Author Topic: Grand Strategy for a Divided America  (Read 251811 times)

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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #675 on: June 09, 2019, 23:05:02 »
The end was when the Berlin Wall came down and one by one the Warsaw Pact collapsed.

Offline Journeyman

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #676 on: June 17, 2019, 10:30:55 »
Interesting ... in my mind it was President Harry S Truman, acting on George Kennan's "long telegram" who put the Soviet Union on the path to failure. He saw, quite clearly, that the US-led West would "win" by not fighting but, rather, by containing the USSR. The resulting Cold War was long but, again in my idiosyncratic opinion, it was "won" in 1959 ... at a trade fair in Moscow when then Vice-President Nixon confronted Nikita Kruschov at a display featuring a fairly typical middle-class US kitchen ... thousands of Russians saw that and they told millions that Eisenhower's adaptation of the Truman doctrine which said butter, not guns, was working for the American working class. The rest was just ~ in my opinion ~ the icing on the cake.
I've been mulling this over.  Where the Soviet Union was brought down through externally imposed containment, it appears increasingly that the US is self-containing... possibly with similar results.

The equivalent of the 'US kitchen' as a desirable role model is the world now looking at current US behaviour and turning away -- there are a growing number of trade and security arrangements being developed that actively exclude the US.  While the American economy remains sufficiently strong that they can't be simply ignored, fewer people want to have to deal with the current administration;  the cover story of The Economist  (June 8-14) is "Weapons of Mass Disruption: tariffs, tech blacklists, financial isolation, sanctions,"  with a picture of Trump as a bomb.  Unfortunately, the country is now so divided that the polarization and mindless finger-pointing (by both extremes) is unlikely to be fixable in the near to intermediate term.


An excerpt from Fareed Zakaria, "The Self-Destruction of American Power:  Washington Squandered the Unipolar Moment,"
Foreign Affairs ,  July/August 2019.
Quote
The Trump administration has hollowed out U.S. foreign policy even further.  Trump’s instincts are Jacksonian, in that he is largely uninterested in the world except insofar as he believes that most countries are screwing the United States.  He is a nationalist, a protectionist, and a populist, determined to put “America first.”  But truthfully, more than anything else, he has abandoned the field.  Under Trump, the United States has withdrawn from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and from engaging with Asia more generally.  It is uncoupling itself from its 70-year partnership with Europe.  It has dealt with Latin America through the prism of either keeping immigrants out or winning votes in Florida.  It has even managed to alienate Canadians (no mean feat).  And it has subcontracted Middle East policy to Israel and Saudi Arabia.  With a few impulsive exceptions—such as the narcissistic desire to win a Nobel Prize by trying to make peace with North Korea—what is most notable about Trump’s foreign policy is its absence.

Offline Brad Sallows

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #677 on: June 17, 2019, 12:20:31 »
In the free market of foreign relationships, the US was a good deal - relatively open and wealthy markets others could readily access; relatively little reaction to protectionist policies running back the other way; willingness to bear a substantial chunk of the cost of various mutual and other defence arrangements.  The Trump administration has increased the prices, which effectively makes other nations more competitive.

For those who believe increasing trade entanglements and increasing regional foreign affairs arrangements tend to decrease the likelihood of wars breaking out, this should be a huge net positive.

For Latin America, the US is a safety valve as long as talk of border enforcement remains only talk; the Democrats and associated activists have successfully out-manoeuvred the administration.  The status quo is a huge contribution to political stabilization and peace, and US taxpayers are the ones paying for it, not Europeans or Asians or South Americans.
That which does not kill me has made a grave tactical error.

"It is a damned heavy blow; but whining don't help."

Despair is a sin.

Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #678 on: June 17, 2019, 19:19:26 »
Yet the economy is the best in many years with full employment. Historically people vote their pocketbook. If the economy remains strong into 2020 Trump should be re-elected.

Offline Humphrey Bogart

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Re: Grand Strategy for a Divided America
« Reply #679 on: June 17, 2019, 20:51:27 »
Yet the economy is the best in many years with full employment. Historically people vote their pocketbook. If the economy remains strong into 2020 Trump should be re-elected.

Is the economy strong?  Growth has basically plateaued since the beginning of 2018.  The market has hit three successive walls that it has been unable to break through.

I would say if trade wars and tariffs continue to be in play, the US economy will be in a recession within a year or two.