2014 Symposium: Do we need to re-think our overall foreign policy?

Asheville: The biggest foreign policy change of the last 30 years has been a shift toward drone-based force projection and away from troop deployment. On one hand, this has been a very beneficial step. Drone forces cost much less and put fewer lives at risk. On the other, though, this policy has been an unmitigated disaster. According to the UK-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism, 2,500 civilians have been killed by drone strikes. While some of these deaths could rightly be called “collateral damage,” the worst cases are actions called “signature strikes.” The CIA identifies a target of Middle Eastern decent, male, between the ages of 22-35, walking alone in the mountains of Northern Afghanistan. This fits the profile of a suspected terrorist, so a drone strike is authorized based on the “signature” of the target.

Beyond the direct effect of civilian casualties, our drone program is a driving force in terrorist recruitment. Young men see their uncles, fathers, and brothers killed by American drones. They see their own homes destroyed, and their livelihoods ruined. They are angry, and justifiably so. They have little choice but to turn to groups like ISIS and Al Queda for support and protection.

We need to replace our policy of “drone decapitation” with one that builds economic capacity. The development of economic infrastructure and modern telecommunication capacity will do more to fight the spread of radical ideology than all the Hellfire missiles in the world. Exposing the residents of the developing world to the wonders of modernity provides a chance to break the tide of anti-American extremism. If we continue to kill terrorists, there will always be more of them. If we address the causes of terrorism, we can end its threat once and for all.

Prescott Valley: America’s overall foreign policy has been degraded, weakened and marginalized in the last six plus years and is in serious need of an overhaul. Foreign policy does need to be rethought and reworked in a positive and strong fashion.

In order for America to establish a viable foreign policy, that policy must contain clear principles, goals and objectives that are centered around the vision of what America’s place is in the world and what represents her interests within and outside of the country. Before anything else, America’s economic relevancy and standard of living, even in spite of current downturns, must be part of a fundamental policy that advances that economic interest. The world must continually be made aware of the ideals, positive advantages and real-life solutions that a free market society offers to its citizens and to the rest of the world.

Foreign policy changes that need to be rethought should include closing any loopholes that allow a candidate for the presidency or vice presidency access to the nomination process. Candidates for high office must be required to pass an in depth background check performed by nonpartisan administrators. Findings that reveal connections to or complicity with foreign alliances and their policies should be immediate grounds for rejection. Security breaches at the highest level can never be tolerated or allowed to endanger or compromise a foreign policy.

Other foreign policy elements that must be considered include the redefining of the military’s mission and purpose. Its role should be to protect the United States, its citizens, national interests and proven allies.

A structured foreign policy cannot allow for investment in democracy schemes, building and maintaining nations or perpetual peacekeeping duties, particularly in nations where we have no grounded interests at stake or where we are viewed as interlopers. The expense of such ventures only serves to endanger the military and deplete the nation’s pocketbook, with no return on the investment.

The key element of a renewed foreign policy must be the defense and advancement of American interests. Decisions and policies made in regard to treaties, foreign aid, troop deployments, on-going foreign alliances, the diplomatic corps, weapons programs, rogue and hostile nations, terrorist interventions, overseas defense commitments, multilateral memberships (such as the UN and NATO), along with other serious policy issues, must all be dealt with and their direct value assessed around what best serves America.

If the interests of America are not being met and the safety of the nation and its populace are in jeopardy, foreign policy changes must become the major concern of those initiating and dictating policies. Whether the White House or the State Department makes those critical decisions, the policy must be based on what will preserve the country, its people and its interests around the world.

Cartwright: What foreign policy? Is our president still going around the world apologizing or is he just going around the world on social calls? Has any of this administration’s foreign policy, if you can call it that, been successful? No. Russia is still in Ukraine. North Korea engaged in cyber warfare and we’ve done nothing about it. We’re normalizing relations with Cuba which has one of the worst human rights violation records in the world. The terrorists are still beheading hostages. Syria’s dictatorship is still battling rebels and terrorists. If we have a foreign policy, it’s a disgrace.

So, yes, I think we need to formulate a foreign policy. It needs to be one of strength. We shouldn’t have and shouldn’t be apologizing to anyone. We’ve done nothing wrong. Let’s mind our own business and worry about our people before we start worrying about the people in other countries. I’m painfully aware of the plight of people in many countries throughout the world, but it’s not our responsibility to take care of them. There are terribly brutal and ruthless dictators throughout the world, but if they’re not bothering us and if they’re not supporting or harboring terrorists, what business is it of ours? So, here’s my foreign policy.

1. Rout out and kill the terrorists, wherever they are. If you’re harboring the terrorists in your country or backing them, we’ll rout you out in the process.
2. Stop giving money to all these foreign countries. The federal government is giving the tax dollars generated by hard-working people in America to countries who hate us and do nothing for us. Let’s cut them off from funding; it’s a total waste.
3. Stay out of other countries’ business unless it has a direct impact on our interests or those of our allies. Just because Vladimir Putin is a ruthless dictator who invaded Ukraine doesn’t mean we need to get involved. Ukraine is nothing to us. Just because Bashar al-Assad in Syria is a ruthless dictator who has murdered thousands of his own people doesn’t mean we should get involved and back the “rebels.” For all we know these “rebels” or as the liberal media likes to say “freedom fighters” are actually the terrorists. In fact, I think we did prove that they are terrorists.
4. If another country attacks us or one of our close allies (like Great Britain or Japan for instance), we wipe them out.
5. If another country is seeking nuclear weapons, blow up their facilities. If they’re still pursuing nuclear weapons, wipe them out with a nuclear weapon and show them and remind the world why rogue regimes don’t need to pursue nuclear weapons or a nuclear program.
6. Use sanctions only for economic issues. Sanctions don’t stop nuclear weapons programs. Sanctions don’t stop terrorists.

Pretty simple, isn’t it?

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