Our foreign policy is also a mess

It isn’t just our economy and Congress that are out of whack. Robert Kagan of the Washington Post cites the ways President Obama is botching our foreign policy:

The contretemps between President Obama and Israel needs to be seen in a broader global context. The president who ran against “unilateralism” in the 2008 campaign has worse relations overall with American allies than George W. Bush did in his second term.

Israelis shouldn’t feel that they have been singled out. In Britain, people are talking about the end of the “special relationship” with America and worrying that Obama has no great regard for the British, despite their ongoing sacrifices in Afghanistan. In France, President Nicolas Sarkozy has openly criticized Obama for months (and is finally being rewarded with a private dinner, presumably to mend fences). In Eastern and Central Europe, there has been fear since the administration canceled long-planned missile defense installations in Poland and the Czech Republic that the United States may no longer be a reliable guarantor of security. Among top E.U. officials there is consternation that neither the president nor even his Cabinet seems to have time for the European Union’s new president, Herman Van Rompuy, who, while less than scintillating, is nevertheless the chosen representative of the post-Lisbon Treaty continent. Europeans in general, while still fond of Obama, have concluded that he is not so fond of them — despite his six trips to Europe — and is more of an Asian president.

The Asians, however, are not so sure. Relations with Japan are rocky, mostly because of the actions of the new government in Tokyo but partly because of a perception that the United States can't be counted on for the long term. In India, there are worries that the burgeoning strategic partnership forged in the Bush years has been demoted in the interest of better relations with China. Although the Obama administration promised to demonstrate that the United States “is back” in Asia after the alleged neglect of the Bush years, it has not yet convinced allies that they are the focus of American attention. . . .

Who has attracted attention in the Obama administration? The answer, so far, seems to be not America’s allies but its competitors, and in some cases its adversaries. If there were a way to measure administration exertion in foreign policy, the meter would show the greatest concentration of energy, beyond the war in Afghanistan, has been devoted to four endeavors: the failed first-year attempt to improve relations with Iran; the ongoing attempt to improve relations with Russia; the stalled effort to improve cooperation with China; and the effort — fruitless so far — to prove to the Arab states that the United States is willing to pressure Israel to further the peace process. Add to these the efforts to improve relations with Syria, engage Burma and everything with Af-Pak, and not much has been left for the concerns of our allies.This is bad enough, but compounding the problem has been the administration’s evident impatience with allies who don’t do as they are told. Europeans get spanked for a pallid commitment to NATO defense spending even as they contribute 30,000 troops to a distant war that European publics mostly don’t believe in. Japan gets spanked when its new government insists on rethinking some recent agreements. In both cases, the administration has a point, but it’s always easier to hammer allies when they misbehave than to hammer tough competitors such as Russia or China.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

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  • Peter Leavitt

    Pres. OBama deep down is a product of the anti-American ideology held by the left in American private schools, universities, and colleges, especially the supposedly elite ones that Obama attended. The idea that America has vital and defensible interests in the world is foreign, even an anathema, to the people who dominate the ethos of these schools.

    Obama’s decision to fight in Afghanistan was reluctant and qualified as to length of time. Unless he understands the error of his position and moves to rigorously defend American interests, we will need to wait him out until 2012. Fortunately, he so far has proven incompetent at pursuing his foreign policy.

    Anyone who read Dreams of My Father or Audacity of Hope could have predicted Obama’s essentially leftish anti-American stance. These books made clear his view that America is an essentially oppressive country both on the home and international scenes. From his Punahou School through Harvard Law and community organizing years, he hung out mainly with anti-American leftists.

    Robert Kagan’s analysis of Obama’s foreign policy is incisive and provides good reason for Americans to be concerned.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Pres. OBama deep down is a product of the anti-American ideology held by the left in American private schools, universities, and colleges, especially the supposedly elite ones that Obama attended. The idea that America has vital and defensible interests in the world is foreign, even an anathema, to the people who dominate the ethos of these schools.

    Obama’s decision to fight in Afghanistan was reluctant and qualified as to length of time. Unless he understands the error of his position and moves to rigorously defend American interests, we will need to wait him out until 2012. Fortunately, he so far has proven incompetent at pursuing his foreign policy.

    Anyone who read Dreams of My Father or Audacity of Hope could have predicted Obama’s essentially leftish anti-American stance. These books made clear his view that America is an essentially oppressive country both on the home and international scenes. From his Punahou School through Harvard Law and community organizing years, he hung out mainly with anti-American leftists.

    Robert Kagan’s analysis of Obama’s foreign policy is incisive and provides good reason for Americans to be concerned.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    We are merely receiving the fruits of our election. Everybody was so caught up in his ability to read a teleprompter they mistakenly believe he could do other things. Obama is probably a smart man, but he is acting like an academic faced with the reality his pet theories aren’t working. Instead of reassessing, he thinks if “I push hard enough and talk long enough people will finally understand how brilliant I am and get in line.” Look at how he has responded to criticism of the current health care reform legislation, he has repeatedly stated the only reason the American public is against it is because we don’t understand it. Now he is so desperate to prove his pet theories he is willing to allow congress to use ethically questionable means to pass his pet bill.

    It is time to send our public servants a message. Republican or Democrat they need to be voted out of office, every single one of them with a few exceptions. They need to be replaced with people who understand they are servants not little kings raised through divine right seeking to enlarge their personal kingdoms. It is time for the American people to make a stand and say no more.

  • http://lutherama.blogspot.com Dr. Luther in 21st Century

    We are merely receiving the fruits of our election. Everybody was so caught up in his ability to read a teleprompter they mistakenly believe he could do other things. Obama is probably a smart man, but he is acting like an academic faced with the reality his pet theories aren’t working. Instead of reassessing, he thinks if “I push hard enough and talk long enough people will finally understand how brilliant I am and get in line.” Look at how he has responded to criticism of the current health care reform legislation, he has repeatedly stated the only reason the American public is against it is because we don’t understand it. Now he is so desperate to prove his pet theories he is willing to allow congress to use ethically questionable means to pass his pet bill.

    It is time to send our public servants a message. Republican or Democrat they need to be voted out of office, every single one of them with a few exceptions. They need to be replaced with people who understand they are servants not little kings raised through divine right seeking to enlarge their personal kingdoms. It is time for the American people to make a stand and say no more.

  • CRB

    Perhaps it’s the Lord’s will that we get the kind of leaders we
    really deserve? I believe that the problem in our country is
    not one of immoral, incompetant leaders, confused policies
    and an amoral populace, but rather a people that have by and
    large rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ. Whenever this has happened in history, God allowed the people to “go their own way.” Though Christ has atoned for the sins of humanity,
    God has never allowed a people to remain in complacent
    unbelief without His wrath being poured out.
    Recall what He said in Matthew 23:37-38

  • CRB

    Perhaps it’s the Lord’s will that we get the kind of leaders we
    really deserve? I believe that the problem in our country is
    not one of immoral, incompetant leaders, confused policies
    and an amoral populace, but rather a people that have by and
    large rejected the gospel of Jesus Christ. Whenever this has happened in history, God allowed the people to “go their own way.” Though Christ has atoned for the sins of humanity,
    God has never allowed a people to remain in complacent
    unbelief without His wrath being poured out.
    Recall what He said in Matthew 23:37-38

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Call me skeptical, but I don’t think this has anything to do with the populace of our nation rejecting the gospel. To super impose the history of Israel onto the American scene is to confuse George Washington with Moses, and ultimately not understand what the history of the Bible, and the gospel is about in the first place.

    That said, the problem is Obama wants to be liked. He should as a leader of a nation be demanding respect instead. There is a difference between being liked and being respected. But wanting to be liked leads a person down the road of compromising principles to please others, those others in turn like you for a while, but they lose respect for you, and when you get a little older and not so pleasing to look at anymore, and everyone has taken what they wanted from you, they kick you to the curb with the rest of the trash. That is what is happening.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Call me skeptical, but I don’t think this has anything to do with the populace of our nation rejecting the gospel. To super impose the history of Israel onto the American scene is to confuse George Washington with Moses, and ultimately not understand what the history of the Bible, and the gospel is about in the first place.

    That said, the problem is Obama wants to be liked. He should as a leader of a nation be demanding respect instead. There is a difference between being liked and being respected. But wanting to be liked leads a person down the road of compromising principles to please others, those others in turn like you for a while, but they lose respect for you, and when you get a little older and not so pleasing to look at anymore, and everyone has taken what they wanted from you, they kick you to the curb with the rest of the trash. That is what is happening.

  • Jonathan

    A pushback to Kagan’s nonsense from the conservative Daniel Larison, who, judging from the posts today, proves he’s smarter than any 10 Mo. synod Lutherans.

    “One of the most irritating memes in conservative commentary these days is the idea that Obama subverts allies and aids rivals. They have been pushing this one right from the beginning. This is a pretty blatant accusation of treachery and/or naivete, and it isn’t true. Naturally, this latest quarrel with Israel has become another entry on the indictment against Obama for the supposed “squeeze” he puts on allies. The only trouble with this argument is that there is no real squeeze. There is a lot of talk that I assume everyone involved knows will lead to nothing. It’s as if all of the parties know that the entire quarrel is a charade, but now that it has started it has to be played out.

    “Incredibly, despite the absence of any meaningful consequences for Netanyahu’s government from Washington, the administration is supposedly being very “hard” on Israel while it is being equally “soft” on Iran. There is an Iran gasoline embargo bill pending in Congress, where it has overwhelming support, and it seems unlikely that Obama would veto it if the bill came to his desk. On the other hand, the administration is throwing a public fit over the treatment of the Vice President during his visit to Israel and not doing much more than that. No honest person could conclude from this that it is Israel that has been getting the squeeze. ”

    Read the whole thing at:
    http://www.amconmag.com/larison/2010/03/16/the-squeeze-that-wasnt/

  • Jonathan

    A pushback to Kagan’s nonsense from the conservative Daniel Larison, who, judging from the posts today, proves he’s smarter than any 10 Mo. synod Lutherans.

    “One of the most irritating memes in conservative commentary these days is the idea that Obama subverts allies and aids rivals. They have been pushing this one right from the beginning. This is a pretty blatant accusation of treachery and/or naivete, and it isn’t true. Naturally, this latest quarrel with Israel has become another entry on the indictment against Obama for the supposed “squeeze” he puts on allies. The only trouble with this argument is that there is no real squeeze. There is a lot of talk that I assume everyone involved knows will lead to nothing. It’s as if all of the parties know that the entire quarrel is a charade, but now that it has started it has to be played out.

    “Incredibly, despite the absence of any meaningful consequences for Netanyahu’s government from Washington, the administration is supposedly being very “hard” on Israel while it is being equally “soft” on Iran. There is an Iran gasoline embargo bill pending in Congress, where it has overwhelming support, and it seems unlikely that Obama would veto it if the bill came to his desk. On the other hand, the administration is throwing a public fit over the treatment of the Vice President during his visit to Israel and not doing much more than that. No honest person could conclude from this that it is Israel that has been getting the squeeze. ”

    Read the whole thing at:
    http://www.amconmag.com/larison/2010/03/16/the-squeeze-that-wasnt/

  • Anon123

    Well, one has to remember who his Secretary of State is. She is not immune from making serious gaffes all by herself, either.

    Then, on the opposite site of the spectrum, you have this: http://zeek.forward.com/articles/116518/

  • Anon123

    Well, one has to remember who his Secretary of State is. She is not immune from making serious gaffes all by herself, either.

    Then, on the opposite site of the spectrum, you have this: http://zeek.forward.com/articles/116518/

  • Peter Leavitt

    Jonathan, Mr. Larison hardly refutes Donald Kagan’s view of American foreign policy. He puts the contretemps with Israel in context of a clear global pattern of Obama’s feckless “engaging” with such nations as Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and North Korea, while alienating Britain, France, Israel, and Honduras.

    Another incisive article on Obama’s foreign is a recent one, Israel and the Crisis With Obama
    Benjamin Netanyahu made the mistake of believing the president is serious about stopping a nuclear Iran.
    including:

    On Iran, Mr. Netanyahu has faithfully supported Mr. Obama’s diplomacy, hoping to build credibility with the president against the day when Israel might have to strike Iran’s weapons program pre-emptively. Jerusalem, for example, currently backs U.S. efforts to increase sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program, doomed to failure though they are. As time passes, Israel’s military option grows more difficult and the chances for success shrink as Iran seeks new air-defense systems and further buries and hardens nuclear facilities.

    Mr. Netanyahu’s mistake has been to assume that Mr. Obama basically agrees that we must prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. But the White House likely believes that a nuclear Iran, though undesirable, can be contained and will therefore not support using military force to thwart Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

    Both Kagan and Bolton are far from spouting nonsense; unlike the rather basically naive isolationist, Larison, they see world realities clearly and are sounding clear, rational warnings.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Jonathan, Mr. Larison hardly refutes Donald Kagan’s view of American foreign policy. He puts the contretemps with Israel in context of a clear global pattern of Obama’s feckless “engaging” with such nations as Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and North Korea, while alienating Britain, France, Israel, and Honduras.

    Another incisive article on Obama’s foreign is a recent one, Israel and the Crisis With Obama
    Benjamin Netanyahu made the mistake of believing the president is serious about stopping a nuclear Iran.
    including:

    On Iran, Mr. Netanyahu has faithfully supported Mr. Obama’s diplomacy, hoping to build credibility with the president against the day when Israel might have to strike Iran’s weapons program pre-emptively. Jerusalem, for example, currently backs U.S. efforts to increase sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program, doomed to failure though they are. As time passes, Israel’s military option grows more difficult and the chances for success shrink as Iran seeks new air-defense systems and further buries and hardens nuclear facilities.

    Mr. Netanyahu’s mistake has been to assume that Mr. Obama basically agrees that we must prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. But the White House likely believes that a nuclear Iran, though undesirable, can be contained and will therefore not support using military force to thwart Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

    Both Kagan and Bolton are far from spouting nonsense; unlike the rather basically naive isolationist, Larison, they see world realities clearly and are sounding clear, rational warnings.

  • Jonathan

    Peter, you’re floundering in incoherence.

  • Jonathan

    Peter, you’re floundering in incoherence.

  • Peter Leavitt

    That I’m floundering in incoherence is quite possible Jonathan, though you have scarcely proved it.

  • Peter Leavitt

    That I’m floundering in incoherence is quite possible Jonathan, though you have scarcely proved it.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@9), I appreciated your reply, but isn’t it obvious that no one’s proving anything here? They’re all just flinging opinions around and pretending it’s hard fact.

    This starts, of course, with Kagan, who pretends that there’s some metric here by which one could assert that under Obama, America “has worse relations overall with American allies” than it did under Bush. He hints at how baseless his assertion is by stating “If there were a way to measure administration exertion in foreign policy,” but then goes on to pretend that there is, in fact, such a way to measure things. He could have saved us all some time by writing, “I’m Robert Kagan, a Republican, and I have never liked Obama’s foreign policy. That is all.”

    I mean, seriously, is there one measurable claim that he makes? Listen to this vagueness: “In Eastern and Central Europe, there has been fear”, “Among top E.U. officials there is consternation”, “In India, there are worries” … if this guy were writing a Wikipedia article, it’d be stamped with “[citation needed]” all over the place.

    But hey, that liberal mainstream media, amIright?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Peter (@9), I appreciated your reply, but isn’t it obvious that no one’s proving anything here? They’re all just flinging opinions around and pretending it’s hard fact.

    This starts, of course, with Kagan, who pretends that there’s some metric here by which one could assert that under Obama, America “has worse relations overall with American allies” than it did under Bush. He hints at how baseless his assertion is by stating “If there were a way to measure administration exertion in foreign policy,” but then goes on to pretend that there is, in fact, such a way to measure things. He could have saved us all some time by writing, “I’m Robert Kagan, a Republican, and I have never liked Obama’s foreign policy. That is all.”

    I mean, seriously, is there one measurable claim that he makes? Listen to this vagueness: “In Eastern and Central Europe, there has been fear”, “Among top E.U. officials there is consternation”, “In India, there are worries” … if this guy were writing a Wikipedia article, it’d be stamped with “[citation needed]” all over the place.

    But hey, that liberal mainstream media, amIright?

  • Ticked Off

    Lots of conservative American Christians traded Christ for “I love Sarah Palin” T-shirts long ago, but I wonder what would happen if they got excited, for just a few minutes, about the welfare of Christians living in Iran and Palestine.

    When I hear conservatives gripe that Obama isn’t bombing Iran fast enough for them, or indicate that they don’t even know there are such people as Arab Christians whom the Israelis mistreat, I wonder why they bother calling themselves Christian. Our Christian brothers have a tough time living in the part of the world; bringing more bombs their way (or refusing to protest their mistreatment) will surely cause them greater grief. Go find out what happened to the Iraqi Christians when Bush said “mission accomplished.”

    Doesn’t Christ play any role in your politics?

  • Ticked Off

    Lots of conservative American Christians traded Christ for “I love Sarah Palin” T-shirts long ago, but I wonder what would happen if they got excited, for just a few minutes, about the welfare of Christians living in Iran and Palestine.

    When I hear conservatives gripe that Obama isn’t bombing Iran fast enough for them, or indicate that they don’t even know there are such people as Arab Christians whom the Israelis mistreat, I wonder why they bother calling themselves Christian. Our Christian brothers have a tough time living in the part of the world; bringing more bombs their way (or refusing to protest their mistreatment) will surely cause them greater grief. Go find out what happened to the Iraqi Christians when Bush said “mission accomplished.”

    Doesn’t Christ play any role in your politics?

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Obama, like Bush before him, seems to also really like unmanned military drones to do his dirty work. It is my contention that there is not a more cowardly way to wage war today and if that’s the only way we can accomplish a mission, perhaps its the wrong mission. Personally, NOT a big fan of the drone attack! I can’t understand why anyone could even imagine that this would be a good way to wage war even in part. But does anyone think this entrenched U.S. practice might damage our foreign policy? Nah, in fact let’s use less men on the front lines for the proliferation of robotics on the front lines as a recruitment tool! Bad Bush. Bad Obama. Bad unthinking Republitechnocrats.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    Obama, like Bush before him, seems to also really like unmanned military drones to do his dirty work. It is my contention that there is not a more cowardly way to wage war today and if that’s the only way we can accomplish a mission, perhaps its the wrong mission. Personally, NOT a big fan of the drone attack! I can’t understand why anyone could even imagine that this would be a good way to wage war even in part. But does anyone think this entrenched U.S. practice might damage our foreign policy? Nah, in fact let’s use less men on the front lines for the proliferation of robotics on the front lines as a recruitment tool! Bad Bush. Bad Obama. Bad unthinking Republitechnocrats.

  • Ticked Off

    Mr. Lindemood, you’re right, but your condemnation of the drones applies equally to bombs that are dropped from planes, or, for that matter, all missiles launched from a thousand miles away. Not to mention, for that matter, nuclear weapons. All of these technological marvels are set in motion by a person, who does not have to see the civilians he kills. Ah, the good life.

    Funny thing. You’d think Christians would be pacifists, generally, who would agree to war only under the most stringent conditions. Instead, in the US, Christians support war, generally, and oppose it only under the most stringent conditions.

  • Ticked Off

    Mr. Lindemood, you’re right, but your condemnation of the drones applies equally to bombs that are dropped from planes, or, for that matter, all missiles launched from a thousand miles away. Not to mention, for that matter, nuclear weapons. All of these technological marvels are set in motion by a person, who does not have to see the civilians he kills. Ah, the good life.

    Funny thing. You’d think Christians would be pacifists, generally, who would agree to war only under the most stringent conditions. Instead, in the US, Christians support war, generally, and oppose it only under the most stringent conditions.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, to use your example of Kagan’s error metric, Eastern Europe, including especially Poland and the Czech Republic, have good reason to fear Russian intentions. That’s why they wanted U.S. defensive missiles that the Bush administration committed to them, an agreement that Obama abrogated in an attempt to curry favor with Russia. Russia, of course, knowing how to play Realpolitik, was delighted at Obama’s concession but then didn’t play ball with Obama on the issues about which he wanted concessions.

    There is in fact a lot of proof, as Kagan notes, that Obama’s foreign policy tends to favor “engagement” with our adversaries and sloughing off the interests of our allies. Obama has curried favor with the likes of Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and Zelayan Honduras, while at best keeping distant relations with Eastern Europe, Israel, Britain, France, and Columbia. Kagan and Bolton make a compelling excellent case for this.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Todd, to use your example of Kagan’s error metric, Eastern Europe, including especially Poland and the Czech Republic, have good reason to fear Russian intentions. That’s why they wanted U.S. defensive missiles that the Bush administration committed to them, an agreement that Obama abrogated in an attempt to curry favor with Russia. Russia, of course, knowing how to play Realpolitik, was delighted at Obama’s concession but then didn’t play ball with Obama on the issues about which he wanted concessions.

    There is in fact a lot of proof, as Kagan notes, that Obama’s foreign policy tends to favor “engagement” with our adversaries and sloughing off the interests of our allies. Obama has curried favor with the likes of Iran, Russia, Venezuela, and Zelayan Honduras, while at best keeping distant relations with Eastern Europe, Israel, Britain, France, and Columbia. Kagan and Bolton make a compelling excellent case for this.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I agree with you, T.O.ed. Those too are cowardly acts which we believe are necessary in modern warfare. In this world, the waging of war by men is a terrible necessity – too true. But too bad we are afflicted by so many hollow chests. I would also agree that our U.S. hair trigger is much too sensitive and we meddle much too quickly in the affairs of other states. But, hey, its good for the economy! (Yeah, right.)

  • Bryan Lindemood

    I agree with you, T.O.ed. Those too are cowardly acts which we believe are necessary in modern warfare. In this world, the waging of war by men is a terrible necessity – too true. But too bad we are afflicted by so many hollow chests. I would also agree that our U.S. hair trigger is much too sensitive and we meddle much too quickly in the affairs of other states. But, hey, its good for the economy! (Yeah, right.)

  • Peter Leavitt

    Funny thing. You’d think Christians would be pacifists

    Going back to Augustine serious Christians set forth criteria for just war, namely under the rubric of “tranquilitas ordinis,” the state of ordinary peace that civilized Christians desired and, if necessary were willing to fight for. Specifically, to vastly simplify ,wars could only be fought by established authority for just cause with proportionate means and reasonable chance of success.

    An excellent modern Christian essay on just War, Just War, As It Was and Is by the Methodist theologian, James Turner Johnson.

    Most American Christians quite understand in a fallen world that war is sometimes a hard necessity. The trouble is that pacifists find it hard to recognize the necessity of war and heartland isolationists suffer the illusion that we are shielded from war due to our ocean moats.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Funny thing. You’d think Christians would be pacifists

    Going back to Augustine serious Christians set forth criteria for just war, namely under the rubric of “tranquilitas ordinis,” the state of ordinary peace that civilized Christians desired and, if necessary were willing to fight for. Specifically, to vastly simplify ,wars could only be fought by established authority for just cause with proportionate means and reasonable chance of success.

    An excellent modern Christian essay on just War, Just War, As It Was and Is by the Methodist theologian, James Turner Johnson.

    Most American Christians quite understand in a fallen world that war is sometimes a hard necessity. The trouble is that pacifists find it hard to recognize the necessity of war and heartland isolationists suffer the illusion that we are shielded from war due to our ocean moats.

  • LAJ

    When the enemy is planting roadside bombs and blowing up their own, aren’t we justified in retaliating in the only way that scares the enemy? They are not afraid of our tanks, soldiers, guns, etc. They are terrified by the drones. Also, I fewer civilian lives are taken by drones than are by the enemies’ cowardly methods. What do you want us to do in this modern war? Line up like the British used to and let them decimate us?

  • LAJ

    When the enemy is planting roadside bombs and blowing up their own, aren’t we justified in retaliating in the only way that scares the enemy? They are not afraid of our tanks, soldiers, guns, etc. They are terrified by the drones. Also, I fewer civilian lives are taken by drones than are by the enemies’ cowardly methods. What do you want us to do in this modern war? Line up like the British used to and let them decimate us?

  • Ticked Off

    Peter, can you really speak for or about ‘serious’ Christians?
    I said Christians should be pacifists, generally, since we do pretend to worship the Prince of Peace, but I can hardly think of a reason to go to war, though I won’t always rule it out. I’m not particulary interested in the ‘just war’ theory since no one agrees about what it is, and it’s a pretense to justify unjust wars.
    What do you think about those poor slobs, the Chrsitians who have the misfortune to live among Muslims and Jews in the middle east? Should we just yell “look out!” the next time we cheer on our country’s bombers?

  • Ticked Off

    Peter, can you really speak for or about ‘serious’ Christians?
    I said Christians should be pacifists, generally, since we do pretend to worship the Prince of Peace, but I can hardly think of a reason to go to war, though I won’t always rule it out. I’m not particulary interested in the ‘just war’ theory since no one agrees about what it is, and it’s a pretense to justify unjust wars.
    What do you think about those poor slobs, the Chrsitians who have the misfortune to live among Muslims and Jews in the middle east? Should we just yell “look out!” the next time we cheer on our country’s bombers?

  • Peter Leavitt

    Ticked Off, actually we have substantial agreement among most Christian theologians, Protestant and Catholic, on the subject of just war. The Methodist theologian, James Turner Johnson, whom I linked to above, states this well as follows:

    All this took place within a maturing theory of politics first outlined by Augustine in City of God, which conceived the good society as one characterized by a just order and thus one at peace both within itself and with other polities similarly justly ordered. Within this conception of politics the ruler’s right to rule is defined by his responsibility to secure and protect the order and justice, and thus the peace, of his own political community and also to contribute to orderly, just, and peaceful interactions with other such communities.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Ticked Off, actually we have substantial agreement among most Christian theologians, Protestant and Catholic, on the subject of just war. The Methodist theologian, James Turner Johnson, whom I linked to above, states this well as follows:

    All this took place within a maturing theory of politics first outlined by Augustine in City of God, which conceived the good society as one characterized by a just order and thus one at peace both within itself and with other polities similarly justly ordered. Within this conception of politics the ruler’s right to rule is defined by his responsibility to secure and protect the order and justice, and thus the peace, of his own political community and also to contribute to orderly, just, and peaceful interactions with other such communities.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    LAJ – I don’t think we should line up like Brits used to. We should wage war with courage – you know, like real men. In my opinion the use of drones is anything but that.

  • Bryan Lindemood

    LAJ – I don’t think we should line up like Brits used to. We should wage war with courage – you know, like real men. In my opinion the use of drones is anything but that.

  • Daniel Gorman

    “It isn’t just our economy and Congress that are out of whack. Robert Kagan of the Washington Post cites the ways President Obama is botching our foreign policy. . .”

    In 1996, Robert Kagan set forth a doctrine of “Benevolent global hegemony. Having defeated the “evil empire,” the United States enjoys strategic and ideological predominance. The first objective of U.S. foreign policy should be to preserve and enhance that predominance by strengthening America’s security, supporting its friends, advancing its interests, and standing up for its principles around the world.
    The aspiration to benevolent hegemony might strike some as either hubristic or morally suspect. But a hegemon is nothing more or less than a leader with preponderant influence and authority over all others in its domain.” Toward A Neo-Reagonite Foreign Policy, Carnegie Foreign Affairs, July/August 1996

    Kagan’s “Benevolent global hegemony” has cost thousands of Americans their lives in an unnecessary and unjust war in Iraq; wrecked the American economy with out-of-control military spending; and destroyed the goodwill America had throughout the world following 9/11. I can think of no greater compliment for President Obama than Robert Kagan’s scorn.

  • Daniel Gorman

    “It isn’t just our economy and Congress that are out of whack. Robert Kagan of the Washington Post cites the ways President Obama is botching our foreign policy. . .”

    In 1996, Robert Kagan set forth a doctrine of “Benevolent global hegemony. Having defeated the “evil empire,” the United States enjoys strategic and ideological predominance. The first objective of U.S. foreign policy should be to preserve and enhance that predominance by strengthening America’s security, supporting its friends, advancing its interests, and standing up for its principles around the world.
    The aspiration to benevolent hegemony might strike some as either hubristic or morally suspect. But a hegemon is nothing more or less than a leader with preponderant influence and authority over all others in its domain.” Toward A Neo-Reagonite Foreign Policy, Carnegie Foreign Affairs, July/August 1996

    Kagan’s “Benevolent global hegemony” has cost thousands of Americans their lives in an unnecessary and unjust war in Iraq; wrecked the American economy with out-of-control military spending; and destroyed the goodwill America had throughout the world following 9/11. I can think of no greater compliment for President Obama than Robert Kagan’s scorn.

  • Peter Leavitt

    There is nothing sinister about the Kagan 1996 Foreign Affairs paper, Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy. In this paper he recognized both the reality and the responsibility of American power in the world. The truth is that American hegemonic power acts as a necessary deterrence to various autocratic powers in the world who wish to damage both to America and the regions they inhabit. He writes:

    A neo-Reaganite foreign policy would be good for conservatives, good for America, and good for the world. It is worth recalling that the most successful Republican presidents of this century, Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, both inspired Americans to assume cheerfully the new international responsibilities that went with increased power and influence. Both celebrated American exceptionalism. Both made Americans proud of their leading role in world affairs. Deprived of the support of an elevated patriotism, bereft of the ability to appeal to national honor, conservatives will ultimately fail in their effort to govern America. And Americans will fail in their responsibility to lead the world.

    Kagan in this paper was arguing against the neo-isolationists on both the Left and Right who suffer the illusion that America can withdraw from the hard realities of the world, as we are protected by the moats of two oceans. We ought to have learned from both WWII and 9/11 that it is necessary to have a strong military and diplomatic vision in the world in order to protect our own vital interests along with those of our allies.

  • Peter Leavitt

    There is nothing sinister about the Kagan 1996 Foreign Affairs paper, Toward a Neo-Reaganite Foreign Policy. In this paper he recognized both the reality and the responsibility of American power in the world. The truth is that American hegemonic power acts as a necessary deterrence to various autocratic powers in the world who wish to damage both to America and the regions they inhabit. He writes:

    A neo-Reaganite foreign policy would be good for conservatives, good for America, and good for the world. It is worth recalling that the most successful Republican presidents of this century, Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan, both inspired Americans to assume cheerfully the new international responsibilities that went with increased power and influence. Both celebrated American exceptionalism. Both made Americans proud of their leading role in world affairs. Deprived of the support of an elevated patriotism, bereft of the ability to appeal to national honor, conservatives will ultimately fail in their effort to govern America. And Americans will fail in their responsibility to lead the world.

    Kagan in this paper was arguing against the neo-isolationists on both the Left and Right who suffer the illusion that America can withdraw from the hard realities of the world, as we are protected by the moats of two oceans. We ought to have learned from both WWII and 9/11 that it is necessary to have a strong military and diplomatic vision in the world in order to protect our own vital interests along with those of our allies.

  • Daniel Gorman

    No, Kagan meant exactly what he said: America must rule the world for the world’s own good and America’s.

    Ruling the world has been tried many times before. The end result is always the same. The country is bleed dry by military expenditures. Young men die for no good reason.

    Whether you or I like President Obama policies or not, they are at least rooted in reality and not in the fantasy world of Robert Kagan.

  • Daniel Gorman

    No, Kagan meant exactly what he said: America must rule the world for the world’s own good and America’s.

    Ruling the world has been tried many times before. The end result is always the same. The country is bleed dry by military expenditures. Young men die for no good reason.

    Whether you or I like President Obama policies or not, they are at least rooted in reality and not in the fantasy world of Robert Kagan.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Kagan distinguished between realistic use of America’s power for purposes of benevolent global hegemony, the sort of power that won WWII, The Cold War, and likely the Iraq War for the purposes of defeating autocrats and establishing relatively free local powers.

    The better of American statesmen well understand the dangers and evil of “ruling” the world, while being unafraid to wisely use our very real power to free nations around the world to justly exercise their own power and to open avenues for beneficial world trade.

    Obama’s fantasy, based on Enlightenment illusions, is to build some sort of a utopian secular liberal order; more sensible conservative statesmen make incremental changes to their fallen societies and have the backbone to fight the assorted autocrats around the world that abhor political and economic freedom. In the long run Bush will be known as the liberator of Iraq, while such dreamers as Carter and Obama will be known in the footnotes for their feckless rule.

  • Peter Leavitt

    Kagan distinguished between realistic use of America’s power for purposes of benevolent global hegemony, the sort of power that won WWII, The Cold War, and likely the Iraq War for the purposes of defeating autocrats and establishing relatively free local powers.

    The better of American statesmen well understand the dangers and evil of “ruling” the world, while being unafraid to wisely use our very real power to free nations around the world to justly exercise their own power and to open avenues for beneficial world trade.

    Obama’s fantasy, based on Enlightenment illusions, is to build some sort of a utopian secular liberal order; more sensible conservative statesmen make incremental changes to their fallen societies and have the backbone to fight the assorted autocrats around the world that abhor political and economic freedom. In the long run Bush will be known as the liberator of Iraq, while such dreamers as Carter and Obama will be known in the footnotes for their feckless rule.

  • Daniel Gorman

    “Obama’s fantasy”? So far President Obama has not invaded another country in order to “to build some sort of a utopian secular liberal order.” President Bush did so in both Iraq and Afghanistan with disastrous results.

    President Bush, “the liberator of Iraq”? What a joke! If anything positive comes out of President Bush’s foolish invasion, it will be due to the sacrifices of the American servicemen and the Iraqi people. The American military had a very sound invasion plan. Those plans were ignored by President Bush. Thousands died unnecessarily. Trillions of tax dollars were flushed down the drain. Only when total defeat was imminent, due to President Bush’s meddling, were military professionals put in charge.

    President Obama “feckless rule”? Compared to President Bush, he is an absolute tiger! He is fighting to win in Iraq and Afghanistan by giving the commanders what they need to win. President Bush ignored the Afghan war for seven years and only belated supported the troops in Iraq when his legacy was in danger.

  • Daniel Gorman

    “Obama’s fantasy”? So far President Obama has not invaded another country in order to “to build some sort of a utopian secular liberal order.” President Bush did so in both Iraq and Afghanistan with disastrous results.

    President Bush, “the liberator of Iraq”? What a joke! If anything positive comes out of President Bush’s foolish invasion, it will be due to the sacrifices of the American servicemen and the Iraqi people. The American military had a very sound invasion plan. Those plans were ignored by President Bush. Thousands died unnecessarily. Trillions of tax dollars were flushed down the drain. Only when total defeat was imminent, due to President Bush’s meddling, were military professionals put in charge.

    President Obama “feckless rule”? Compared to President Bush, he is an absolute tiger! He is fighting to win in Iraq and Afghanistan by giving the commanders what they need to win. President Bush ignored the Afghan war for seven years and only belated supported the troops in Iraq when his legacy was in danger.


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