December 30, 202: Information Clearing House — American foreign policy today is in a reactionary death spiral. Never has a new “national security” policy paradigm been more desperately needed, yet there is not even a glimpse of salvation on the horizon—wherever you look you will find policies that speak to the past and offer little hope for a viable global future.
The paradigm that ensnares American diplomacy cemented some 75 years ago with World War II and the Cold War. Those cataclysmic events forged an enduring American national security state characterized by unlimited global intervention, cultivation of an ever-metastasizing “military-industrial complex,” and endless and often racialized enemy-othering followed by highly destructive yet ultimately losing wars replete with devastating blowback on the “homeland.”
Urgently needed is a new foreign policy paradigm of cooperative internationalism centered on combating climate change, population control, control of infectious disease, investment to deal effectively with poverty and global migration, dramatic demilitarization, and renunciation of arms as well as human trafficking. The United States should take the lead in resurrecting and strengthening the United Nations to better enable it to pursue the mission of promoting global security, anti-racism, and universal human rights.
Sound like idealistic liberal poppycock? Well, how do you like what the “realist” foreign policy paradigm has delivered—an endless series of forever wars, an utterly inept response to the existential threat of climate change, rampant destruction of animal and plant species, ongoing militarization of the planet amid poverty, epidemic disease, and little prospect of genuine national, much less international, security.
Still in the grip of the Cold War paradigm, the Biden administration is just as wedded to confrontation with China and Russia as Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, and every other administration since 1945. The sheer hubris at the core of American national identity—typically referenced as American exceptionalism—cannot abide the existence other great powers. Yes, China’s takeover of Hong Kong, efforts to establish hegemony in the South China Sea, and egregious human rights record, especially in Tibet and Xinjiang, are disturbing. Over time a viable UN—which realists have long hamstrung and condemned as an outpost idealistic universalism—could put meaningful pressure on China on human rights, but at this time cooperation on climate change is the greater priority.