May 3, 2000
President Gore, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee,
has outlined in some detail his views on foreign policy in a speech
Sunday before the International Press Institute in Boston. Not surprisingly,
his views differ little from the administration in which he serves.
If anything, however, he has a more expansive view of the "global
responsibilities" of the United States that could lead if
only because of his very earnestness and almost complete lack of
subtlety to more expansive commitments by a country already dangerously
overcommitted. If he is elected, perhaps the best hope is that he
wonít be as effective a salesman for global adventurism as President
Clinton has been.
NEW SECURITY AGENDA
vice president endorsed what he called the "classic security
agenda" that has kept U.S. troops stationed (apparently forever)
in Europe, Korea and elsewhere and gotten this country involved
in sending military forces to Haiti, the Balkans and Somalia and
bombs to Iraq and Kosovo. "America must always maintain a strong
defense, and unrivaled national security," he says, "to
protect our own interests, and to advance the ideals that are leading
the world toward freedom."
does not seem to imagine that there could be any conceivable conflict
between having a "sole superpower" as the arbiter of what
is right and proper in the rest of the world (and more than willing
to use military force to advance its agenda) and the ongoing advance
He also calls for a New Security Agenda based on "forward engagement"
with what he called "threats that affect us all and that transcend
political borders." "We need a new approach for a new
century," he insists, "addressing problems early in their
development before they become crises; addressing them as close
to the source of the problem as possible; and having the forces
and resources to deal with those threats as soon after their emergence
kind of problems? In a nutshell, he would define the spread of AIDS
in Africa, "disruption of the worldís ecological systems,"
new pandemics and mutations of disease, the international drug trade,
ethnic or religious conflicts, the lack of education, health care,
Internet access and other social welfare "entitlements"
in any country of the world as a "national security" concern
of the United States.
surprisingly, this means spending lots of money, as he spells out
later in the speech: "It starts with the rule of law [tell
Janet Reno], and with fiscal discipline and sound economic policy
but it does not end there. We must also invest in people,
giving them the education they need to seize the jobs of the future
and in the developing world that especially applies to women
and girls; the health security they require to raise a family; the
confidence that when they become old, they will not be abandoned."
isnít exactly clear who the "we" that will do all this
is. He might be talking about the "international community,"
whatever that is. But itís more likely heís talking about American
taxpayers not that the taxpayers themselves would have much say
in how the money is spent; enlightened experts with more experience
at spending other peoplesí money than the mere peasants who are
forced to provide it are readily available.
KYOTO AND OTHER ATROCITIES
needs out there in the rest of the world are virtually limitless,
and Mr. Gore canít wait to conscript American taxpayers into the
task of meeting them, in the fashion prescribed by international
elites. "We need not only open trading systems," declares
the Veep, "but systems that work for people around the world
taking into account not only the bottom line, but the well-being
of working men and women, the protection of children against sweatshop
labor, and the protection of the environment. We have to ratify
the Kyoto Agreement while making sure that all nations developed
and developing do their part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, we should take steps to boost the export of environmentally-clean
technologies, an area where we have a decisive trade advantage.
It is not only good for the environment. It is also good for economic
is common with people who have never spent more than a few moments
in the private sector his brief and overrated career as a journalist
hardly counts in a life spent almost entirely on the public dole Mr.
Gore shows little or no discrimination between the contributions
made by real investment and those that involve the mere spending
of money seized from productive people. Any money spent, even if
it has been seized in a way that prevents voluntary economic development
or alternative investments, is seen as a contribution to "economic
Kyoto treaty can serve as an example. Before it was formulated,
the US Senate voted 99-0 to advise the administration that it wouldnít
be ratified if it didnít include equal economic punishment for "developing"
countries that spew pollution. Everybody knows especially people
in developing countries that if it were really implemented it would
slow down economic growth. It has never been submitted to the Senate
because it would never be approved. Yet the Clinton administration
has unilaterally taken steps, including serious regulations and
heavy-handed supervision, to implement it.
a Gore administration would be even more active in promulgating
punitive regulations justified by the need to save or restore the
natural environment. It might not kill the Golden Goose of economic
growth that makes it possible for those whose job is to loot the
successful to dream their utopian dreams, but it would hardly contribute
to its health.
of the more disturbing aspects of the Gore approach is that he actually
seems to believe that US and international influence have made things
much better in Russia, and heís eager to take credit as something
of an administration point-man on Russian policies.
have worked hard these past seven years to help Russia make a transition
to a market-based democracy," he declares. "We have helped
Russia privatize its economy and build a civil society marked by
free elections and an active press. We have brought Russia into
a working relationship with NATO through the Permanent Joint Council
and Partnership for Peace program. We have been able to work with
Russian forces successfully inside a NATO framework in the Balkans."
Does anybody really believe much of that? The US and international
institutions like the International Monetary Fund have certainly
been busy in Russia, but itís difficult to see that they have created
more progress than resentment. Wedded to rigid polices and willing
to accept the takeover of formerly state-owned enterprises by criminals
with connections as "privatization," the IMF has created
dangerous levels of distrust and resentment among Russian leaders
and ordinary people. And it takes willful ignorance to imagine that
Russia is pleased as punch with the way NATO has gone about its
bloody business in the Balkans.