Charles Krauthammer recently wrote a piece titled “The Four Foreign Policies.” It “analyzes” the proposed foreign policy of the four major candidates remaining in the race for President…Clinton, Sanders, Trump and Cruz. Actually, Mr K (as I will call him) does no analysis. What he writes is a screed, distorting the views of the two Democratic candidates, and blandly condoning the absurdities of his choice. Let’s look at his words and compare them to reality.
The assault on Sanders is exactly what I have come to expect from Mr. K. He starts by labeling Sanders as a pacifist: “His pacifism is part swords-into-plowshares utopianism, part get-thee-gone isolationism.”
Just to set the record straight, Sanders is not a pacifist. He supported the war in Afghanistan, he supported President Clinton’s effort to deal with ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, and he supported air strikes in Syria. He has stated that we cannot be the world’s policeman, and that the oil-rich Muslim nations in the region can no longer sit on the sidelines and expect the United States to do their work for them in combating ISIS. He says that war should be a last resort. Mr. K doesn’t mention any of this.
The assault ends with this little piece of gratuitous garbage:
“Don’t be surprised if President Sanders hands Guantanamo Bay over to the Castros, although Alaska looks relatively safe for now.”
Does that sound unbiased to you? Didn’t think so.
He starts the attack on Clinton with this: “The Clinton/Obama foreign policy from Ukraine to Iran to the South China Sea has been a demonstrable failure.”
In the first place, she didn’t make foreign policy…she implemented it. He blames Clinton for the disaster in Libya. The attempt to participate there only on a humanitarian basis was correct. Putin’s support of Assad made anything we tried to do militarily short of attacking Russia, ineffective. Assad is preferable to ISIS, just as Saddam was preferable to the chaos that followed Bush’s bungling in Iraq and the rise of ISIS there.
His final criticism of her would be praise in my book:
“Her worldview is traditional, post-Vietnam liberal internationalism — America as the indispensable nation, but consciously restraining its exercise of power through multilateralism and near-obsessive legalism.”
Except for his prejudicial “near-obsessive,” that sounds like a responsible foreign policy to me, trying to help other nations without bullying them, cooperating with allies, and abiding by international rule-of-law. Apparently Mr. K prefers an aggressive US that throws its weight around, violates international law and sends in the troops when it doesn’t get its way.
Then we get to Cruz who is clearly Mr. K’s favorite:
“The most aggressive of the three contenders thus far. Wants post-Cold War U.S. leadership restored. Is prepared to take risks and act alone when necessary. Pledges to tear up the Iran deal, cement the U.S.-Israel alliance and carpet bomb the Islamic State.
Overdoes it with “carpet” — it implies Dresden — although it was likely just an attempt at rhetorical emphasis. He’s of the school that will not delay action while waiting on feckless allies or farcical entities like the U.N.”
So it’s back to the Cold War, with unilateral foreign policy based on American Exceptionalism, and Mr. K likes that. He likes “taking risks and acting alone when necessary.” When would that be? Well, whenever we can’t get our way, of course. But the clincher is when he tries to tamp down the outrage over Cruz’s asinine statement about carpet bombing. Actually Cruz said he would bomb them “until the desert glows.” Mr. K doesn’t have any problem with this, blandly declaring that it’s all just for “rhetorical emphasis.” And finally, he likens Cruz to Ronald Reagan. Really? Reagan raised taxes and had an amnesty program for illegal immigrants. Cruz, Trump and all the other GOP candidates adamantly oppose both.
Predictably, Mr. K blasts Trump, which is easy to do since he knows nothing about foreign policy.
In short, it’s a typical piece of Mr K’s carefully crafted right wing propaganda, specifically aimed at helping his choice, Cruz.