30 January 2010

Iraq - A foreign policy perspective (By Unity on Liberal Conspiracy)


The problem here, as with almost everything else that’s been written on the subject in the last six years, is that the majority of people expressing opinions on this issue don’t really understand how foreign policy actually ‘works’ and how it different it is from domestic politics. What they do, for perfectly understandable reasons, is try their best to make sense what they see in Iraq, and in Afghanistan, Israel/Palestine, Zimbabwe and anywhere else you’d care to mention, by applying their understanding of domestic politics and policy-making to the situation.

This, as you might imagine, often results in them misreading or misinterpreting what actually going on and, more importantly, why?

Take the Vietnam War, for example.

If you ask most people for their view of the Vietnam War, they’d agree with the proposition that it was America’s most significant foreign policy setback of the post-World War II era…

…and they’d be wrong!

Domestically, the Vietnam War a disaster for the US. It spawned civil unrest. It put a severe dent in the American people’s self image for a generation and left behind a legacy of social, medical, economic and political problems, especially in regards to the status of war veterans, some of which still haven’t quite been satisfactorily resolved.

And, of course, America ultimate lost the war and were forced out of Vietnam by what should have been, on paper, a massively inferior military force.

As bad as all that sounds, the Vietnam War was, in terms of US foreign policy, a qualified success – No, really, it was.

Yes, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos did all fall to Communist forces but none of these countries were ever of any great strategic value or importance to the US, anyway...


George said:

Vietnam was a marked success. Iraq, within the above parameters, is also a strategic success. Israeli influence upon US foreign-policy has been crucial and clear, religious and political principles, as well as the geographical importance, all contribute to anti-Arab, anti-UN, “we can be the next empire” type attitudes and actions.

In future years, when we have grown-up a bit, maybe citizens will start to laugh at a time when people killed each other for a philosophy. For economies, for foreign-policy, for strategic advantage, for a pre-occupation with political ideologies. Idealistic, individualistic, utopian (all words never allowed in warring political discourse).

I give liberalism a bad name.

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