Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Foreign policy schmolicy

Christopher Hartman writing for The Daily Caller argues that the tea party needs to come up with a foreign policy or something.

A tea party foreign policy? Not going to happen because it can't happen. It is a theoretical and ideological impossibility.

Asking a coalition of Randian libertarians, Reagan conservatives, neo-cons, paleo-cons, so-cons, independents and yes, Democrats who have rallied under the banners of fiscal discipline, free markets, entitlement reform, Constitutional fidelity and limited government to come up with a coherent foreign policy would be a counter-productive exercise in futility. Why bother?

Foreign policy is rarely, if ever, even discussed at our periodic SLOB beer summits here in San Diego as it's acknowledged before the first round hits the table that even in our intimate gatherings of 6-10 people, there will not be anything resembling a consensus on the matter.

So what's Hartman's contribution towards assisting this formulation of a foreign policy:

Conservative estimates put the number of American military bases around the world at over 1,000. This Leviathan supports a massive American interventionism that costs extraordinary sums to maintain, with no end in sight. If one wants to get really tough on deficits, defense spending — whether weapon systems, bases or personnel — must be a major part of the debate.
That's right. Hartman's opening salvo is base closures. Now closing our bases overseas may or may not have merit on its own standing but if that's his "big idea", it simply reinforces the impossibility of developing any sort of tea party foreign policy.

Hartman submits that a foreign policy is necessary if the tea party wants to be taken seriously as a player which is complete non-sense as the tea party is already a player as it provided the passion and energy to swing 63 House seats to the GOP side while quite possibly limiting gains in the Senate to six seats (a grudging admission to which we have been slow to admit).

What Hartman isn't saying but we believe he is implying is lacking a foreign policy prohibits the tea party from being a third party, which, at this time would be the absolute wrong course of action. Leveraging influence within if not taking over outright portions of an established political entity with its party infrastructure already in place remains the best way to achieve the objectives as laid out in the 3rd paragraph above.

We already have our hands full with how to handle social issues, we don't need to completely gum up the works with being at each others' throats over foreign policy.


Foxfier, formerly Sailorette said...

"If you really want to be serious about saving money, don't spend money on locks, security lights, an alarm system or even bullets for your gun!"


B-Daddy said...

The Tea Party has shown it is a greater force by not being a political party. In its short history, it is already far more influential and successful than the Libertarian Party, which was founded in 1971 as a formal political party. Hartman doesn't recognize that the strength of the movement is the focus on particular set of issues around which there is broad agreement, a sense of urgency, and a shared vision. These attributes are necessary in a leaderless movement, because the shared vision is the glue that holds the movement together in the absence of a formal structure. These truths are set out in the The Starfish and the Spider, which Mr. Hartman has probably not become acquainted with.

steve said...

You then ask voters to vote based entirely on domestic considerations. You risk electing representatives devoid of significant foreign policy interest or knowledge. Just as an example, what were the foreign policy implications of letting AIG fail, remembering that European banks were more heavily leveraged than US banks?


Dean said...

Steve, that's not true. Individual voters, be they partiers or not, will assess that candidate's FP stance on an individual basis.

It's all about priorities and right now reigning-in spending and a hyper-active government is at the top of the list.

To wit, I would give an isolationist like Ron Paul a far longer look than I would 30 or even 20 years ago.

Besides, as I said in the post, it's all a moot point so why waste time, energy, goodwill and focus in this hedgehog shadow party.

Mutnodjmet said...

They said the Tea Party movement wouldn't last 6 months. When a pundit decides to give advice, it plainly shows they don't understand Tea Party. A great analysis, BwD. At the next Beer Summit we can chime in on foreign policy -- right after we do our own "Straw Poll". :)

steve said...

"Steve, that's not true. Individual voters, be they partiers or not, will assess that candidate's FP stance on an individual basis.

It's all about priorities and right now reigning-in spending and a hyper-active government is at the top of the list."

In reverse order, then you need to know what is causing the increased spending and future debt. It is not hyperactive govt spending. It is Medicare and Medicaid. Nothing else comes close to mattering. Eliminate all other spending, assume that the country still functions, and we still have 50% of GDP going to those two entitlements in 60 years (or thereabouts). Non-defense discretionary spending has stayed pretty steady. The number of federal employees has stayed pretty steady.

A lack of foreign policy from a party that wants to win elections is always bad. Foreign policy issues never go away. If the Kashmir area precipitates war between India and Pakistan, that is an event with worldwide consequences. What happens if NK and SK finally go to war? Even today we have Iranian warships going through the Suez? In terms of existential risk, foreign policy is of at least equal import to domestic.

If we let AIG collapse, it was likely to precipitate a domino collapse of the big European banks. This would have happened at a time when were asking our allies to continue or increase their support in Afghanistan.


SarahB said...

This guy thinks TPE and Amy Kremer are the Tea Party...taking him seriously should end there.

Mutnodjmet said...

I would also like to point out that people sensible in domestic policy would probably make some pretty savvy decisions regarding foreign policy.

Dean said...

Steve, I neve once said foreign policy is not important - it is very important.

The tea party's core competency, if you will, is focusing on budgets and governmental over-reach here at home.

Why waste time and enegy on a completely impossible task?