As a Navy veteran and civilian who works in the intelligence community, I am very passionate about foreign policy. We need to project leadership to the world and stand up to Russian and Chinese aggression. Our leaders need to stop creating red lines which they are not ready to enforce. Our troops should only be sent into battle as a last resort, but when they are sent in, they should have the complete backing of the government. We should not intervene with boots on the ground unless we are willing to finish the job. That means we should oust whatever government was in power, make sure the civilians are safe, and get out. We cannot be nation building for decades at a time.
My biggest pet peeve in foreign policy is when those in power are hypocritical and make the US look weak. We should never create a “red line in the sand”, as President Obama did with Syria, and then not be willing to back it up. We should be willing to enforce our interests, just as President Trump did in how he handled Qasem Soleimani. We can be powerful leaders in the world without having boots on the ground in every conflict.
We as a country need to decide what we are willing to fight for. It’s very likely that Russia will invade Ukraine in the next few months. Do we stand by a country that we’ve previously vowed to defend or appease Russia? How many civilians have to die before we do anything? How many more countries does Russia have to invade before we do something militarily? Economic sanctions clearly won’t deter Russia or China. We can only pledge to protect our allies (the Afghan government, Ukraine, etc.) and then abandon them so many times before our international allies lose faith in us. Even more critically, the weaker we look on the world stage, the more emboldened Russia and China become. They respect strength, and when our leaders engage in feckless foreign policy, they are putting our interests and our allies at risk. (To see updated stance on Russia and Ukraine please see Blog tab).
Foreign policy is very complex and every decision has repercussions. For example, the incumbent just voted to send 40 billion dollars overseas in response to a war that should have been prevented. As a general rule I think our military should only be forward deployed with boots on the ground when there is a humanitarian crisis, genocides, or in defense of an ally. The dirty little secret of our foreign policy is that our media overlooks the atrocities that go on in Africa and places with low American economic interests, but get all bent out of shape when countries that effect America’s bottom line don’t play ball. Our military might should only be unleashed under very specific circumstances, economic problems should be solved diplomatically.