This Time For Sure

In his Washington Post column E. J. Dionne surveys the list of worthies on Joe Biden’s prospective foreign policy team and is clearly worried that they’ll return to the foreign policy that provoked a reaction from ordinary middle income Americans:

When President-elect Joe Biden introduced his national security team this week, a line that received almost no attention defined what may be the most important challenge confronting his able group of experienced professionals.

Biden was referring to his national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, when he said: “Jake understands my vision, that economic security is national security, and it helps steer what I call a foreign policy for the middle class, for families like his growing up in Minnesota.”

Talk of a “foreign policy for the middle class” may sound like campaign boilerplate, but it accurately describes one of the central obligations this band of liberal internationalists has assumed. They need to demonstrate to Americans on Main Street that the diplomats in Foggy Bottom have their interests in mind.

That’s the same internationalism that has led us into war twice in the last thirty years. There’s also a direct link between the internationalist admission of China to the World Trade Organization and a massive reorganization of the U. S. economy away from manufacturing with the attendant loss of manufacturing jobs. Since then there has been little prospect of much of the population’s earning other than minimum wage.

He continues:

One need not agree with Warren or Sanders on everything to accept that the long-term durability of an internationalist foreign policy depends on reviving public confidence that its architects regard the home front as more than an afterthought. It’s worth remembering that Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman — the presidents who built the post-World War II alliance systems and an impressive array of international organizations — inspired confidence among U.S. workers that they had their backs.

It’s also worth mentioning that one of the factors that has kept us at war in Afghanistan is it’s what the very best experts have recommended. Perhaps internationalists and experts have learned their lessons.

I think that internationalists operate under a faulty premise—that regional allies like Germany, France, Japan, and South Korea have anything but their own interests in mind when they attempt to persuade us to take a course of action. Maybe things will be different this time around. My advice is trust everybody but cut the cards.

5 comments… add one
  • bob sykes Link

    The only way to keep the Internationalists in line is to take away their toys. Cut the military by 50% across the board. Cripple it.

    And bring all the troops home from everywhere.

  • My guess as to who would complain most bitterly if the U. S. were to “bring all the troops home from everywhere” would be the Europeans. It would be portrayed as abandoning our international responsibilities, isolationist, nationalist. Our largest overseas deployments are (in descending order)

    South Korea
    United Kingdom

    Japan and Israel might be upset, too. We don’t actually know how many U. S. troops are in Syria. Germany’s internationalism is largely limited to pursuing its own national interests. The only European country with per capita military spending among the top ten in the world is Norway. Germany isn’t even among the top 20. The only countries in the world at the highest level of force readiness are the U. S., Russia, China, and France. Most can’t do their own logistics.

  • Grey Shambler Link

    I’d ask Chris Stevens’ family about the return of the F.P. Dream team.
    Arrogant, self confident Pussies.

  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    The FT is reporting the European position.

    The summary is Europe would like the Biden administration to do what Europe wants (adopt common, i.e. European standards on regulating Big tech; drop resistance to Europe’s digital tax; and drop tariffs and revive the WTO). In return the Europeans will do what they want to do anyway (screening sensitive “Chinese” investments but otherwise export as much as possible to China, climate change). They might even say very nice things about Biden and Americans if Biden agrees.

    Personally, the list of issues isn’t that bad — but they won’t address why there is growing skepticism about internationalism here.

  • If the WTO had been doing its job, the U. S. would never have needed to impose tariffs against China—the WTO would have imposed the penalties itself. I’ve documented this before. Relative to the size of its economy only Russia is a worse violator of trade agreements than China (most claims against the U. S. are retaliatory claims made by China).

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