasons to go “nuclear.”

    Tehran wants to be the pre-eminent power in the Middle East. As a nuclear state, it could dictate to its neighbors and Europe as well.

    Nuclear weapons would also boost the mullahs’ bent for internal repression. Nuclear powers do not mess in the internal affairs of other nuclear powers. Witness Tiananmen Square. The ayatollahs believe that, when they have the bomb, they can crush the freedom-loving opposition with total impunity. They are counting the days.

    The White House seems averse to confronting enemies like Iran or competitors like Russia. (Though it criticizes our friends readily enough.) Instead, it prefers to assume “shared interest” where none exists.

    Engagement must be based on reality, not assumptions or simple hope. When it comes to keeping the peace, negotiated words are never enough.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Foreign Thinking Missing in Foreign Policy

    1. Wildcat from Dallast says:

      The examples you provided from the Versailles Treaty upon the conclusion of WWI along with the associated results demonstrated by the Germans during WWII are an excellent reminder to all of us about several relevant points of interest. Beyond the usual cliché of history repeating itself, or the newer version of those who forget history are doomed to repeat it; there is another lesson or two.

      One of the lessons concerns actually analyzing both the current situation and the emerging situation(s) to ascertain unwanted results like those experienced during WWII. Now it is not possible to see clearly into the future, experienced, seasoned leaders (military and civilian alike) have the ability to effectively conduct such usable analysis. We lack that in our current American elected officials sitting in leadership positions because the top executive has NO discernable leadership experience, military or other from which to draw on when pursuing such treaties. There are those who have such military experience that sit down the hall from the oval office but I have come to the conclusion they are either ineffective at providing such counsel or the individual in the oval office does not even want to hear their advice much less listen intently to it.

      A lesson learned from long ago by even very junior leaders was to emulate successful concepts when engaging in treaty wording and the mechanics of the process once signed and ratified. A few of those lessons include not putting anything critical to national security on the negotiating table so your signature does not weaken the country. While there is a “fix” in case that is done, our current narcissist in chief (NIC) is more focused on doing just that to definitely weaken the country and strongly appears to be aggressively prosecuting a war on the American people and their prosperity rather than taking action to secure the rights and liberties of the individual American citizens.

      Therein lays the problem with ANY treaty agreed to and signed by NIC or his representative. They want to take away our rights making it difficult (yet not impossible) to undo the harm they are so focused on doing. One must remember that it is relatively easy to make something weak or simply give away something you seemingly do not cherish in order to achieve your ends.

      One of the concepts learned from those who blazed the trail of justice before me was to consistently apply was that of trust but verify. Any viable arms reduction must include this caveat in order to establish and maintain mutual respect for the nations involved. Without it they really didn’t want to enter into an agreement in the pursuance of persistent peace.

    2. Thomas Fenusz, NY says:

      Apparently its quantity rather than quality. Reducing the numbers will work very differently for each of the superpowers. Since the US bases its global power mostly on its economical strength, and the Russians primarily on its ability to establish hegemonial control over its adjoining geopolitical spaces, it is obvious that there are different perceptions on the whole deal. Russia has used its geopolitical strength very successfully in the past to politically gain from its leverage in the region and the power it can yield over Teheran. So the question should be raised, can the US deal with the Iranian problem on its own, when it is very clear that the Mullah regime does not feel any direct pressure from whatever comes out of the west? Does Russia have enough power to stop Teheran from acquiring nuclear weapons? Possibly. Should the US rely on that power? Definitely not. That would only lead to another Russian victory on the international scene, and the manifestation of their power in the Middle East and Central Asia. The Iranian disarmament can only come from a change in the regime. The Mullahs might have their own reason for desperately seeking to establish themselves as the “core nation of the Islamic civilization” (following S. Huntington’s definitions) and as a regional superpower. Looking at the current situation in that area from an Iranian perspective, might even lead to the conclusion that their quest has some legitimacy. Nonetheless, this should never be accepted by any US government. The nature of the regime is a threat to US security. The only way to change that is thru a change inside of Iran. The Mullahs have to get moderate, or get out. This should be the ultimate goal of the US foreign policy regarding Iran. Uni- or multilateral sanctions are fine, but not sufficient. The US has to employ all diplomatic and other (!) means possible to establish a non-hostile government in Iran. Use your imagination and get proactive

    3. chizeled says:

      Michelle Obama tells the LGBT that Barack's home country is Kenya:

    4. Lloyd Scallan - New says:

      What will it take for the people to understand what Obama is, and that he wants to put this nation at risk. Anyone that is supposed to have had the education Obama claims, can be that naive to really think the Russia and Iranian governments will adhere to any arms limitation. More and more Americans are

      understanding Obama's efforts are deliberate and not a lack of experience.

    5. Pingback: Ideology Trumps Common Sense, America Loses. « American Elephants

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