Monday, April 11, 2011

Reading "Getting Our Way" and its Resonance with our Current Foreign Policy

A friend of mine, knowing my avid interest in history, particularly of the Anglo-American strain, recently lent me a book she had enjoyed, Getting Our Way.

I've just started reading it, but already I'm enthralled and nodding my head. Though the book's audience is intended to be the British people, I can't help but think how applicable the book's discussion is to American foreign policy:

Foreign policy - what is to be done - and diplomacy - how it is to be done - begin and end with the national interest. Without that, all is drift and muddle. Nowadays, to our damage as a nation, we have allowed the necessary rigour of foreign policy to become diluted by fashionable but fraudulent notions of the post-modern state, which elevate the daft utopianism of 'global values' at the expense of the national interest. 

And how that resonates with our foreign (mis)adventures over the past decade! Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya certainly seem to quality as "drift and muddle."

Enough ink has been spilled over Libya, incidentally, but I would argue that view of foreign policy casts the Secretary of State and the President as utterly negligent of our national interest. And that is even before you consider that our actions in Libya, essentially war, are likely unconstitutional.

As I read Getting Our Way, I'll be writing more about my thoughts on it.

And for now, I leave you with some of the articles/media I've been reading on our current foreign policy debacle. No doubt people will disagree with the views in these articles/podcasts. No doubt some people may consider my entertainment of the views in these articles as extreme. But I have to ask, since we are supposed to live in a nation under the rule of law rather than the rule of man, why is it too much to ask that the President follow the Constitution? Especially when pre-election, he stated that it is required by the Constitution that the President seek a declaration of war from Congress before non-defensive military acts can commence (excepting conditions under the War Powers Act, which the current situation does not meet).

Or maybe we're just encountering that old bias Lord Acton so eloquently expressed: All power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or certainty of corruption by full authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. [Emphasis added]

The emphasis above is usually on the first sentence. In this case I choose to emphasize the second sentence since I have no doubt plenty of people think Obama a great man, but I think Obama's actions recently proved that insight of Acton's.

Anyway, I hope these articles and the podcast cause you to think from a different viewpoint if you disagree with my viewpoint above.

By What Authority Has Obama Gone to War in Libya?

Why We Should Be Against Armed Humanitarianism

UN "Authorization" is the Emperor's New Fig Leaf

What Happened to the American Declaration of War? - a great piece by Stratfor discussing why American presidents neglect of the declaration of war has had a negative impact on their political prospects.

Libya, War Power and Impeachment - podcast with Rep Tom McClintock's reaction on our acts in Libya, its unconstitutionality, and the potential for impeachment

Why the Libyan War is Unconstitutional

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