Frummaging Through Foreign Policy


Chris Dierkes

Chris Dierkes (aka CJ Smith). 29 years old, happily married, adroit purveyor and voracious student of all kinds of information, theories, methods of inquiry, and forms of practice. Studying to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Main interests: military theory, diplomacy, foreign affairs, medieval history, religion & politics (esp. Islam and Christianity), and political grand bargains of all shapes and sizes.

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5 Responses

  1. Avatar Rj says:

    Take a look at the comments on Frum’s site, Aside from some liberal snark, a good amount of the comment volume is composed of Republicans calling him irrelevant RINO who nobody pays any attention to and can’t possibly care about conservatism because he attacks conservatives. As obnoxious as they are, the flamers have a point: his ideas are going nowhere fast within the party and nobody is listening to him. He’s like the last telegraph operator.Report

    • Avatar Chris Dierkes says:

      On domestic policy yes–which again I think is a shame. But on foreign policy–to the degree the right is thinking about it at all at this point which isn’t much–it is still neocon dominant. So though it may have to flow from Frum to a more approved channel (Hugh Hewitt, John Podhoretz, whoever), then it still has influence.Report

  2. Avatar Katherine says:

    The U.S. is applying pressure to Israel, because Israel is susceptible to U.S. pressure, in hopes of gaining concessions from the Palestinians, who are not.

    [Response to Frum] Well, and because the Palestinians have nothing to concede, so they have nothing left to lose, so they’re going to keep fighting unless something happens to give them confidence that Israel is at all interested in peace. Every peace agreement since Camp David has included the provision that Israel needs to leave the Palestinian territories, and yet they’ve built up settlements in the area continually since 1967.

    If the Israelis were just worried about terrorism, they could have made peace while the Palestinians were still throwing rocks. They chose not to.

    And on Honduras–maybe countries shouldn’t simply be labeled as whether they are “non-strategic” or “strategic” since you know actual human beings live their lives there. Maybe Obama was just not a fan of a military junta takeover–given the US’ history of involvement with said realities in that part of the world. I think it’s dumb that whatever happens around the world is supposed to have a US response to it, but even so, I’m not clear that Obama did the right thing. Still, I hardly imagine it’s because of some “knee jerk partiality to the Latin American left-wing”. Yeah, that must be it. Riiiighhhht.

    I second your “riiiight”. The US doesn’t seem overly upset about the coup and seem inclined to let it stand until elections (if they occur as scheduled) in December. All the same, Obama’s condemnation of it was not only the ethical thing to do, it was the politically smart thing to do: the less the US looks like “The Empire” – which it would if Obama said, as Bush did in response to a coup against Chavez, “he had it coming” – the friendlier Latin American nations are inclined to be.

    But then, I’m bewildered at the right’s obsession with the Latin American left – they’ve never done anything to the US, heated criticism isn’t a weapon, they’re simply not a threat. The right’s view seems to be that criticism alone makes a nation an enemy of the US.Report

    • Avatar Kyle says:

      On Latin America, agreed.

      One of the few identifiably consistent trends in President Obama’s foreign policy is the desire/emphasis to plant the seeds of a new image of America abroad. He’s done that to the arab world, in part through his tougher stance on Israel, not to mention the “great apologia” or whatever conservatives called it in Cairo. He’s attempted to do so with Iran and unfortunately for him the Iranian election really stunted those efforts.

      In Latin America, anyone and everyone could predict that self-appointed mouthpiece for the Americas south of Mexico, Hugo Chavez, would blame America or American involvement for the coup, regardless of facts. A statement of support or even silence on the matter only reinforces Chavez’ optical framing.

      I don’t think that criticism of America instantly makes a country a target of the right, though admittedly they’re hyper-sensitive to it, but instead the collectivist and particularly anti-corporate policies of the Latin American left. Which also accounts somewhat for their push for a free trade agreement with Colombia, it’s pro-business and pro-Uribe.
      Honestly though I don’t think South America is flashy enough for the right, except when they can use it to say “look, we’re awesome,” or more commonly “look, at how terrible the Democrats are screwing up, today.” Then there’s the rare but always enjoyable, “if Democrats have their way, we’ll end up just like a banana republic.”

      Obsessed, probably not. Contemptuous, probably so.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Well obviously the Israelis have their own internal factions. But anything they build they can destroy or just hand the keys over to the Palestinians. They did pack up their settlers and drag them kicking and screaming out of Gaza and were gearing up to do the same in the West Bank so right there is an example of the buildings themselves being no impediment. The rainstorm of rockets combined with Sharon’s horribly timed stroke pretty much squashed that for now but nothing says they can’t gear up to do it again. They’re going to want something in return (and yes, I know it’s in their own damn interest to get out, I am 100% anti settlement) for all the trouble it’ll be; I gather what they’d really like is an admission/concession that the refugees and their descendents won’t be moving into Israel proper. Meanwhile their wingnut faction is furiously pushing for expanded settlements.Report