Tag Archives: Foreign Policy

Jewish Democratic Congressman Blasts Palin

Congressman Robert Wexler of Florida, lashed out at John McCain’s choice for the vice presidential office by accusing her of supporting efforts of those opposing the state of Israel and urging the election of Pat Buchanan in 2000. Wexler insisted “John McCain’s decision to select a vice presidential running mate that endorsed Pat Buchanan for president is a direct affront to all Jewish Americans.” He pointed out Buchanan has been a notable enemy of Israel and has decried efforts to bring former Nazi soldiers to justice while making some of his normal inane remarks about Hitler did a few good things. Wexler was particularly upset at her support for Buchanan who has been a leading voice among anti-Israel critics.

Jewish Republicans in Alaska, all nine of them, insist Palin has worked well with Alaska’s Jewish community. Joking aside, evaluating Palin on the issue of Israel is simply one of many foreign policy areas in which it is clear she lacks much knowledge. Of course, the other night on CNN a Republican commentator insisted she had extensive foreign policy experience because, as he put it, “Russia is way up there, right next to Alaska.” And, she is the general in charge of the Alaska National Guard.

Obama Spells Out Foreign Policy Or Does He?

As he prepared to undertake an extensive visit to the Middle East, Barack Obama laid out the general contours of his foreign policy. He set out five foreign policy goals for his presidency: ending the war in Iraq, finishing off al-Qaeda and the Taliban, ending US oil dependency, dealing with nuclear weapon issues, and rebuilding alliances. He also urged a new Marshall Plan with most of it going to Africa in order to stimulate economies. He made clear there was need to switch the emphasis from Iraq and provide more military aid to Afghanistan.

Obama was correct in denouncing the Bush administration’s “simple-minded and open-ended focus on Iraq” which was responsible for the Taliban to regain the initiative in Afghanistan. However, Senator Obama runs the risk of focusing on military issues as key to dealing with the crisis in Afghanistan. Any resolution of the conflict in Afghanistan must have political, economic and diplomatic components if there is to be success against the Taliban. Barack Obama has yet to spell out a coherent foreign policy for Afghanistan.

Senator Obama made reference to the successful post World War II Marshall Plan which was instrumental in rebuilding western Europe and destroying communism in that region of the world. However, Senator Obama appears unaware of how the Marshall Plan functioned. It required nations that had been enemies to come together and develop joint economic and political arrangements prior to receiving money. Sending billions of dollars to Africa without a similar approach is sending money down the rat hole of corruption.

Turkish Meeting Charges Bush Ignores Their Nation

At a recent roundtable discussion held at Instabul’s Bilgi University, a group of Turkish academics and the former US Ambassador to Turkey s well as American government experts examined Bush’s policies toward Turkey. The participants described Bush’s policies toward Turkey as “I want what I want when I want” was very counterproductive to establishing trusting bilateral relations between the two nations. The group felt Bush had an attitude that could best be described as “Turkey will always be there since Turkey has always been there.” Participants felt the Bush approach was a sharp divergence from Clinton’s policy of making Turkey a key player in strategic issues within the Middle East, and that channels of communication were always open to Clinton and Gore. A consensus was that Turkey must accept the reality that a Kurdish entity was now on its border because Bush will not back away from clamping down on Kurdish rebels. The group explored long term policy changes that might emerge if Turkey is denied entry into the European Union such as turning toward forging close relations with either Russia or Iran or the emergence of a new tripartite alliance of this group.

One of the major failures of Bush foreign policy is being immediate centered and not considering long term projections. The invasion of Iraq was an emotional reaction to some immediate conclusions without any consideration as to its impact on the Middle East. Hopefully, a new Democratic Party led government in 2009 will begin to make long term foreign policy decisions such as the famous Marshall Plan and Truman Doctrine which set in motion US foreign policy for half a century.