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Posts Tagged ‘Jimmy Carter’

Today Felipe Calderon addressed the U.S. Congress.  As has become the Mexican custom, he castigated the United States for its unreasonably liberal gun control laws, unreasonably harsh treatment of illegal immigrants, and the alleged U.S. role in his country’s troubles with drug kingpins and violence.

He said, for example regarding Arizona’s immigration enforcement law, “It is a law that not only ignores a reality that cannot be erased by decree but also introduces a terrible idea using racial profiling as a basis for law enforcement.”  Note the multiple layers of presumption and moral judgment.  First, he is criticizing a law democratically enacted by a U.S. state designed to address a massive flood of people caused by his government’s policy of encouraging illegal immigration (complete with “how to” pamphlets.)   Second, he is fearless in his condemnation of the U.S., even though his country is many times weaker militarily and economically, and even though he is our guest.  Finally, he is a hypocrite of the first order, as Mexico aggressively intercepts and deports illegal immigrants to Mexico and passing through Mexico from other parts of Central America, and Mexico’s human rights records leaves a great deal to be desired whether we’re talking the Cristeros War or more recent events such as the massacre of students in 1968.

I did a little digging.  The last US President to address the Mexican Congress was Jimmy Carter in 1979. While foreign presidents can mingle and engage in pseudo-aristocratic diplomacy, the Mexican Congress has long been a a hotbed of the traditionally ambivalent Mexican view of the United States, a combination of envy, fear, and contempt.  Carter’s speech presaged the devolution of American self-respect we’ve seen fully flower under President Barack Hussein Obama, whose various speeches in Berlin, Cairo, and Moscow cement in place the new era of American powerlessness and paralyzing guilt.

While today the Mexican President presumes to lecture the United States on illegal aliens and gun control, in 1979 Carter spoke in soothing and subservient tones, and he did so in Spanish.  He pleaded, “My friends, I have come to Mexico to listen.  This is a time to appreciate the mutual benefits of our historical friendship as neighbors. But it is also a time of exciting changes within our two countries and in our relationship with each other.”  Listening, that’s good–welcome and appropriate, in fact, in a foreign nation’s legislative halls. Such gestures of faux equality are unobjectionable standing alone, as mutual respect goes a long way in relations between nations.

Felipe Calderon didn’t get the memo; or, rather, he got the version with the editor’s notes, notes which reveal that there is one set of rules constraining the United States that demands we treat unequals as equals, and these editor’s notes make it plain that these inferiors can make demands and control policy among their military and economic superiors.  This is the tone and tenor of all leftist foreign policy:  the objective destruction of Western and American power recast as the advance of universal justice.

Much like Obama’s various humiliations of America–their America, the land that oppressed his ancestors–Carter also took things too far, noting, “Our friendship has at times been marred by mistakes, and even by abuses of power.”  Carter’s literal text was ambiguous, but rest assured, the Mexicans acknowledge no Mexican abuses of power vis a vis the United States.  In 1979, they understood the meaning and were pleased, or rather emboldened, and ever since the U.S. has weakly appeased them, even though Mexico as a nation has done literally nothing for the United States.  It has sent no soldiers to fight in any of our wars–unlike smaller neighbors Honduras and El Salvador.  Mexico in fact abrogated the Rio Treaty shortly after the 9/11 attacks.  The Mexican Congress even found it difficult to have a moment of silence to mourn the Americans killed in those attacks, as this was considered unduly subservient.

Weak people make bad friends, and the same thing is true among nations.  Weak people and weak nations take all they can get, as they have not learned the restraint and magnanimity that comes from success and strength.  The Mexicans are weak and insecure, not least because American prosperity, in a nation that emerged some 120 years after theirs, is a daily indictment of the Mexican social and economic system, their culture, and their vaunted La Raza Cosmica.

Mexicans still smart over things Americans have forgotten, like the Treaty of Gudalupe Hidalgo or U.S. boycotts in the wake of the nationalization of the Mexican oil industry in 1938.  Mexicans are also undoubtedly ashamed that so many of their citizens are leaving, in many cases forever, to the North, where even the lowliest and least educated can make a living impossible to achieve in Mexico.  In short, Mexico is a pesky, fragile, and envious little country that is the chief source of its own problems.  Unfortunately, our politicians all the way up to our President seem to think that they will somehow expiate America’s sins by doing Mexico (and the rest of the Third World’s) bidding.  As we have seen in Calderon’s latest insults, the more likely result is that Mexico will become further emboldened and more demanding as the U.S. loses its self-respect.

During the Cold War, Mexico, for all of its leftism and socialism, never dreamed of going Communist. They knew America would strike back.  In Eisenhower’s Operation Wetback, the Mexican government knew to tread lightly in dealing with America’s internal affairs, as much as it may have filled their so-called Revolutionary Party with resentment.  Today, when our impositions on Mexico are so minimal, that resentment, and that demandingness, has reached an all time high.  And these demands are enabled by a domestic fifth column, fueled by multicultural ideology, that is willing to let everyone but native-born Americans play by rules of tribal aggrandizement.  The only silver lining of Calderon’s visits is for patriotic Americans to realize that these foreign leaders have contempt for them and their way of life, and that they are arm-in-arm with leftist American elites that share that contempt.  In short, the insults of a President Calderon can ignite a nationalist reaction that would be muted if its authors were solely, at least technically speaking, American statesmen.

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If Obama’s foreign policy is sometimes incoherent, Hillary’s is simply Bush-lite.  Her recent essay in Foreign Affairs reveals herself as someone who does not depart substantially from the globalist paradigm of Bush and President Clinton, with the main difference being her greater faith in “diplomacy.”  In a world where many nations’ interests involve knocking America down in prestige and power, this is simply wishful thinking of the worst sort.  It’s essentially the foreign policy espoused earlier by John Kerry.  It is vague about how she will fight terrorism, focusing instead on a policy of supporting the people that will clean up the pieces in the wake of an attack, the lauded “first responders.” 

The flaws in Hillary Clinton’s basic perspective are never more apparent than in her discussion of one of the major foreign policy failure of the last decade, the payoff deal given to North Korea to cease its nuclear programs.  This deal was brokered by Jimmy Carter and signed off by President Clinton and promised North Korea money to cease its nuclear arms programs after it had essentially threatened the West with its arsenal.  She writes: 

Like Iran, North Korea responded to the Bush administration’s effort to isolate it by accelerating its nuclear program, conducting a nuclear test, and building more nuclear weapons. Only since the State Department returned to diplomacy have we been able, belatedly, to make progress.

Actually, North Korea was undertaking all these programs after the deal when it promised it would not do so.  Nothing in Bush’s “axis of evil” remark could have set off such a massive undertaking.  The money paid off by the ’94 Clinton Deal enabled the North Korean regime by giving it much-needed financial and material support.  As I wrote earlier:

I can’t say I blame Clinton for not discovering North Korea violations and weapons plans earlier. The secret North Korean regime is notoriously hard for our spies to penetrate. But I do fault him for thinking he could bribe a criminal regime like this into behaving sensibly. The basic concept of the agreement was the problem, and the end result was more or less inevitable. Even the most minimally rationally black-mailer, once he’s been paid, has an incentive to seek more. And that’s exactly what North Korea’s been trying to accomplish ever since. Clinton’s plan was all carrot and no stick. Bush has been tasked with cleaning up a mess that he did not create, where he did not fail to negotiate real security guarantees, and under the threat of a far more substantial North Korean weapons capability.

On top of its flawed concepts, Clinton’s lengthy essay provides little guidance as to when and where diplomacy is necessary or unlikely to be of use, nor does it articulate when force is needed and under what circumstances she would use it.  For instance, does she embrace the “humanitarian wars” concept of President Clinton?  Does she think a UN mandate is always necessary (after all, her husband did not in Kosovo)? Does she recognize that certain irrational players on the world stage, such as A-Jod in Iran, may not respond to the same incentives as less ideological and religiously-tinged leaders?  Finally, does she recognize any inherent or at least structural tension between the Western World and the Islamic world?  She’s either silent or vague on these issues.  The world Muslim only comes up in referring to her support for “building a Muslim democracy in Afghanistan.”

Bush has been a disaster on foreign policy because he is a liberal.  He believes in spreading democracy, the universality of American values, and the necessity of idealism in our foreign policy.  He also has been incompetent, using tough talk without backing up words with appropriate action, alienating potential friends like Russia, using democracy as a substitute for the necessity of real security in Iraq, and being diffident and inarticulate about the need for intelligence-gathering against al Qaeda.  There is no reason to think Clinton will not be worse in all these respects, even if she is accepted more readily by the Europeans. 

Let’s not forget that it is al Qaeda, China, Iran, and Russia who matter most in the next President’s foreign policy.  On all four matters, the first President Clinton, embracing a very similar view as Hillary was a disaster.  Al Qaeda grew in strength and planned 9/11 during his watch.  China grew stronger military and economically under his watch, and its increasing trade with the West did not liberalize its internal affairs as promised.  Iran continued to support terrorism during Clinton’s more mild presidency and was linked to the Khobar Towers bombing without any retaliation on his part.  Finally, Russia grew increasingly alienated from the West during Clinton and Bush’s presidency because both presidents desired to expand NATO, criticized Russia on Chechnya (where it’s fighting al Qaeda and its allies), and both meddled in Russia’s internal affairs and elections.  Clinton may not be loony on foreign policy, but liberals and conservatives alike should expect many of the same problems as Bush has had, coupled with the likely disappointments that the deus ex machina of diplomacy will foster.  These problems will persist because both Hillary Clinton and Bush use liberal ideas–the importance of the UN, democracy (including among our allies), and human rights–as guides when hard-headed realism about diplomacy and the use of force is needed.

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