U.S. Foreign Policy: Intimidation, Domination; Counterproductive


Our government in Washington continues to pursue a foreign policy that just doesn’t work. Those in the State Dept. and the Pentagon who are directly responsible for planning and carrying out this policy cannot be allowed to continue to operate in this manner for it has become totally counterproductive.

This totally misguided policy that has been going on for many years, from the Vietnam War to Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and now Syria, has been a colossal failure.  It has caused nothing but misery, suffering and destruction in various countries together with the needless loss of U.S. troops. It goes on and on, it never stops, never gets better, and the foreign policy quagmire gets deeper and deeper.

Let’s review recent history to see how and why this policy has failed to work. Look at what happened in Ukraine and Crimea when the U.S. government tried to drive a wedge between those countries and Russia; three nations that have had strong mutual ties going way back in time. This incursion into the affairs of these countries could be likened to Russia establishing an unwelcome presence in North America and attempting to drive a wedge between Canada and the U.S.

What happened in Ukraine didn’t have a chance of being successful and failed when Mr. Obama threatened to send military assets into that country. It failed because Putin quickly responded, stating very clearly that if Mr. Obama did that, then Russia would immediately send troops into Ukraine to take control of the situation. Well, that was the end of that foreign policy misadventure.

Was it working in Syria during that massive internal conflict in which that country’s government forces were fighting various rebel groups, including ISIS, Daesh and others who fully intended to overthrow the Assad government? Well the U.S. decided to take part in that purge of Assad and proceeded to conduct an intense bombing campaign that accomplished little if anything except contributing to the flight of Syrians into other countries.

This is a clear case of not learning anything from past mistakes. This attempt to remove Assad from power is like a replay of what happened not long ago in Iraq, Syria’s next door neighbor. I’m talking about how the U.S. government, in 2003, overthrew Saddam Hussein because he was in the way and opened the door to massive destruction in that country.

In Syria Putin brought Russian air power into that country in September, 2015 and then initiating a bombing campaign in support of Syrian government and Iranian troops on the ground that stopped ISIS in its tracks. He then set up a cease-fire process that is still in effect and seems to be working. He just recently took steps to withdraw most of the Russian military assets from that country.

Right now those in charge of this failed policy seem to be obsessed with trying to intimidate and control Russia and China, which would appear to be the height of insanity. Let’s put it this way; if this incompetent U.S. foreign policy team wanted to choose two countries that it should never, ever try to intimidate, that would be Russia and China.

Russia and China are both world superpowers, they both possess nuclear arsenals and have large, powerful militaries. China has the largest population in the world and Russia is the largest country in terms of total area. Neither China nor Russia will allow itself to be intimidated in any way. So why in the world would you be so reckless and try to push either of them around?

Can’t these embedded war hawks and neocons that dictate America’s foreign policy see that their actions are actually strengthening the already powerful alliance that exists between China and Russia? An alliance that will use its power to pursue a myriad of mutual ventures in Eurasia and other regions of the world, one that will also be invincible from the standpoint of military power. Don’t these incompetents understand that what they are attempting to do is an exercise in futility?

Talk about a misguided foreign policy relative to China; that country produces the vast portion of America’s consumer products, it owns some $1.2 trillion of U.S. debt that it could cash in at any time which would be disastrous for the U.S; and it has shown no propensity for threatening or attacking America. You would think that a more appropriate U.S. foreign policy would be one that emphasized the strengthening of this relationship because China and Corporate America’s objectives are the same; to make more money from their close relationship.

But, no, those with their blinders on have, instead, decided that it’s time to move into the South China Sea and try to take control of that area right in China’s backyard. The plan is to try to neutralize China’s power and influence by moving a substantial portion of U.S. naval forces into that region. To use this kind of gunboat diplomacy when there is no threat of any kind is incomprehensible.

This latest strategy, the Asian Pivot, is the equivalent of China moving a large naval force into the Atlantic or Pacific oceans off the coast of America. This is what’s called looking for big time trouble and could, conceivably, start a confrontation that could lead to war if one or the other of these powers does something really reckless. If that should ever happen, and it could, just imagine the disastrous effect it would have on the American society if China cut off shipments of consumer products.

Instead of creating new confrontations with China we might be a lot better off developing a foreign policy modeled after that of China which is based upon interacting positively with the nations of the world. China is not following an agenda of intimidation and domination because it’s far too busy working to strengthen its economy, improve its infrastructure and working with a great many other countries to develop these lucrative infrastructure projects. The China Development Bank has plans to invest $890 billion in over 900 projects in some 60 countries. How’s that for a foreign policy that creates new friends instead of making enemies?

China has also recently approved its 13th 5-year plan that involves both Chinese domestic and foreign investment projects. I don’t recall the U.S. government creating any 5-year plan or any kind of plan to invest substantial funds in improving America’s infrastructure or working with other countries to improve theirs. But I do remember reading about the many billions of taxpayer dollars spent in Iraq and Afghanistan on repairing and rebuilding infrastructure that was devastated by our misguided military actions.

Each time this government initiates another war, invades and occupies another country, launches bombs and drones, and tries to remove and replace heads of state, it is sinking deeper and deeper into a quagmire of its own making.

If we had a political revolution take place in this country such as Bernie Sanders wants to initiate, it should include the removal of those neocons and war hawks from power and transform U.S. foreign policy into one that is positive and constructive. Wouldn’t that be refreshing for a change?


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Michael Payne is an independent progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues; and especially with the great dangers involved with the proliferation of perpetual war, the associated defense industry, and the massive control that Corporate America holds over this government and our election process; all which are leading this nation down the road to eventual financial ruin if the conditions are not reversed. He is a graduate of Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois and a U.S. Army veteran.