Posted BY: | Al Bienenfeld
To continue as a prosperous nation, we must have a “business plan” for national security, which includes foreign policy, to ensure survival and allow us to work towards expanded prosperity.
National Security means protecting the homeland from internal and external threats. It means secure borders. Truly, it is the government’s primary function, perhaps even the only legitimate function of government. Foreign policy concerns itself with external threats and minimizing such threats. Protecting our homeland does not mean protecting or providing for another nation that offers nothing in return.
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Large businesses will often have a three-tiered plan for prosperity, which includes near, mid-term, and long-range goals. It only makes sense. Often, near-term goals dominate government because of election cycles. Thus, we went to war in Vietnam and Iraq for the individual political goals of Presidents Lyndon Johnson and George W. Bush. The costs to our country in terms of treasure and human life were disastrous. You would think we would have learned from those mistakes but, clearly, leadership has not (although I think the American people have).
A good foreign policy requires convincing other nations, the friendly or neutral ones, to work with us to secure our goals, which usually means a concomitant promise to secure their goals.
What happens, though, when dealing with an adversarial relationship? Must we physically force our will upon the recalcitrant party, or are there other ways?
President Eisenhower avoided war despite the ongoing hostility of the “Cold War.” Richard Nixon ended our mistake in Vietnam. The means was wretched but, still, he ended it. President Reagan toppled the Soviet Union without firing a shot.