“America needs a new foreign policy rooted in today’s reality, not in yesterday’s cold war or in tomorrow’s dream of global democracy”.
These are the words of controversial journalist Pat Buchanan. This political commentator, who stood twice for a US presidential nomination, has consistently called for an end to US military intervention where no vital interest was imperilled.
In the Financial Times he described presidential campaigns in which his team advocated a foreign policy of peaceful commerce with all nations but entangling alliances with none.
The US cannot afford any more neo-imperial nonsense
This phrase has been widely quoted and often accompanied by Buchanan’s explanation:
“We cannot afford any more neo-imperial nonsense. With trillion-dollar deficits, a soaring national debt, and 10,000 baby boomers reaching eligibility for Social Security and Medicare every day, the US is beginning to break under the strain of its commitments . . .
“A biblical hubris took hold of our republic. By pushing Nato into Russia’s front yard, planting bases in central Asia, dispatching democracy crusaders to subvert regimes in Ukraine, Belarus and Georgia, we undid the good work of Reagan and drove Moscow back into alliance with Beijing.
“US influence in the Middle East is at a nadir. Our alliances with Turkey and Saudi Arabia are frayed. Pakistan bristles. Israel impatiently dismisses our pathetic pleas for it to stop building settlements. And as the Muslim Brotherhood rose when Hosni Mubarak fell in Cairo, so it looks likely to rise again when Bashar al-Assad falls in Damascus.
He asks what US soldiers are still doing in the Korean demilitarised zone and advocates:
- ending the war in Afghanistan,
- closing US bases in central Asia,
- telling Ukraine and Georgia that Nato membership is closed,
- telling Putin that if he stays out of our yard, we will stay out of his,
- a foreign policy of peaceful commerce with all nations.
With regard to conflict in China, India, Japan and Russia, he advises: “Let the neighbours do the containment.”
Paul Craig Roberts is an American economist who was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He now writes for the successful independent Creators Syndicate, making a similar analysis here – with the grim cartoon above.
However he offers no positive recommendations there so we end with Buchanan:
Let us cease our interventions and call a halt to our endless hectoring. How other nations rule themselves is not really the US’s business. If there is nation-building to be done, let it begin here.