Your foreign policy positions

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  • Tejretics
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    Describe your general ideology when it comes to foreign policy; particularly looking for answers from the perspective of the United States.

    In specific, I'm looking for issues related to defense, military intervention, and how aggressive US foreign policy should be. In other words, outline your ideology on these issues. 

    On an even more specific level, I have a couple of questions: (1) What should US foreign policy toward Israel be? What is your general opinion of the Israel-Palestine conflict? (2) What should US foreign policy toward Saudi Arabia be? Specifically, should it continue military cooperation/arms sales with Saudi Arabia? Should it support the ongoing intervention in Yemen? (3) What should US foreign policy toward Myanmar be? (4) Should the US engage in drone strikes? Do you agree with the status quo in terms of drone strikes and with Obama's policies in that regard? (5) What is your opinion of Noam Chomsky's foreign policy positions? (6) What is your opinion of the foreign policy positions of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders? (7) What is your opinion of the foreign policy positions of Robert Gates?

  • Tejretics
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    --> @bsh1 @spacetime @whiteflame
    Would be interested in hearing your answers, in particular. 
  • ResurgetExFavilla
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    --> @Tejretics
    I'm an offensive realist, and see China as the biggest potential rival to US hegemony. Meirsheimer is the living geopolitical theorist with whom I most identity, though I greatly admired Kennan as well.

    What should US foreign policy toward Israel be?
    As a normal state with which we sometimes cooperate. I think that AIPAC should be completely dismantled. Whatever crackpot lunacy people are accusing Russia of doing, AIPAC has done ten times worse, in broad daylight.

    What is your general opinion of the Israel-Palestine conflict?
    While I don't think that Israel needs to be dissolved I do think that they need strict limits placed on their expansion and that we shouldn't reflexively support them in anything.

    What should US foreign policy toward Saudi Arabia be?
    Saudi Arabia is unique because Wahhabism does not adhere to the typical Muslim concept of ummah, instead seeing most other Islamic sects as heretical. They also see their Prince as the ultimate power under God, or, as Ibn Taymiyyah put it, 'as God's shadow on His earth'. Earlier on in our history we saw this as beneficial because their regime was realist. This allowed Western powers to permanently break up the Middle East by ousting the Hussein family from the Hejaz. Since then the Middle East has fragmented, and the Saudi has poured their influence into any vacuum which opens up, further spreading chaos and destruction. Personally, I find them and their ideology revolting. But because of the geopolitical reality of this world (all of the great powers want the Middle East to remain a marginally functional geopolitical chessboard) they aren't going anywhere. In that case, we need to have a working alliance with them, but it ought to come with severe restrictions on things like promoting their religious sects and causing instability abroad. Worrying about whether they let women drive and whatnot is stupid, it's a different culture, let them sort it out themselves.

    Specifically, should it continue military cooperation/arms sales with Saudi Arabia?
    We should use those as bargaining chips to accomplish our aims elsewhere.

    Should it support the ongoing intervention in Yemen?
    There's no need to officially support it, so no.

    What should US foreign policy toward Myanmar be?
    Complete support for Aung San Suu Kyi.

    Should the US engage in drone strikes?
    Yes, drones are useful tools.

    Do you agree with the status quo in terms of drone strikes and with Obama's policies in that regard?
    No, I think that they should be restricted to specific scenarios, and I disagree with Obama's ineffectual military policies in general.

    What is your opinion of Noam Chomsky's foreign policy positions?
    Sometimes devastatingly insightful, often a bit whimsical and naive. Chomsky is great at pointing out hypocrisy, especially the stupendous farce that the US is some beacon of peace, freedom, and good will. We have a long habit of starting deadly insurrections in third world countries because a raison company executive whispered in some Washingtonite's ear.

    What is your opinion of the foreign policy positions of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders?
    I adore Trump's foreign policy, it's one of my three big reasons for supporting him, along with trade and immigration. Hillary Clinton is an incompetent political wife who was more interested in accumulating power and prestige than in executing effectual policy, and who only ever regurgitated the stagnant, lukewarm bile piped down her throat by foreign policy think tanks which have been wrong about everything for well over a decade. Sanders is a mixed bag. I agree with some of his idealism, but also find many aspects of it impractical. At least I can say that he's principled.

    What is your opinion of the foreign policy positions of Robert Gates?
    Incompetent, lacking in imagination, a perennial failure shuffled about from D. C. appointment to D. C. appointment because of his political connections. In other words, the quintessential late 20th, early 21st century 'statesman'.
  • Swagnarok
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    --> @Tejretics
    What should US foreign policy toward Israel be? What is your general opinion of the Israel-Palestine conflict? 
    The Jews are a small minority in a sea of Arabs, and also the indigenous people of Israel. They have done very well for themselves, in sharp contrast to their Arab neighbors. They deserve the prosperity that they have, and we should not let the Arabs drag them down (though it should be noted that many Arabs living in Israel have benefited from the modern society that the Jews built).
    We should all be clear that responsibility for the Israeli-Arab conflict falls squarely on Israel's neighbors (with the possible exception of Jordan), which have refused to take in resettle of the Palestinian refugees from 1948. The "right to return" is bulls**t because in practice that'd mean a Jewish loss of demographic majority, probably some form of sharia law, and possibly even a mass slaughter of Jews. The Palestinians must either be relocated to more spacey Arab countries or learn to live in the tiny Palestinian Territories (which means population control).
    Israel is under no obligation whatsoever to lift sanctions on the Palestinian Territories until Hamas is ousted from power, because what happened 2006 was such an incredible show of bad faith on the Palestinians' part and they deserve all that's happened to them these past 12 years simply for making their beds with terrorists.

    What should US foreign policy toward Saudi Arabia be? Specifically, should it continue military cooperation/arms sales with Saudi Arabia? Should it support the ongoing intervention in Yemen?
    Saudi Arabia is located largely on flat, desert (that is, easily invade-able) terrain. Just like Iraq. Its only valuable resource seems to be oil. Their economy will probably crash whenever they run out of that resource, or whenever technology causes oil to dramatically and permanently devalue. Its people seem to live off welfare and not be highly trained in any skill, so I think it's probably safe to say that they're f**ked without oil.
    In short, they're not really a threat physically speaking. They have a very well-funded military, but they could not sustain that without their current oil binges, and in any case the King of Saudi Arabia seems to be on our side for now. He's more scared of Iran (which, funny coincidence, so are we), so there's room in the present environment for an alliance, if only to keep Saudi Arabia from cozying up with China and Russia.
    We have good reason to be wary of Saudi Arabia's wahabbist interpretation of Islam, because if exported it could sink the Muslim world deeper into a special kind of barbarism that it's been slowly crawling its way out of these past 100 years. And because, quite frankly, Saudi Arabia is like a less militaristic version of North Korea in fact. But I'm reasonably confident that the King will either be ousted or forced to transition to a constitutional monarchy within the next 10-30 years, since it's a giant kleptocracy which I can't envision surviving when the easy money stops flowing, so whatever.
    Our main concern should be to keep them from getting nukes (by providing them with military assurances) and keep them from pivoting towards the side of our enemies.
    No comment on Yemen.
  • Greyparrot
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    Straight up isolationism.
  • Greyparrot
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    --> @Tejretics
    (1) What should US foreign policy toward Israel be?
    Stop supporting them. If the Middle East burns in a Jihad war, the world will be a better place.

    What is your general opinion of the Israel-Palestine conflict?
    Don't get involved.

    (2) What should US foreign policy toward Saudi Arabia be? Specifically, should it continue military cooperation/arms sales with Saudi Arabia? Should it support the ongoing intervention in Yemen?
    Buy oil, sell whatever they can buy. Don't get involved with Yemen.

    (3) What should US foreign policy toward Myanmar be?
    Don't get involved.

    (4) Should the US engage in drone strikes? Do you agree with the status quo in terms of drone strikes and with Obama's policies in that regard?
    Only for protecting the national border.

    (5) What is your opinion of Noam Chomsky's foreign policy positions?
    Windbag.

    (6) What is your opinion of the foreign policy positions of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders?
    Donald can be a better Isolationist.

    (7) What is your opinion of the foreign policy positions of Robert Gates?
    Windbag.
  • blamonkey
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    (1) What should US foreign policy toward Israel be? What is your general opinion of the Israel-Palestine conflict?

    I generally do not comment on such an emotionally charged geopolitical conflict. Generally, there should be support for Israel with recognition of same of the issues that Palestinian people are facing (i.e. lack of adequate water infrastructure.) This could be fixed with NGOs, however, there has been a hostile reaction from Israel when NGOs tried to operate in the West Bank and in Gaza (1). There needs to military support for Israel's iron dome and other missile defense systems. I do not think it is inherently controversial to support a 2-state solution, although I am under no assumption that it will actually happen. Hamas is obviously an organization that poses a danger to Israel. The best solution is to either a) eradicate them or b), bring them to the negotiation table. This is not to discount the people within Palestine who are perhaps the biggest losers out of the entire conflict as they have ineffective governance, no official nation, and will likely never get either good governance or a nation. 

    (2) What should US foreign policy toward Saudi Arabia be? Specifically, should it continue military cooperation/arms sales with Saudi Arabia? Should it support the ongoing intervention in Yemen?

    It is quite likely that US involvement has worsened the situation for countless people. That being said, sanctioning Saudi Arabia would likely force them to turn toward other countries such as China and Russia who would still supply them weapons to continue their operations within Yemen. That said, it is well known at this point that Chinese weapons are generally inferior to American ones. Reliability is a major issue in weapon purchases, and that is something that China is struggling with (2). So, will other countries completely fill the gap? Probably not, but that does not mean that we should limit our influence in Saudi Arabia. As former senior CIA official Bruce Riedel contends, “Saudi sources remain major funders of groups like the Afghan Taliban and Lashkar­e Taiba in Pakistan. Some accounts suggest Saudi money has gone to al­Qaida’s affiliate in Syria, the al­Nusra Front (3).”
    While detrimental, this is a far-cry from years ago when they lacked the financial infrastructure to collect taxes, and thus could not even begin to penalize people who support extremist groups. 

    The US also needs to grapple with the impacts of involvement in the Yemeni civil war. Saudi Arabia's involvement is purely for political purposes. They ignore significant issues such as when they relocated their military might toward the Houthi North and allowed AQAP to expand their influence (4). Our military prowess is not going to be utilized effectively in fighting this menace. The blockade of aid from coming into Yemen, (which has recently been lifted, at least for now,) allowed humanitarian issues to exacerbate.  

    (3) What should US foreign policy toward Myanmar be?

    PM Kyi likely has no way to offer recourse to people who suffer in the ongoing genocide. Her position is unique as it is technically a high-level position, and yet is subject to a constitution that allows the military to hold a minimum amount of parliament seats (25% in fact,) has no impact over many of the activities of the dual military government (including the General Administration Department,) and has little power to change the grossly unfair constitution (5). Her domestic base also supports the Rohingya genocide, putting her position in jeopardy. Kyi has allowed for some Rohingya to repatriate back into Myanmar from Bangladesh, and this would be a good idea if the military stopped destroying towns. That will likely not happen for a while though. 

    (4) Should the US engage in drone strikes? Do you agree with the status quo in terms of drone strikes and with Obama's policies in that regard?

    While it should be used with caution, drone strikes can be an effective measure to deal with foreign conflicts remotely. Civilian casualties often occur, and the lack of accountability does need to be rectified. However, they have proven useful in limiting ISIS land holdings (6). They have the potential to destroy oil rigs that fuel ISIS funds. They have also limited ISIS training and communication as they are forced to flee from open areas (7).


    I don't like to talk about politicians, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It also is likely to offend others and cause a flamewar. 


    Sources

  • spacetime
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    Describe your general ideology when it comes to foreign policy; particularly looking for answers from the perspective of the United States.
    I think it's obvious that the U.S. needs to remain the world's dominant superpower. But at the same time, I think the U.S. foreign policy establishment has made a lot of terrible decisions in its pursuit of that goal, and we need to seriously question some of its methods. For example, what purpose is served by acting as the world's "human rights" police? Is endless military engagement really the best way to counter the spread of radical Islam? What if normalizing relations with Russia is more important than expanding NATO? Why aren't we paying more attention to the rise of China?

    (1) What should US foreign policy toward Israel be? What is your general opinion of the Israel-Palestine conflict?
    Israel is basically a U.S. satellite state. In order to maintain a solid foothold within the Middle East, I think we should keep it that way. As for the conflict, it's very clear that Israelis and Palestinians hate each other too much to live under a single state. A two-state solution is the answer, but both sides have been refusing to compromise for decades. The only viable option is to pile economic sanctions onto the Palestinian Authority until it caves.

    (2) What should US foreign policy toward Saudi Arabia be? Specifically, should it continue military cooperation/arms sales with Saudi Arabia? Should it support the ongoing intervention in Yemen?
    We need to maintain our alliance with Saudi Arabia -- they provide us with a lot of vital counter-terrorism intelligence, and more importantly, any attempt at reforming Islam will require Saudi leadership. However, maintaining the alliance doesn't necessarily mean supporting their cold war with Iran. I actually think we should seek to normalize relations with Iran and pressure Saudi Arabia to do the same. I don't buy that Iran is intrinsically hostile towards us, and I don't buy it with Russia either. In both cases, the hostility is rooted mostly in our own past overreaches.

    (3) What should US foreign policy toward Myanmar be? 
    I'm generally opposed to "human rights" interventions. But we don't really have any higher foreign policy priorities at stake in Myanmar, and it's such a small country that minor economic sanctions would probably be enough to do the job. When such an opportunity presents itself, we should take it.

    (4) Should the US engage in drone strikes? Do you agree with the status quo in terms of drone strikes and with Obama's policies in that regard?
    Drone strikes are certainly preferable to boots on the ground, but I think it's time to acknowledge that military force has not been an effective approach to eradicating radical Islam. It may have even been counter-productive. We should shift our focus to Islamic reformation.

    (5) What is your opinion of Noam Chomsky's foreign policy positions? (6) What is your opinion of the foreign policy positions of Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and Bernie Sanders? (7) What is your opinion of the foreign policy positions of Robert Gates?
    Noam Chomsky is a crackpot. He seems to believe that the very idea of American hegemony is inherently evil.

    Donald Trump has a mixed record. I like where he's going on some areas (e.g. China, North Korea), not so much on others (e.g. Iran, Syria, Ukraine).

    Hillary Clinton is the embodiment of the U.S. foreign policy establishment. She would have made none of the necessary changes to our foreign policy.

    Bernie Sanders' foreign policy positions are probably the closest to mine out of all the people you named.

    I'm not familiar with Robert Gates or his views.
  • whiteflame
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    I'll get to this over the next couple of days - been swamped with work.
  • Tejretics
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    Thanks! <3
  • ResurgetExFavilla
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    (3) What should US foreign policy toward Myanmar be? 
    I'm generally opposed to "human rights" interventions. But we don't really have any higher foreign policy priorities at stake in Myanmar, and it's such a small country that minor economic sanctions would probably be enough to do the job. When such an opportunity presents itself, we should take it.
    Geopolitically, Myanmar will probably be pretty central to China's plans over the next few decades, as two of their Belt and Road projects pass through large parts of the country. The BCIM part is also considered especially crucial to their development plans. It would be beyond retarded to piss them off just because they punted a few muzzies back into Bangladesh.
  • spacetime
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    Fair enough. I didn't really consider the fact that Myanmar is in China's sphere of influence. 
  • whiteflame
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    I'll speak to what I know and leave the rest. I do know some about the various political views on foreign policy, though I'll just say that picking through them all is a bit of a mess, so I'll just leave those alone.

    On US defense/military intervention/foreign policy:
     
    These are big questions and I think a lot of nuance isrequired to answer each. Suffice it to say that we are probably too quick toact in many instances, and too slow to respond to changing conditions or clearneeds. We often intervene in countries where we understand far too little aboutthe local culture, people and attitudes, and that’s particularly damaging forwars that require prolonged occupations. We need to be prepared, in anyintervention, to move beyond solely military force, and I think we often failto think beyond the early stages. That holds true whether we’re occupying ornot, and one of the many failures we’ve had in so many of our interventions isdoing a poor job of getting international support for our endeavors. How weengage with NATO, the EU, the AU, the UN and so many other international bodiesis hugely consequential to us, though some get more attention and politicalgoodwill than others. As for defense, that’s a whole other can of worms, as weoften overspend on what we don’t need and underspend on things we require. Butthat could be a whole discussion in and of itself.
     
    On US/Israel/Palestine relations:
     
    This is a massive issue that isn’t going away anytime soon.I don’t know if we’ll see a peace accord struck between Israel and Palestine inour lifetimes, which is hugely depressing. However, if our aim is to see thatend, then we must shift the way we approach both. While I think the US must,for a number of reasons, continue supporting Israel militarily, I think we arealso in a position to dramatically alter the way we treat them. The US needs tobe willing to join with other countries in condemning some of the actionsIsrael takes, among them the propping up of settlements in the West Bank.Shifting the embassy to Jerusalem was a mistake that pushes the Palestiniansfurther away from having good faith talks about peace because it telegraphs,perhaps more clearly than ever before, that the US has a dog in this race andit’s Israel. Much as the Palestinian leadership under Hamas has committednumerous transgressions of its own (and it should be held accountable forthose), if the US aims to bring about any kind of peace in the region, we needto be more impartial and act like it.
     
    On US/Saudi Arabia/Yemen relations:
     
    I don’t think it’s controversial to say that the US needs tohold Saudi Arabia’s feet the fire when it comes to the recent assassination. Wemay benefit from the relationship financially, but even for a country whoseleadership almost certainly has supported terrorist activities in and outsideof the US, this should be a step too far. Well, to be frank, their human rightsabuses in Yemen should have been more than enough to warrant sanctions byitself, but a response to this is nonetheless necessary. Saudi Arabia isheavily dependent on the US being reliant on them for oil, and sanctions arelikely to hit them where it hurts. We shouldn’t and can’t expect them todramatically change, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t punish them forcommitting such heinous acts.
     
    On US drone policy:
     
    Drones are, in some respects, a double-edged sword. One ofthe most terrible costs of war, and certainly the cost that is most pressing tothe people of the country that is going to war, is the loss of life. Drones putfewer troops in harm’s way to accomplish similar goals, most often with lesscollateral damage. However, because of that, there are significantly fewercontrols put in place on the usage of drones, leading to a greater willingnessto use them and, thus, more conflict. I think that drones are an essential toolin the current US military. While the alternatives are less often used, theyare simply far too damaging to use in many instances to all countries involved.That being said, I think there should be more controls on the usage of drones.Just because they’re not manned doesn’t mean we shouldn’t treat them as theyare: weapons that rain down death on unsuspecting targets. However good themotive, a drone strike may well incite further conflict and require a muchlarger loss of life. We should take those implications seriously.