Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, February 18, 2007

What Was Our Worst Foreign Policy Blunder?

"This war is a serious situation," intoned the Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid yesterday. "It involves the worst foreign policy mistake in the history of this country."

Reid raises an interesting question --What is the worst foreign policy mistake in US history? -- and answers it wrong. I know it's wrong, but I'd like the historians among my readers to suggest the worst.

Iraq does have elements of a foreign policy mistake. It is not going as quickly or as well as expected. Many nations aren't happy with us. US troops are dying -- in small numbers compared to historic wars, but in greater numbers than the Administration assumed. (Remember, though, that the Left was predicting 20,000 American deaths just from the invasion and overthrow. Of course, they assumed Saddam had WMDs.)

It also has strong elements of foreign policy brilliance. It has set our enemy back on its heels and concentrated the terror war half a world away from our shores. It has set the Sunni-Shi'a conflict in a bold light, for all the world to see and ponder. It has isolated Iran. And it just might work, if Reid and his party would just keep their self-serving hands out of it.

I would like your thoughts on our biggest foreign policy errors. Here are my thougths:

Leaving Vietnam. The carnage that followed our departure, the national and international disillusion with America as a paper tiger, the boost to China's international ego and power in Asia -- all when victory was so close -- represents certainly a greater human toll as foreign policy mistakes go, and also a greater harm to our prestiege.

Of course, Reid & Co. think that forcing us to leave Vietnam was the Dem's greatest victory.

Letting go of the Canal. This penultimate Jimmy Carter blunder still hasn't played itself out completely. Today, both the Atlantic and Pacific ports of the canal are managed by the Chinese, who are working hard to expand their influence in Central and South America. Carter not only allowed the Chinese a foothold through the Torrijos-Carter Treaties; he have them the most strategically important real estate on the continent as their foothold.

The Spanish-American War and our bizarre invasion of Canada come to mind, as well as the really big ones -- the mosaic of decisions and policies that, if done with more foresight, might have contained Hitler, Hirohito, and a few decades earlier, Kaiser Wilhelm.

In closing, the foreign policy genious who leads the Dems in the Senate concluded his quote above, saying:
"We find ourselves in a very deep hole. We need to find a way to dig out of it."
While the hole may be full of nasty, creepy things, it's not all that deep. We have a way out of it: Kick butt, surge, fight smart, keep our options open and leave when the time is right, which definitely is not now.

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