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June 27, 2016 / 21 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘international’

America Has No Foreign Policy

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

The United States of America has a State Department, it has row after row of people who speak badly every language from Arabic to Swahili badly, and it has rich donors who take on the task of acting as ambassadors to some foreign country every four to eight years. There are think-tanks, actual tanks and institutes dedicated to turning out papers on foreign policy. And despite all this, or perhaps because of all this, the country still has no foreign policy.

Americans are by nature isolationist. American leaders, since Woodrow Wilson dumped ashes from his pipe on the Oval Office carpets and dumped America into the international game of empires, are bent on getting involved in world politics. Unfortunately everything they know about world politics comes from the back of cereal boxes. And yes that includes our current precious genius who comes to us from eating dog and living the life of a privileged member of Indonesia’s upper classes, but knows almost as little about the world outside Chicago, as he does about economics.

The big problem with American foreign policy is that there isn’t one. Our current foreign policy can be boiled down to three words. “Don’t Hate Us.” The current administration has introduced an innovative fourth word. “Please.”

It’s a long way from a century ago when American leaders still had no foreign policy, besides warning European countries to stay out of their hemisphere, but had begun to think that being involved in the affairs of other countries was a prerequisite for global good citizenship.

Theodore Roosevelt won a Nobel Prize for trying to get the Russians and Japanese to end a disastrous war in which the Japanese had the suicide determination and the Russians had the machine guns, but barely broke even.

Roosevelt, like many of his successors, had no true foreign policy beyond articulating American greatness on the world stage. But the deeper those successors involved themselves in international politics, the more they came to see American greatness as the obstacle, not the point. The more the United States became involved in organizing global alliances to hold back one threat or another, the more that same national greatness began to be seen as an obstacle to maximizing those alliances.

A hundred years ago, American presidents thought that their country should be a world power because of the manifest destiny of its national greatness. A century later they were minimizing that national greatness to preserve world power status.

Roosevelt’s “Pedicaris alive or Raisuli dead” became “Let’s Pull Together” and “Don’t Hate Us” during the Cold War. And today the motto, in a world where a whole lot of people want to do it, is, “Please Don’t Kill Us.”

The United States does not appease in pursuit of its objectives, appeasement has become the objective. Being hated is the ultimate national security threat. Being loved is the ultimate national security objective. These aren’t even sarcastic observations. They are actual policy.

CVE (Countering Violent Extremism) through outreach to Muslims is our foreign policy and like global warming and gay rights, it encompasses every single area of our government, to the absurd extent that NASA’s top priority under the dog-eater-in-chief was designated as improving Muslim self-esteem. NASA’s former priority of boosting American self-esteem was no longer appropriate because that would just make people hate us even more and make us act in such a way that they would hate us.

Americans and American leaders now both want the same thing. To be left alone. But American leaders remain convinced that the best way to be left alone is to appease those who might want to attack their country by minimizing national power and contributing more lunch money to their international cause of free lunches.

America is often accused of bullying other nations, but our policies are not those of a bully, they are those of his victim cowering in the corner with broken glasses and smeared tears, one hand extended with his crumpled up lunch money inside. Our lunch money total comes into the many billions, but as our bullies and their advocates remind us, we’re rich enough to be able to afford it.

The kid in the corner has been bullied enough that his only policy is avoiding another incident. That is our foreign policy, driven by CVE or Here’s Some More Halal Lunch Money, finding ways of getting the bullies to leave us alone. Even the more militant elements of our military campaign are defensive, ripe with ways to convince the bullies to leave us alone, using drones to minimize civilian casualties and nation building exercises to turn our bullies into friendly peaceloving countries.

Reactive foreign policies are a recipe for defeat, but America has never had any foreign policy beyond progressive world citizenship and coalition building against global threats. And that has made American into the world’s social worker and the world’s policeman for so long that it has hardly any sense of what it might want for itself, as a country.

America is still involved in global citizenship projects even though the dictatorships who are the plurality of the global polity and the progressives who define global citizenship innately hate it. while working hard at maintaining global coalitions that do not exist against a threat that not even it is prepared to name. Whatever relevance these had, they no longer have any relevance when the conventional clash of nations of the Cold War gave way to the ride of the barbarians in the Islamic Wars of Terror.

The United States has been suckered into playing the same game as Israel. The impossible game of winning wars without alienating anyone. And that game is played by not winning wars and being more hated than if they had won all those wars. If we are forced to fight because we are hated, then the only way to avoid fighting is not be hated which means fighting just enough to survive, but not enough to earn us any more than the minimum amount of hate balanced against the minimum amount of survival. And if we win, maybe they’ll leave us alone. If they don’t, we’ll fight back even less.

During the Cold War the United States sacrificed its economy, its trade balance and its manufacturing sector to score coalition points and contain Communism. With Communism defeated and capitalism thriving in Russia and China, the United States is now stripping away civil liberties to counter Islamic terrorism. But that doesn’t just mean strip searches in airports, it means outlawing anything that offends Muslims. And if we survive that, and the Muslim world becomes a mecca of free speech, then we’ll have won yet another Pyrrhic victory at our own expense.

Countering external threats is a legitimate foreign policy interest, but it cannot be the only interest. That way leads to a purely reactive foreign policy and down the garden path to Stockholm Syndrome politics that accept responsibility for the actions of an aggressor to maintain the illusion of control over his actions. Our leaders, the ones who eat dogs and the ones who just pose for photos with them, are already there. If we reach European critical velocity, then we’ll be there as an entire nation, not just members of our chattering and spending classes.

America needs a foreign policy that is bigger than its defensive needs but smaller than progressive ambitions of global citizenship. It is a foreign policy that cannot be defensive or altruistic, but that actually resurrects the long buried question of American interests, rather than American obligations or needs. And to get there, the country’s policymakers have to get in touch with their 19th Century selves and stop asking what America is obligated to do for the world or what it desperately needs from the world, but what it would like to do with the world.

That is the way that Russia or China think. It’s the way that most countries, from the largest rivals to the smallest islands, approach the outside world, not as a place that they are obligated to or whom they dare not offend, but as a place for extending their ambitions and sense of self into. That does not mean going on a spree of territorial expansionism, necessarily, but that too would be a healthier way to function than the listless apathy of appeasement that has overtaken American foreign policy.

A foreign policy is assertive. It seeks to gain things, rather than to minimize losing things. It is not as concerned with the feelings of the world, as it is with the feelings of its own citizens. To the question of what it wants, it does not answer with the time-honored response of Miss America contestants, to make the world a better place, but rather it answers to make America better, bigger, richer and stronger. That answer is not idealistic, it is realistic. It is how other countries expect us to think and it is how they react no matter how altruistic our policies may be.

American foreign policy needs goals and horizons to gain definition. It needs to want something more than a way to avert the next big explosion or to feed the hungry people of Warlordistan to have a foreign policy that is based on substance, rather than cobwebs of fears and dreams. It needs to stand not for a better world, but for a better, stronger and richer America.

Originally published at Sultan Knish.

Daniel Greenfield

Kaf-Tet B’November

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

On November 29, 1947 the United Nations voted in a plan for the partition of the British Mandate territory of Palestine. The plan came to be called the United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine or United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181.

The plan was approved by the United Nations General Assembly by 33 votes to 13, with 10 abstentions.The plan would have partitioned the territory of Mandatory Palestine into Jewish and Arab states, with the Greater Jerusalem area, including Bethlehem, coming under international control.

As we all know, the Arab countries, instead of taking the opportunity to build yet another Arab state, decided to attack and try to destroy Israel in the following May of 1948. The Arabs lost, and Israel began to expand back into its natural and historical borders, which continued on in 1967.

The Partition Plan wasn’t actually something to celebrate about, as previous international decisions, most notably the San Remo agreement and Balfour Declaration, had designated all of the Land of Israel for the Jewish People, and the decision of November 29th, actually stripped away significant parts of our country from us.

But still, for those alive at the time, it meant international recognition with practical applications under international consensus and law for creating a Jewish State. and they were willing to take whatever they could get.

In Hebrew, the 29th of November is more commonly referred to as “Kaf-Tet B’November”.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Hungarian Parliamentarian Calls To Make List of Jews

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

A call by a far-right Hungarian parliamentarian to register Jews on lists as national security threats met international condemnation on Tuesday, as well as a protest outside the legislature, calling for his resignation.

Marton Gyongyosi of the Jobbik party said he would not resign, and said he had meant Hungarians with Israeli passports should be listed, not all Hungarian Jews.  He issued an apology to “my Jewish compatriots” for any misunderstanding.

The recommendation came following a parliamentary discussion of Hungary’s position on the recent war in Gaza, during which several legislators stated their interest in a halt to Israel’s attacks on terror targets.

Reuters quoted Gyongyosi as saying “”I think such a conflict makes it timely to tally up people of Jewish ancestry who live here, especially in the Hungarian parliament and the Hungarian government, who, indeed, pose a national security risk to Hungary.”

Protests outside the parliament featured Hungarians wearing yellow stars and chanting “Nazis go home!”

Almost a full day after Gyongyosi’s statement, the government issued its own statement condemning the idea.

Between 500,000 to 600,000 Hungarian Jews were killed in the Holocaust. Approximately 100,000 Jews now live in Hungary.

Malkah Fleisher

UC Irvine Students Vote for ‘Israel Divestment’ But Have No Investments to Divest

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Late last night, November 13, there was a unanimous vote at a California school for divestment from certain companies that do business with Israel.  Unanimous, 16 -0.

There are, however, several points militating against an uptick in alarm.

For one thing, the school at which this took place was the University of California at Irvine.  Yes, the school that allowed students to repeatedly disrupt Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren, in 2010.  Eleven of those hooligans were charged and convicted of conspiracy and disrupting a public meeting.  Those convictions were obtained despite the efforts of many UCIrvine faculty members, including a large number of  Jewish Studies department faculty.

But more importantly, the vote was taken by the UC Irvine Student Government, which, in all likelihood, does not have any investments in the targeted companies, or any other companies, for that matter.

The student government also called on the UC Irvine administration to divest from the named companies, but a student group’s call on its university to take the students’ investment advice is not exactly like money in (or, in this case, out of) the bank.

While the vote was really the equivalent of a small group of children shouting at those acting in loco parentis to take its investment advice, last night’s effort by anti-Israel student leadership at UCI is noteworthy for a small shift in tactic.

Although the Resolution repeatedly compared Israeli activity to Apartheid South Africa, the student government Resolution only sought divestment from those companies it deemed to provide support for the Security Fence, the demolition of “Palestinian” homes, and the building or maintenance of  the “illegal Israeli settlements” on “occupied Palestinian territory.”  In the past, calls for divestment from Israel typically called for divestment from any company doing business in Israel, which was the South Africa Apartheid divestment model.

The nitty gritty details, that is, that it was a student group that voted to divest its own (non-existent) financial holdings from certain companies – and was not the vote by a university to divest its holdings from companies doing business in Israel – was completely lost on most other media reporting on the vote.  Professional Israel haters such as Ali Abunimeh and Noam Chomsky were quick to add their support, as were Muslim Student Associations and other anti-Israel groups across the country.  To see the misguided glee, check on twitter #IrvineDivest.

The Resolution, which was introduced by Sabreen Shalabi, and seconded by Shadi Jafari, follows:

 

Item Number: 16 Legislation Number (B: Bill, R: Resolution): R48-15
Synopsis: Divestment from Companies that Profit from Apartheid
Date of Presentation: November 13, 2012
 Divestment from Companies that Profit from ApartheidWHEREAS, it is UC Irvine’s duty to maintain the values of “respect, intellectual curiosity, integrity, commitment, and empathy” which includes the promotion of human rights, equality, and dignity for all people without distinction;WHEREAS, it is the mission of the UCI Foundation to “ensure the appropriate use of all funds” in order to uphold the values of respect, intellectual curiosity, integrity, commitment appreciation, and empathy;WHEREAS, students have a legacy of standing against oppression and injustice at UC Irvine and across the U.S.;WHEREAS, the role of student activists in exposing South Africa’s apartheid system and  supporting equality, freedom, and dignity sets an example for us to follow as students of global conscience;WHEREAS, as the example of South Africa shows, it is imperative for students to stand unequivocally against all forms of racism and bigotry globally and on campus, including but not limited to Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, homophobia, patriarchy, and Israel’s system of apartheid;WHEREAS, the occupied Palestinian Territory is controlled militarily by the Israeli government;WHEREAS, certain companies have promoted and been complicit in these ongoing human rights violations systematically committed by the Israeli government, which have been documented by human rights organizations including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Al-Haq, Defense for Children International, Addameer, B’tselem, Adalah, Badil, and the Israeli Coalition Against Home Demolitions;WHEREAS, according to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), “the construction by Israel of a wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and its associated régime are contrary to international law”;WHEREAS, according to the same ICJ decision, the establishment and expansion of settlements in the West Bank and Eastern Jerusalem is also illegal by international law;

Lori Lowenthal Marcus

Ezer Mizion Golf Outing for Jewish Bone Marrow Registry

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Caesarea Golf Club will host the 3rd Annual Ezer Mizion Golf Classic tournament on Wednesday, November 21. The popular event, which is due to attract serious golfers and philanthropists from the United States, Canada and Israel, will raise funds for Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Donor Registry, the global Jewish bone marrow donor registry.

Ezer Mizion, a non-profit organization that provides a wide variety of professional services and programs to the ill, handicapped and elderly in Israel, is best known for their numerous activities on behalf of cancer patients around the world. The organization’s Bone Marrow Donor Registry, the fourth largest international registry, has facilitated hundreds of life-saving stem cell transplants.

“For many individuals suffering from cancer or other life-threatening diseases, a stem cell transplant offers the only chance for survival. As such, it is essential that we promote international awareness of our registry and raise the funds necessary to keep this lifeline strong,” said Rabbi Chananya Chollak, Founder and International Chairman of Ezer Mizion.

“We established this annual Thanksgiving weekend tradition at the Caesarea Golf Club to give North American supporters of Ezer Mizion an opportunity to escape the winter weather and join their Anglo-Israeli counterparts on the golf course to express their solidarity and promote this serious cause in a relaxed atmosphere.”

Several special guests will participate in this year’s tournament, including Eliezer Shkedi, CEO of EL AL Israel Airlines, and Ran Saar, CEO of Maccabi Health Services.

“Ezer Mizion’s efforts to support those in need are legendary, and the number of individuals saved via their bone marrow registry is simply staggering. It is our greatest honor to be partnering with them in this effort to rally international support for this vital cause,” said Andy Santos, Caesarea Golf Club’s head golf pro and spokesman.

Since its establishment in 1998, Ezer Mizion’s Bone Marrow Donor Registry has grown to include close to 650,000 potential stem cell donors. The registry, which is affiliated with the National Bone Marrow Donor Program and is a member of Bone Marrow Donors Worldwide, has handled thousands of search requests from transplant centers in 48 countries and has made nearly 5,000 complete donor-patient matches.

Following the tournament, participants will enjoy a gala dinner and awards ceremony at the Dan Hotel Caesarea.

Jewish Press News Briefs

Chabad Emissaries Gathered in New York

Tuesday, November 13th, 2012

Some 4,000 Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries and communal leaders from more than 75 countries gathered in New York for their 29th international conference.

Many of the rabbis attending the conference over the weekend brought relief supplies and funds from their communities around the world to help victims of Hurricane Sandy, and volunteered their time for relief efforts.

Highlights of the conference included a visit to the gravesite of the last Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson; a group picture in front of the Chabad-Lubavitch worldwide headquarters in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn; and the annual banquet featuring an international roll call.

Conference workshops included topics such as helping people through the global economic crisis; expanding the horizons of college campus outreach; and multi-sensory approaches to Jewish education.

JTA

Our Best To The President

Wednesday, November 7th, 2012

We salute President Obama on his solid reelection victory. Though we were highly critical of his performance these past four years in a variety of areas, we hope he succeeds in his second term, as his success is America’s success.

The challenges of the next four years will be the same had Mr. Romney prevailed. We have an economy headed toward disaster with out of control spending, spiraling deficits, limited growth and high unemployment. Iran’s threat to peace and international security continues, as do the provocations of terrorist groups in Gaza, Lebanon and other parts of the world.

We hope the president will focus on these fundamental bread and butter problems and eschew any grand, Pollyannaish visions of changing the world. Only a strong and resilient America with its own house in order can reach out to help others.

Editorial Board

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/our-best-to-the-president/2012/11/07/

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