Foreign Policy

 Foreign Policy in Short

 

*To read the policy in full, see further below

 

Preface:  Our foreign policy would, indeed be multi-dimensional.  However, there would be a common denominator to it all. That is, the common denominator would be that everything we did internationally would be motivated by promoting “the common good” for all people – as opposed to one we have now that is often predominately, and selfishly, about: “protecting America’s interests.”  

[See the “Overall Philosophy” below.] 

 

*Note:  For this position paper, I’ve taken sample geopolitical, and sample humanitarian outreach, examples from a wide swath of international issues.  While obviously in no means inclusive, this will give a good feel for how our administration would approach foreign policy in general.

 

  • Majorly ramped up work for the common good for everyone worldwide when it comes to adequate shelter, food, safe drinking water, a clean environment…Strenuously combatting terrorism – especially America’s forms of terrorism.  [See our terrorism position paper elsewhere on this site.]

  • Promoting peace on the Korean Peninsula through outside-the-lines (or actually ‘redrawing’ the lines) concessions and compromise.  Also, stepped up humanitarian help to North Korea.

  • In the face of China’s barbaric “forced abortions,” regular torture and killing of Christians and other “dissidents”… our administration would lobby to reverse the “favorable trade status” with China and impose sanctions until the torture and killing stop.

  • Streamline the immigration system, making it as quick and user-friendly as possible for people fleeing poverty, violence, political persecution from Mexico and Latin America (not to mention scores of other countries).

  • We have had a strategic reliance with Saudi Arabia, yet it is a monarchy replete with all kinds of human rights violations. Our administration would push to stop arms sales to Saudi Arabia and we would push to stop using Saudi Arabian oil – because his dependence is forcing us to look the other way on all these human rights issues.

  • Stop espionage efforts against Russia.  (If we don’t want them spying on us, let’s stop spying on them.)  Reduce our nuclear arsenal exponentially at this time, whether Russia follows suit, or not.  Mobilize a huge humanitarian aid effort into Russia (including a large U.S./Russia Sister Cities Project) to help them with their transition into democracy, which has been extremely hard.

  • Massive overfishing is depleting the oceans way too fast these days, primarily by developed countries – leaving poorer countries reliant on subsistence fishing in the lurch.  We would push for a “new ocean ethic.”  There would be tremendously stepped up environmental conservation efforts in American waters, in tandem with working with such international agencies as the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, which oversees fish harvest in this regions of the ocean.

  • Respond quickly to the “global water crisis.”  There are one billion people without access to clean drinking water – and millions die of this each year.  Our administration would push for Americans to rigorously conserve water here (as they are doing in California for the drought).  The savings would then go toward outreach work to drill wells, put in clean drinking water stations, and so on – in the Third World.

  • Some 3,000 children die of malaria each day in Africa, one every 30 seconds.  And malaria threatens half the world’s population.  Our administration would strongly get behind the World Health Organization’s “Roll Back Malaria” campaign. The goal being:  “A malaria free world.”

  • Other international issues we’d tackle vigorously would include: climate change (see our position paper on the environment); adequate housing for everyone; adequate healthcare for everyone; enough food for everyone...

 

 

 

*Note:  For this position paper, I’ve taken sample geopolitical, and sample humanitarian outreach, examples from a wide swath of international issues.  While obviously in no means inclusive, this will give a good feel for how our administration would approach foreign policy in general.

 

Foreign Policy

 
          

The following paper includes:  1) Overall Philosophy2)  North (and South) Korea; 3) China; 4) Mexico and Latin America; 5) Saudi Arabia; 6) Russia; 7) Ocean Crisis; 8) Global Water Crisis; 9) Malaria
 

1) Overall Philosophy:

 

            Our administration’s foreign policy would revolve around working toward the common good, for everyone worldwide.  That is, everyone would have enough in regard to adequate shelter, food, safe drinking water, a clean environment…

            Ethics would trump unchecked capitalism.  It is unchecked capitalism, for the most part, that is dominant now.

            On a stop in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, we met with Robert Waldrop, who ran for mayor as an independent here.  He took his personal time to run for mayor, he said, to have a voice in highlighting issues of the poor in Oklahoma City – even though he knew there was virtually no chance of him winning.  (And he didn’t.) 

And as Mr. Waldrop is concerned about the poor in Oklahoma City, he is concerned about the poor worldwide.

            In an interview for the book Spiritual Perspectives on Globalization, Waldrop said what we should aim at globally is dismantling legal barriers that separate peoples and develop solidarity with the people of the world, as a start.

            An example of living in solidarity:

            Kathy Darnell did the latter.  In Durango, Colorado, we talked to Ms. Darnell, who had just returned from a humanitarian aid trip to Uganda.  To be in solidarity, she lived with a family in rural Uganda.  She slept on a burlap bag on a hut’s dirt floor, with five children, a mother and a father.  (Five of the family members have AIDS.)  She ate meager meals with them, braved the continual possibility of contracting malaria…

            She then came back to Colorado with pictures and a poignant talk about what she experienced, so others could enter into some form of “solidarity” with these poverty stricken people as well.  What’s more, members of her church were moved enough to set up an initiative to help this village.

            A second prong for Waldrop, as it would be for our administration, is that we shouldn’t in any way exploit the poor and their resources “…driving them to the point of desperation,” said Waldrop.

            An example of exploiting the poor:

            I attended a seminar on global economics by Bluffton University Economics Professor Jim Harder.  Professor Harder said American corporate farming has become so big and efficient that it can now undercut a subsistence farmer in Guatemala selling to a local market up the road. (And regularly does.)

            President Obama recently said we can “…out compete anyone in the world!”  With our administration, that wouldn’t be the rallying cry, much less the intent.  We would push for capitalism with “moral restraint,” so the subsistence farmer and his family in Guatemala continued to be able to have enough.

            In the short term (until more business people had developed “moral constraint” on their own), our administration would impose things like more export tax on food going out of America, and we would push for constraints on free trade that evened the playing field for developing countries.

            An example of exploiting the poor’s resources:

            There was recently an AP story about Sabodala, Senegal.  A group of people had subsistence farms there.  These farms had been in the family for generations.  Then nine gold deposits were discovered in a 14-mile corridor on this land.  A big Canadian Company called Oromin Exploration Limited (although it just as easily could have been an American company), was given a 15-year lease from the Senegal government to mine there.  (There could be as much as 10 million ounces of gold in the area, according to the article.)

            Few of these farmers had documentation for their fields because the local chiefs apportion land and don’t provide written titles to small scale farmers.  These farmers were forced off their land, with no compensation even.

            The latter has happened in a few different forms.  For instance with the advent of industrialization, according to one college text book, the powerful European countries would subdue smaller nations and leave behind a controlling force to exploit their labor and natural resources.  And the European countries would send people to run the government.

            The U.S., after it industrialized, usually chose to plant “corporate flags” in a colony and let its corporations dominate the territory’s government, again, to exploit labor and natural resources.  (Central and South America are prime examples of such U.S. economic colonies, according to the book.)

            So, basically, it becomes the same thing.  That is, manipulation to get as much as we can from these other countries – for ourselves.

            Our administration would work hard to change this, as we would work hard to change our military stance.

            New military stance:

            During a call in segment I got in a mini debate with Ronald Reagan’s former Secretary of State, James Baker, on a National Public Radio show.  He said what dominates American foreign policy is the principle of “Peace through Strength.”  That is, the stronger our military, the better we’re able to defend ourselves, and liberty, both here and around the world,  so more than half of our national budget at this point goes to Defense expenditures.

            Meanwhile, some 24,000 people starve to death every day in the world; over one billion people live in slums; over one billion people don’t have access to clean drinking water; global warming hangs over us like a scary doomsday scenario...

             It’s our belief that it shouldn’t be peace through military strength anymore, but rather peace through strength, of character.  That is, we’d ask Americans to sacrifice a bit of their security at home by significantly cutting back on the military and funding way more projects to help the poor of the world.  We so esteem people who lay down their lives for others (like the firefighters climbing the Twin Towers to almost certain death on 9/11).  And we believe this should be better represented in our collective foreign policy as well – not just among soldiers, for instance.

            And these following sections will explain, among other things, some tangible ways to do that.

           

2) North (and South) Korea

    

          There has been continual tension between North and South Korea. Several years ago, the North fired deadly missile salvos into South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island as an example.

          According to a New York Times op/ed piece by Selig Harrison, this military engagement came over a disputed sea boundary.  This was a line that was hastily imposed by the U.N. after the Korean Conflict. It, in effect, gave the best fishing grounds to South Korea.

It’s Harrison’s contention that if the fishing grounds were refashioned in a more equitable way, some of the tension would ease.  And what’s more, the U.S. President has the authority to redraw the line, based on a July 7, 1950 United Nations Security Council resolution designating the U.S. as the executive agent.

          As president, I would do what Harrison suggests and consult with both Seoul and Pyongyangon as to where to set the boundary based on mutual agreement.  Not only would this ease tensions, Harrison added, it would also set the stage for negotiation between the U.S., North Korea and China on a peace treaty that would replace the temporary armistice and formally end the Korean War.

          Now obviously redrawing the geographic line will short South Korea some fish.  To help lubricate the peace process there (which could also mean an end to nuclear proliferation on the Korean Peninsula – benefiting everyone worldwide), common sense says that an international fund be established – or at the very least a U.S. fund – for compensation to some of the South Korean fishermen (and others in the industry) who would be affected by the redrafting of the line.

          On the “global equitability” front, I interviewed a family in Portsmouth, Ohio, who had taken in a South Korean exchange student. The student had told the family that comparatively speaking, the lifestyles in South Korea are far less than in America.  He said, for instance, that while the norm for an average size family in America is, say, a two or three bedroom home; for an average size family in South Korea it’s a cramped two bedroom apartment.  So many of us could, indeed, sacrifice some of our lifestyle here to help finance this international fund for South Korea, bringing about more peace and more global equitability.

And we could sacrifice to help those in North Korea more. 

          A New Yorker Magazine writer recently interviewed “Song-Lee,” (late teens) who had fled to China from North Korea illegally.  Her father had worked in the iron mines in North Korea and their regular meals were white rice.  Once or twice a month, Song-Lee said they would get an egg on top of the bowl of rice.

          What’s more the electricity was almost never on during the day, because North Korea is subject to chronic fuel shortages.  Her school was almost always cold in the winter. It had three computers, but they were never turned on because of the electricity shortages.  She would practice on them by moving her fingers on the key board.

          Song-Lee left her home, her family, because of this grinding poverty and little hope for it becoming better.

          Our administration would ask Americans to cut back exponentially on energy use and take some of the savings to fund an initiative to get more energy help to the North Koreans (including a lot more “green” energy).  And we would propose funding, in the short term, “fish farms” for North (and South) Korea, similar to what we saw in Dade City, Florida.  There is a “teaching fish farm” here called Morning Star Fisherman, which is a Christian non-profit.  It is designed to grow tilapia fish, the highest protein content of any fish.  And people from impoverished countries all over the world come here to learn the techniques and go back with seed money to start similar farms.

           Consequently, in North Korea, the bowls of rice would regularly be a lot more nutritious, and this would be another way to supplement some of the loss of fishing territory in South Korea.

           Beyond these, our administration would also ask for more help to Habitat for Humanity.  In Comers, Georgia, I interviewed Don Mosley who was a former Peace Corps Director in Korea.  He, Jimmy Carter, and others, are currently working with Louisiana’s Fuller Center to build homes for low-income people in North Korea.

           Mosley said he believes the key to building peace worldwide revolves around a lot more humanitarian outreach that would, again, bring more equitability.

           Our administration would agree.

            

3) China

 

            The human rights record in Communist China is absolutely abysmal.

            Example:  China has a “One Child Policy” which includes scores of forced abortions.  (China has had 130 million abortions in the past 30 years.)

            A vignette (according to World Magazine):  Wujian became pregnant without the necessary birth permit.  She went into hiding, but was tracked down.  She was located and forced into a grisly hospital with other women facing the same fate.  She begged for her child’s life, as doctors pulled the baby apart with scissors.  She caught a glimpse of the bloody foot of her nearly full-term child.

            “Through my tears, the picture of the bloody foot was engraved into my eyes and into my heart,” she lamented.

            How absolutely barbaric this is, as are the abortions in America.  What makes this even more heinous is many of these in China are “forced” abortions.

            Then there is the treatment of those speaking out against the oppression.

            According to a New York Times article, Gao Zhisheng was one of China’s most high profile human rights lawyers.  However, he quickly ran afoul of authorities when he started representing members of the unofficial, underground Christian Church there.  (These Christians are under tremendous persecution there.)

            In his first “disappearance,” Zhisheng was shocked and beaten almost continuously. He was release and went back to standing up for the rights of the Christians.  He was taken into custody again – and nobody has heard from him since.

            Then there’s China’s Liu Xiaobo, a college professor serving an 11 year prison sentence on subversion charges for urging sweeping changes to Beijing’s one Party Communist system.  He was awarded the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize, but was not allowed to attend the ceremony.

            The NY Times reports that the Chinese Communist Party has become emboldened in recent years by its new found economic prowess. And America’s leverage on human rights began dissipating in 2001 after China was admitted to the world Trade Organization, and Congress surrendered the right to review China’s human rights record before granting it “favorable trade status.”

            Our administration would lobby, hard, to reverse the “favorable trade status” with China.  Economics must never trump human rights.  Yet that’s what we are allowing now.  Also, the American consumer is tremendously culpable in all this.  We have become extremely addicted to cheap products coming out of China.  The cheaper the product, the more money we often have to buy yet more things.  It’s simple greed.

            So while the wheels of politics were turning to reverse the favorable trade status with China (and this could take awhile), we would call on the American consumer – through a series of public education initiatives – to boycott products coming out of China.

            The up-side of all this, is that (in part) it would move more people here into “buying American,” which would create more jobs here.  And it would be a critical piece in realigning economics in general in the country.

            Granted, China has invested in a lot of U.S. Treasury debt.  And if this was “called in,” it would force America to ramp up its tax giving in the short term to cover it, meaning many people would have to sacrifice more.  Yet what becomes redeeming in this is: The sacrifice is to help stop forced dismemberment of babies, as well as Christians and human rights advocates being tortured and killed.

            I mean, if you want a human rights cause to sacrifice for… what could be more important?

 

 4) Mexico and Latin America

 

            There are some 400,000 people illegally crossing into Mexico from Latin America every year, according to the Mexican National Institute on migration.  Some 150,000 are heading to the U.S.  Likewise, many Mexicans are illegally crossing into the U.S. as well every year.

            Why are they coming?

            Well, a majority are coming because of poverty, political oppression, escalating violence…

            Let’s take the Latin American country of Nicaragua.  In Cleveland, I interviewed Bridgette Kelly who went to Managua, Nicaragua as part of a Witness for Peace trip.  She said:  “Never have I been in such a big city where there was such dire poverty.  Everyone seemed thin, tremendously hungry.”

            And bear in mind, Ms. Kelly was saying this from Cleveland, Ohio, which at the time of the interview, was the poorest city in America. Yet it in no way compared to the dire poverty in Managua.

            Actually in contrast, 66% of Americans are now overweight and 33% of them are considered “obese.”

            A Maryknoll priest from Vermont, who works in Cambodia (one of the poorest countries in the world), told me he considers many Americans to be “food terrorists.”  That is, we spend billions of dollars on non-nutritional junk food every year and billions of dollars on over nutrition – while people in Nicaragua are malnourished and stick thin.

            Our administration would launch a massive “Eating is a Moral Act Campaign,” to tremendously raise Americans’ awareness about this global disparity – including some of the endemic issues about why people are coming north.  We would then exhort people to take some of this money they’re saving on food to help with agricultural sustainability projects in these countries south of the border.  This could include more urban farms, community gardens, and better ways to maximize crop potential in rural areas.

            Some of this money, besides being disbursed through American Government foreign aid help (which should be stepped up tremendously), could go to “Sister Church Projects.”  I met with Minnesotans Ed and Betty Bryce who went to the small rural village of San Pedro, Nicaragua, to help with several building projects through their church.  Ed said there was no running water, no electricity, no sewage systems there.  When you match that up with how we live here, there’s a lot of room for sacrifice so these people can have, at least, the bare minimum of what we have.

            It’s our contention that people often don’t want to leave their family, their community, their country… But if their children are hungry, well, that becomes a tremendous driving force.

            The same goes for parents who have children in harm’s way.

            In LaGrange, Georgia, we visited the “Alterna Community,” a cluster of homes for legal, and illegal, immigrants.  Activist, and founder, Anton Flores introduced us to a family who had recently come here from Mexico City.

            The family had young children.  The mother said the family lived in a small apartment in Mexico City, and it was tremendously unsafe (crime, drug cartels, frequent shootings…) on the streets there.  She said her and her husband, who worked on a delivery truck making so little money it was impossible for them to move, became more and more desperate in regard to their children’s safety.

            On the one hand, our administration would push for Immigration Reform across the board to make it as user friendly as possible for these kinds of families to come to America.  But more systemic, and it ties into what was said above, we would try to marshal a lot more resources, and help in general, for Mexican and Latin American cities.  This would be somewhat akin to the Marshall Plan put forward by America to help with the reconstruction of Europe after World War II.

            As Americans sacrificed for the war effort, and for the rebuilding of Europe, we would ask Americans to do the same with this.  For in essence, the drug cartel violence (which has reached “war” proportions – 21,000 drug cartel related deaths in Mexico last year), and the continual rebel/government clashes in some of these other countries – are our fault.  You read that right.

            That is, we create the demand for drugs on this side of the border, which sets in motion a deadly domino effect south of the border. Likewise, our hoarding of money and resources on this side of the border (as opposed to working for much more equal distribution), has allowed for a lot of poverty and desperation south of the border. In turn, citizen rebel groups have started up to fight their governments (and the small percentage of the more well off people behind the governments) who are keeping an inordinate share. 

            Common sense says if America was more distributist with the excessive wealth we have (by comparison to these other countries), this government hoarding wouldn’t be as great in the Latin American countries. In other words, it would be closer to a situation where everyone had enough.       

            Note:  As mentioned toward the end of the intro to this paper, one of the things that happens in developing countries is the land is frequently taken – often without any, or much, compensation – from rural farmers, and so on, to harvest natural resources (gold, coal, oil…) that may have been discovered on the land.  This will often lead to rebel uprisings, and the like.

            In another scenario, land can be lost in the wake of, say, a Free Trade agreement.  In El Paso, Texas, we met with Fr. Justus Wirth at Bacon College.  He teaches about issues in Mexico.  He told us that the year NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) passed the Mexican government stopped giving small subsidies to subsistence farmers in the interior of Mexico.

            As a result, some 15 million people lost their land, land that had often been in the family for generations.  And they had no where to move except the border towns where the multi-national factories were going up in the wake of NAFTA.  (These factories needed cheap labor.)

            So people moved to massive slums in places like Juarez, where we toured.  Moms and Dads were now working two shifts at $3 a shift (not an hour) and the kids were roaming the streets.  Not only were these people mired in poverty, but the breakdown of the family is accelerating at a rapid pace.

            Our administration would look to try to reverse this.

            First, we’d work to repeal NAFTA.

            In tandem, we would look to a model that’s working in the country of Colombia.

            According to a recent Associated Press article, new Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has spearheaded a successful drive to return nearly 16 million acres taken from peasants during the war there.  And he is offering $20,000 in restitution to victims of the war.

            The AP noted that land ownership has been a root cause of Colombia’s violence and has been the steady demand of leftist guerillas for almost 50 years.  Santos is redistributing land from the hands of a few elites.  (The land had been stolen by para-military death squads.)

            It is our belief that America, in concert with the Mexican government (and some Latin American governments in similar situations), could help fund, and orchestrate, what happened in Colombia.  This would bring a lot more stability, and social justice, to this part of the world.

           

            

 
 
 
 

More than one billion people worldwide don’t have access to clean drinking water. And many die as a result. Our administration would ramp up help to these people exponentially. [crisisboom.com photo]

One million people die of malaria every year there, a majority of them children. America could impact this way more than it does. [dunyanews.tv photo]

 *Joe has done considerable research on foreign policy over the years.  For his take on the countries of the world, A to Z, see...