AMERICA’S FOREIGN POLICY: Feeling Safe Yet?

Philip C. Johnson, Ph.D.

August 5, 2022

America’s foreign policy has always been a tricky thing, but the recent policy decisions of the current administration are downright unsettling. In addition to myriad domestic and social challenges like high gas prices, historic inflation, an open southern border, angst over abortion rights and aggressive transgender activism, our leaders felt we needed more challenges – mostly unnecessary challenges in far away places.

If you’ve read my articles about the Russia/Ukraine war back when that first started, you know that I am not a supporter of that conflict. I don’t view Ukraine as a democracy – they are the most corrupt nation in Europe without an independent media or free political opposition.  And they have never been a part of NATO; they do not qualify for such a membership. Russia had made it very clear that if Ukraine attempted to join NATO, Russia would invade. Knowing this didn’t stop our leaders from pushing the “Ukraine-NATO-Expansion” issue until Russia did invade Ukraine. Why the U.S. wanted a proxy war with Russia, I do not know. As a result of the conflict, Russia’s economy has become stronger. Ours has become weaker. Russia has gained Ukrainian territory, albeit more slowly that expected. Billions of U.S. dollars have gone into the pockets of corrupt Ukrainian officials and who knows what’s become of the billions of dollars of weapons the U.S. has given to Ukraine. There’s no accountability.  The primary result of the U.S.’s foreign policy in this area has been to the detriment of the U.S. and its allies – not to mention the thousands of Ukrainians who have lost their lives and homes because we insist on prolonging this conflict. 

Another byproduct of the war with Russia is that it has driven Russia closer into the arms of China – the true enemy of the United States. And because conflict with Russia isn’t enough for America, Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, third in line to the President, just made a visit to Taiwan to show our support. China is furious over this. While I do not think that American leaders should take their orders from China, I find it difficult to understand the timing of her visit. Pelosi knew full well that her visit was provocative. China views its mainland, Hong Kong and Taiwan as part of the One China. It is foundational to their political philosophy and any attempt from the U.S. to prop up Taiwan as an independent nation is going to engender a response from China. And it certainly did. With an unprecedented show of force, China is currently using live-fire military drills around Taiwan. China has launched a number of precision ballistic missiles into the waters around Taiwan. China has always fully intended to “reunify” Taiwan with China, but this may happen sooner than anyone has expected. Russia has also just reaffirmed that they are decidedly with China on the Taiwan issue. 

The Ground Force under the Eastern Theatre Command of China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) conducts a long-range live-fire drill into the Taiwan Strait, from an undisclosed location in this handout released on August 4, 2022. Eastern Theatre Command/Handout via REUTERS

Almost a year ago, Joe Biden led a shockingly inept withdrawal from Afghanistan. After 20 years and 2 trillion dollars of military operations inside that country, we basically left having accomplished nothing. The Taliban was easily able to retake the country along with billions of dollars of high quality military equipment that we left behind. 

This past weekend, the U.S. showed that they weren’t quite as finished with Afghanistan as many may have thought.  Ayman al-Zawahiri, the most wanted terrorist on the FBI’s list, the mastermind behind the logistics of 9/11, was assassinated by a U.S. Hellfire missile while standing on his balcony in Kabul.  Now, the Taliban had “promised” that they wouldn’t harbor any terrorists, which is an insane statement as the Taliban themselves are indeed terrorists. However, it appears Zawahirir had been living comfortably in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan for a while. The Taliban still asserts that they “had no idea Zawahirir was there.”

Al-Zawahirir and bin Laden together

Was this assassination particularly helpful to the U.S.? I suppose it sends a message that America will get you, wherever you are…eventually, even 21 years after the fact.  The message is: We never give up. Reminds me of the movie, “Munich” the true story about the 1972 Munich Olympic Games where 11 Israeli athletes were murdered by Palestinian terrorists. Israel’s Mossad created an operation known as “Wrath of God” that spent years hunting down anyone remotely connected to that attack. Come to think of it, I really liked that movie. But I digress…

The reality for the U.S. right now is that we might have kicked a hornet’s nest with this most recent assassination. The State Department is warning that there is a “higher potential for anti-American violence” following the U.S. killing of al-Qaeda leader Zawahiri in Kabul. This “higher potential” than normal is probably related of the fact the much of the world views current President Joe Biden as weak and senile. America, with our internal divisions, weakening economy and ineffective leaders, is beginning to resemble the baby wildebeest separated from the herd.

Now here’s the thing. Do I think that Russia should have invaded Ukraine? No. Do I think the U.S. should be involved in this neighborhood fight? Also no. Do I think that Taiwan should remain an independent democracy? Yes. Do I think the timing of Pelosi’s trip was wise? No. Do I think that the U.S. should have assassinated the primary architect of 9/11? Double yes. But if this is the foreign policy we’re going to pursue, maybe it would be a good idea not to pick so many fights at the same time. 

It’s hard to stay vigilant against possible rogue terror attacks if we can’t even secure our southern border. It’s difficult to fight a war with China over Taiwan if our economy is falling apart and we’re depleting our cache of weapons by sending them all to Ukraine. It is also inconvenient that our own military is having trouble recruiting quality soldiers. The New York Times puts it like this: “With Few Able and Fewer Willing, U.S. Military Can’t Find Recruits.” Just to remind my readers, the U.S. is a decidedly consumer country who buys everything and produces almost nothing. We’re not in a position to go to war with China, the country that has all the people and that makes all the stuff. 

Now might be a good time to consider going back to energy independence, to stop letting China buy up our farmland, to stop meddling in places that aren’t important to our national interests, and to start manufacturing the stuff we need as a country to survive before it’s too late. If it’s not already too late. 

Feeling safe yet? Yeah, me either. 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s