JFK+50: Our Know-Nothing Foreign Policy

I received a copy of the March issue of the American Conservative in the mail today. Here are some brief outtakes from a book review (totaling @ 2000 words) I wrote in that issue on the general theme of Our Know-Nothing Foreign Policy :

*In the decades since John F. Kennedy’s inauguration, foreign policy experts have become Washington’s leading con men. Even though Wiz kids and Dream Teams have dragged America into one bloodbath and debacle after another, the media and politicians still kowtow to the latest sanctified “Best and Brightest.”…

*Regardless of policymakers’ Ivy League pedigrees, U.S. foreign and defense policy routinely operates on a “village idiot” level of information….

*The standards for decorum in discussing foreign policy practically guarantee that brazen liars will receive a pass, regardless of how many people perish as a result of their perfidy…

*WikiLeaks has revealed that U.S. foreign policy is far more venal and dishonest than the Beltway portrayed it….

*Instead of relying on purported foreign policy masterminds, Americans should remember Emerson’s maxim that “character is higher than intellect.” Washington is full of intellectuals more devoted to power than to truth. Professors hungry for influence are no more trustworthy than second-term Arkansas congressmen seeking a seat on the House Appropriations Committee.

*But even if Americans properly discount the pretensions of the next deluge of foreign policy sages, it is unlikely that the government will begin learning from its mistakes. The only surefire way to avoid past follies is to vastly reduce U.S. interventions abroad. Aside from that, the second best solution is to assure that it will be the pro-war “experts,” congressmen, and political appointees whose blood is shed first.


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4 Responses to JFK+50: Our Know-Nothing Foreign Policy

  1. Bob Williams January 20, 2011 at 9:56 pm #

    Thanks for highlighting the role some professors play in helping government to do information warfare.

  2. Dirk Sabin January 21, 2011 at 11:28 am #

    The most energetic “isolationists” in the current era are the Sunbeams of Benevolent Globalism. The American Citizen and their rotting infrastructure or cities is of little interest to them.

  3. alpowolf January 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm #

    I know I’ve said this before, but I still just don’t understand why so many people don’t see how badly the U.S. government does foreign policy.

    I understand falling for it at first; heck, in my first presidential election (1980) I voted for Reagan and thought I had done well. But watching the ensuing events unfold swiftly disabused me of that notion.

    It wasn’t just the Beirut fiasco (in which I played a tiny part). The thing that really broke me was reading the Tower Commission Report on the Iran-Contra scandal. The Iranian government of the time just took Reagan and his boys like idiot children, again and again. I thought, oh my God, I placed my life directly into THEIR hands? WTF was I thinking?!

    U.S. foreign policy is just one failure after another. Why don’t the American people get tired of this?

  4. Jim January 21, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    It’s great that you learned a lesson, despite having paid for it by risking your neck. Probably most of the new NeoCon policymakers never heard of the Tower Commission Report….