I have a new long-read in the print edition of Baffler #47 on the fundamental problems of left foreign policy. I think it is worth your time.

It is very easy for the left to point and laugh at mainstream liberal foreign policy, which often differs from the neocon position only on style points (we want to bomb Iraq too, but we want like, smarter and cooler people to do it!
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). What is proving harder is coming up with a viable alternative, because hooooooo boy is this Horseshoe Theory "Actually the white supremacists are right about this" nonsense peddled by people like Greenwald and Tulsi not it.

It's out there. It hasn't been discovered yet. But I am confident that someone out there can use their brainpower to come up with a foreign policy that reinforces leftist values without falling for the cartoonishly stupid premise that as soon as America stops being bad, the world will be a place of stability and harmony.
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23 thoughts on “FOREIGN POLICY SLAW”

  • Leftist Foreign Policy says:

    Leftist foreign policy is actually really simple.

    Take the US military budget. Cut it in half. With the money saved, take half of it and spend it on domestic good stuff, like solar panels for everyone. With the other half (one-quarter of the current military budget), spend it on food and shit and airdrop it to foreign countries. Anytime anyone anywhere has a fucking hurricane, the next thing to happen should be people ducking the pallets of US food raining down on them.

    Then, each and every time someone says "we should bomb X", you say "no". Without exception. There is no situation anywhere on Earth that adding more US bombs to makes it better.

    That's it.

    It's super duper leftist, at least compared to current policies. It's easy and doable. And it would raise the world opinion of the USA immeasurably.

  • scott (the other one) says:

    I like the cut of Leftist Foreign Policy's jib, in large part because I've long thought the US should have a Marshall Plan-like project to make sure every country that's open to the idea has clean water. Go into any country who'll have us and do whatever it takes to set up clean water. Because it's the right thing to do–and the fact that it would make them like us, rather than hate us for bombing them, is a nice side benefit.

  • Sure would be nice to think either Johnson (LOL) or Trump (LOLOCAUST) will lift a finger to protect Hong Kong Democracy movement.

    Who am I kidding? Tiananmen Mk. II will be five times bloodier than the first one.

  • LFP for President of the Untied States. (I say untied states 'cause I am not sure I want to be a part of the Trumpian Fourth Reich anymore)

  • Scott (the other one): Before (or in addition to) we do this, maybe we can make sure every AMERICAN has access to clean water first?

  • I don't think it's going to be possible to insure that every American has access to clean water, although in those places that have water we could be doing much better than we are. In not too many years the aquifers in Arizona and New Mexico are going to run dry. The water from the Colorado River is already insufficient when there's a drought in California. Last year was an exception. The annual snowfall in the Rockies has been declining for a decade and the snowpack melts earlier. Mark Blyth pointed out that there's a Superfund site only 750 feet away from Miami's main water source, and that as the ocean rises it will cause the toxic material to bleed into the aquifer, essentially making Miami uninhabitable. He thinks that will get people's attention so they will begin doing things and funding projects to (hopefully) survive the coming climate change. We'll see.

  • Great article. The time is ripe. Trump is fast disposing of any remaining coherent GOP foreign policy beyond capricious economic and military bullying.

  • I was remarking the yesterday, what’s the point of maintaining the largest navy on the planet if we can’t evacuate the Bahamas? And before you bring up unknown harbor/ navigability issues, the Navy maintains amphibious landing craft that can run right up in the beach.

  • The cartoonishly stupid premise most prominent here is that the (Third) world is unstable and disharmonious because America has been bad.

    Meanwhile, giving fundamentalist Muslims the time of day, let alone mascotizing and enabling them, is an even stupider betrayal of core leftist values.

  • The start of a leftist foreign policy is to functionally understand that we are the skinniest kid at fat camp. All nations suck. All nations given the possibility of power and the kind of power the United States has will fuck up and the size of our fuck ups will be as large as our capacity. We will always be hypocrites but at least we will be hypocrites. Right now our biggest foreign policy problem is China. The Chinese government is nakedly autocratic; thinks that solving the small problem of Muslim terrorism in their country is to put over a million people in concentration camps; wants to export its form of government to other nations in order to create an autocratic block against us; and believes that we will do anything to bring down the CCP as we did the soviet union. I say, to the extent that we don't actually go to war, we live up their fears.

    The United States is in a unequal position in the world by shear geography. Unless we collapse and turn into warring factions across the continent we will likely always be one of the most powerful countries on earth. One of the major projects of our diplomatic efforts has been to knit the world into a closer union so that another world war doesn't happen. We think Iraq was bad and a crime and it was. It will be as well remembered as the Filipino Insurrection. To note that was first time we began to burn down villages in order to save them. (Though honestly we may have done it a number of other times that I don't remember or know about. Our constant overthrowing of governments in South America certainly gave us enough chance.)

    We need allies in what will be a cold war with china and none of them are that good. We need to hug India close and whisper that their attempts at recreating 1910's southern lynching isn't good and that actively genociding their muslim citizens isn't a good look. We need to bring Burma into our orbit and tell them that the Rohinga are their countrymen and maybe they should try and tamp down on the genocide. We can nudge vietnam into a better civil rights and less torture. Will we be hypocrites, yes but at least we will be hypocrites.

  • If Gabbard's such a fucking peacenik, how come she's a US ARMY OFFICER??

    There never will be a left wing US foreign policy as long as there IS a US. This country has always been about territorial expansion and dominating markets abroad, at gunpoint if need be.

    (Yes, I've been reading Greg Grandin, why?)

  • Inkus Maximus Incoherencius: "The cartoonishly stupid premise most prominent here is that the (Third) world is unstable and disharmonious because America has been bad.

    Meanwhile, giving fundamentalist Muslims the time of day, let alone mascotizing and enabling them, is an even stupider betrayal of core leftist values."

    Who here is saying that? Are you have conversations with your imaginary friend again?

    At the same time, the United States is much to blame. MUCH is the word I used. The kleptocracies, centuries-old tyrannies, tribal fractal non-states and religious nutteries that dominate much of the Third World's governments certainly don't help things. The United States just nudges things along from really bad to worse to failed state. For profit, of course.

  • Brian M.—

    Who here is saying that? Er, Big Ed and most of his leftist acolytes. Here, now, and week out, year in, year out. It’s part of the stock leftist geopolitical worldview.

    Methinks you doest protest too much, Bri. As in, bother to protest at all, if my characterization is indeed pure fabrication, much less incoherent altogether.

  • Here, now, and week out, year in, year out. It’s part of the stock leftist geopolitical worldview."

    That may be the single, stupidest fucking thing you've ever said, here. Then again, you have said a lot of stupid fucking things.

    BTW, shit-for-brains where's the proof for your assertion about Ed being a HUUUUUUUUUUGE supporter of the Pilots4Mohammed? I mean it's several weeks since you were asked for something other than a bald assertion with no evidence. I thought for a while that you were CummStain'z sockpuppet, but even he isn't as fucking stupidand dishonest as you are.

  • Democracy promotion? The National Endowment for Democracy has a $180 million budget and is basically the neocons own private foreign policy slush fund. Democracy promotion inevitably leads to disasters like Victoria Nuland meddling in Ukraine and Elliott Abrams scheming to overthrow Maduro. I don't really get why the left hates Gabbard so much that she can't even participate in the debates. Maybe Gabbard and Greenwald are right.

  • I don't hate Gabbard and the DNC are pricks. OTOH, it's nothing but a fucking unpaid ad for most of them and Tulsi isn't my favorite for the role. I will, of course, cheerfully put a checkmark next to her name if she somehow gets the nod.

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