Random Thoughts

A Prescription for Foreign Policy

United States was a weak power at its inception compared to the rich and militarily powerful European states of the eighteenth century. The wisdom of its early presidents, Washington, Adams and Jefferson helped it navigate the shoals of Scylla and Charybdis to survive and flourish, to become the dominant power on earth. John Adams, who faced the critical situation, despite his many follies, steered a course of neutrality between the dominant powers, Britain and France, despite being beholden to France without whose help it could not have achieved its independence from Britain. In fact, he wanted that to be his epitaph in spite of this decision which lost him the election to Jefferson. Washington, who was even more prescient knew that its landmass, population and time would help the US achieve a primacy amongst all the nations of the earth. Tocqueville, an astute observer of the contemporary scene and the future, predicted that the US and Russia would be the preeminent powers of the world because of their landmass, natural resources and population density, a hundred years before it happened.

Washington's farewell address after his second term gives sound advice for all times to all nations.

'The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest. Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy. The government sometimes participates in the national propensity, and adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations, has been the victim.

So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation.

As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public councils. Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter.

Against the insidious wiles of foreign influence (I conjure you to believe me, fellow-citizens) the jealousy of a free people ought to be constantly awake, since history and experience prove that foreign influence is one of the most baneful foes of republican government. But that jealousy to be useful must be impartial; else it becomes the instrument of the very influence to be avoided, instead of a defense against it. Excessive partiality for one foreign nation and excessive dislike of another cause those whom they actuate to see danger only on one side, and serve to veil and even second the arts of influence on the other. Real patriots who may resist the intrigues of the favorite are liable to become suspected and odious, while its tools and dupes usurp the applause and confidence of the people, to surrender their interests.'

Present US foreign policy is based on a pathological attachment to Israel and an equally pathological hatred of the Islamic nations. The latter's religious fanaticism has much to be condemned. Another aspect of US foreign policy is equally falsely based on unthinking antipathy to Russia, the other dominant power of the past, marginalized in the nineteen nineties, but resurgent recently. There is a foolish malevolence in trying to surround and contain it by appealing to its near abroad nations, victims of its oppression in the recent past. In trying to build this house of cards, the US crosses limits harmful to itself, expensive to support and ephemeral in the long run, like its policy towards Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kyrghyzstan and Turkmenistan.

These former Soviet Republics are ruled by corrupt autocrats, who are not bastions of democracy. By supporting them because they are antagonistic to Russia, the US builds on sand. They will eventually be overthrown as are all tyrants with time and the US will earn a prolonged enmity from those states in the future as it has in Latin America, Carribean, Indonesia, Philippines and Southeast Asia, Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia. The words of John Quincy Adams about America are important to remember and follow.

'She goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy.
She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all.
She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.
She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example.

She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom.

The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force.... She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit....'.

US policies towards Ukraine and Georgia, which the EU nations rejected with reference to giving them NATO membership. The EU's decisions were based partly on caution and partly on selfish reluctance to avoid further antagonizing Russia on whom Western Europe is dependent for energy supplies. Idiot Bush and crazy Cheney have followed stupid policies including the Iraq War that will eventually bankrupt America. They, the neo-cons and selfish power hungry Bush Sr., Clinton and demented Reagan have ruined America and made it an economic beggar and a military bully, hated by much of the world.

There is much that is bad about the present Russian and Chinese leaders and even idiot Bush and the Congress ruining America, but at least they are not traitors to their own nation, however misguided or crazy they are. The same cannot be said about the Indian puppet Manmohan Singh, leadership of the UPA and those whom it bought to betray India. The current Indian government's embrace of America and the emasculating nuclear deal by jettisoning its independence in foreign policy and nuclear deterrence, to enrich its donor business class, without achieving energy independence, is selling the nation into slavery. What can one expect from Indian politicians without intelligence, integrity, decency or love of the nation, who have become sycophantic puppets of uneducated but shrewd Sonia, only to enrich themselves like Judas, and for the lust for power? About the only good thing that one can say about the Indian power elite is that they are rats who climb aboard a sinking ship rather than abandoning it, but still for the wrong reasons.

For a final thought about America's criticism of Russia's response to Georgia, I will give a pedantic paraphrase of an old adage, "Those who are constrained by choice or circumstances (invading Iraq) to be domiciled in vitreous structures of patent frangibility (live in glass houses- after promoting Kosovo's independence from Serbia) should not use petrous formations as projectiles (throw stones at others like Russia promoting independence and secession for South Ossetia and Abkhazia).


More by :  Gaurang Bhatt, MD

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