Elizabeth Warren’s “Foreign Policy”

Yves here. I hate to seem unduly hard on Warren, but she has made having detailed and supposedly well informed policy positions here calling card. This post by Ilargi examines one she volunteered, as opposed to backed into by being questioned in an interview or a debate.

By Raúl Ilargi Meijer. an editor at Automatic Earth. Originally published at Automatic Earth

Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev first met in Geneva in 1985, in a summit specifically designed to allow them to discuss diplomatic relations and the -nuclear- arms race. At the time, the Soviet Union had started to crumble, but it was still very much the Soviet Union. They met again in 1986 in Reykjavik, in a summit set up to continue these talks. There, they came close to an agreement to dismantle both countries’ nuclear arsenals.

They met once again in Washington in 1987. That was the year Reagan made his famous “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” speech about the Berlin wall. Then they held a next summit in 1988 in Moscow, where they finalized the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) after the US Senate’s ratification of the treaty in May 1988.

Reagan’s successor George H.W. Bush met with Gorbachev first in December 1989 in Malta, and then the two met three times in 1990, among others in Washington where the Chemical Weapons Accord was signed, and in Paris where they signed the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe. They met three more times in 1991, with one of their meetings, in Moscow, resulting in the signing of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START I).

One of the most interesting things agreed on during the Bush-Gorbachev meetings was that Russia would allow Germany to re-unite after the wall came down, in exchange for the promise that NATO would not try to expand eastward.

I’ve been re-researching this a bit because it feels like it’s high time that people should realize what US foreign policy was like not that long ago. Even as it involved Reagan and Bush sr., not exactly the peace-mongers of their times. The one thing that was clear to all parties involved is that it was crucial to keep meeting and talking. And talk they did. But look at us now. When was the last summit of a US president with Vladimir Putin?

This came to mind again when I read Elizabeth Warren’s piece in the Guardian today, which made me wonder if she’s for real, if she is really as ignorant as she appears to be when it comes to foreign policy, to Russia, to Trump and to NATO. It would seem that she is, and that makes her a hazard. Not that I see her as a serious candidate, mind you, but then again, I do not see any other one either.

In her article, which reads more than anything like some nostalgic longing for the good old times when she was young, just watch her get all warm and fuzzy over the success of NATO:

Donald Trump Has Destroyed American Leadership – I’ll Restore It

For seven decades, America’s strength, security and prosperity have been underpinned by our unmatched network of treaty alliances, cemented in shared democratic values and a recognition of our common security. But after three years of Donald Trump’s insults and antics, our alliances are under enormous strain. The damage done by the president’s hostility toward our closest partners was on full display at this week’s gathering of NATO leaders in London, which should have been an unequivocal celebration of the 70th anniversary of the most successful alliance in history.

The success of NATO was not inevitable, easy or obvious. It is a remarkable and hard-won accomplishment, and one based on a recognition that the United States does not become stronger by weakening our allies. But that is just what Trump has done, repeatedly and deliberately. He treats our partners as burdens while embracing autocrats from Moscow to Pyongyang. He has cast doubt on the US commitment to NATO at a moment when a resurgent Russia threatens our institutions and freedoms. He has blindsided our partners on the ground in Syria by ordering a precipitate and uncoordinated withdrawal.

[..] he has wrecked US credibility by unilaterally tearing up our international agreements on arms control, non-proliferation and climate change. This reckless disregard for the benefits of our alliances comes at a perilous moment, when we face common threats from powerful adversaries probing the weaknesses of our institutions and resolve. Longstanding allies in Asia are doubting our reliability and hedging their bets. Russia’s land grab in Ukraine has upended the post-1989 vision of a Europe “whole, free, and at peace”. The chaotic Brexit process has consumed our closest partners, while sluggish growth and rising xenophobia fuel extremist politics and threaten to fracture the European Union.

To start with that last point, no. That “post-1989 vision of a Europe “whole, free, and at peace” was destroyed by NATO’s eastward expansion, executed in spite of US, EU and NATO promises that it wouldn’t. Moreover, you can talk about a resurgent Russia, but the country has hardly recovered economically from the 1980’s and 90’s today, and it has no designs on countries to its west.

Just look at the military budgets of the respective countries, where Russia has maybe 10% of the expenditure of the US, let alone the rest of NATO, and you get the picture. Is Russia getting more bang for its buck, because it doesn’t have to maintain a long running Pentagon-Boeing/Raytheon link? Yes, it does. But a 10 to 1 difference is still way out there. It’s not as if they spend half of what the US does, they spend just 10%.

This is because not only Russia doesn’t have to satisfy the desires and needs of Pentagon-Boeing/Raytheon, it’s also because they have no desire to conquer any territory that is not at present Russian.

Russia “annexed” Crimea through fair elections, and it knew that “we” knew that it would never let go of its only warm water port, Sevastopol. When “We” tried to take it away regardless, it did the only thing it could do. And it did it very intelligently. As for Eastern Ukraine, everyone there is Russian, whether by blood or by passport. And there are a lot of strong ties between them and Russians in Russia proper.

If Putin would have volunteered to let these Donbass Russians be shot to bits by the Ukraine neo-nazis that helped the US and EU in the Maidan coup, he would have had either a civil war in Russia, or an all-out war in the Donbass, with perhaps millions of casualties. Putin did what he could to prevent both. Back to Warren:

A mounting list of global challenges demand US leadership and collective action. As president, I will recommit to our alliances – diplomatically, militarily and economically. I will take immediate action to rebuild our partnerships and renew American strategic and moral leadership, including by rejoining the Paris climate accord, the United Nations compact on migration, and reaffirming our rock-solid commitment to NATO’s Article 5 provisions.

But we must do more than repair what Trump has broken. Instead we need to update our alliances and our international efforts to tackle the great challenges of our age, from climate change and resurgent authoritarianism to dark money flows, a weakening international arms control regime and the worst human displacement crisis in modern history.

Wait, what exactly has Trump broken in the foreign policy field? There have been dozens at the very least who have called for NATO to be disbanded, Ron Paul et al, because its sole purpose was to counter the Soviet Union, which no longer exists. In fact, when Emmanuel Macron labeled NATO “brain-dead” last week, it was Trump who defended the alliance.

And sorry, Elizabeth, but to hold Trump responsible for “the worst human displacement crisis in modern history” is just not right. That started way before he arrived at the scene. Obama and Hillary carry the burden and blame for that, along with Bush jr. and Dick Cheney. They shot the crap out of Iraq, Lybia etc. Trump only dumped a few bombs in a desert. He didn’t invade any country, he didn’t go “We Came, We Saw, He Died”. That was not Trump.

And before we forget, the military aid for Ukraine Trump allegedly held back for a few weeks had been refused by Obama for years. I’ve been wondering for ages now why the Democrats are so eager to make things up while ignoring simple facts, but I think at least it’s time to start pointing out these issues.

This is not to make Trump look better in any sense, but to try and make people understand that he did not start this thing. Though yeah, I know, it’s like talking to a wall by now. The political divide has turned into such a broad and yawning one, you can’t not wonder how it could ever be broached.

But, you know, it might help if people like Elizabeth Warren don’t ONLY talk about Trump like he’s the antichrist, or a Putin tool, if they engage with him in conversation. But sadly, it feels like we’re past that point. Like if she would even try, and I don’t know if she would want to, her party would spit her out just for trying to build a single bridge. Like Tulsi Gabbard seems to have tried; and look at how the DNC treats her.

This means revitalizing our state department and charging our diplomats to develop creative solutions for ever more urgent challenges. It means working with like-minded partners to promote our shared interest in sustained, inclusive global economic growth and an international trade system that protects workers and the environment, not just corporate profits. And it means reducing wasteful defense spending and refocusing on the areas most critical to our security in years to come.

Well, apart from the fact that we’ve seen some of those diplomats in the Schiff hearings, and they seemed like the least likely people to develop anything “creative” -other than their opinions-, and the boondoggle of “sustained, inclusive global economic growth”, it’s probably best to forget about that entire paragraph. It’s nicer to Warren too.

Alliances are not charities, and it’s fair to ask our partners to do their share. I will build on what President Obama started by insisting on increased contributions to NATO operations and common investments in collective military capabilities. But I will also recognize the varied and significant ways that European states contribute to global security – deploying troops to shared missions, receiving refugees, and providing development assistance at some of the highest per capita rates in the world.

The problem appears to be that the partners don’t increase their contributions. Just this March, Germany refused to do just that. And if Berlin refuses, why would other countries spend more?

The next president must tackle our common problems using the lessons of common defense. Together, we can counter terrorism and proliferation. We can make common cause in constructing new norms and rules to govern cyberspace. We can dismantle the corruption, monopolies and inequality that limit opportunity around the world and take on the increasingly grave threats to our environment. We can and will protect ourselves and each other – our countries, our citizens and our democracies.

Now we’re getting into entirely nonsensical territory, with words and sentences designed only to make people feel good about things that have no substance whatsoever. Anyone can go there, anyone can do that.

In the meantime, the neverending investigations into Trump, Russia, Ukraine, taxes, have had one major effect: he hasn’t had a chance to have a summit with Putin. And that, to go back to how I started out this essay, is the worst idea out there. If Reagan and Bush sr. did those summits all the time, then why do we now think such summits are the work of the devil?

And yeah, we get it, we got it again last week from alleged law expert Pamela Karlan in the House, who let ‘er rip on the dangers Putin poses to all of humanity, and of course she would never trust Trump to hold any such summit because he’s Putin’s puppet.

What Pamela, and all the MSM, and the Dems, and the FBI/CIA, appear to refuse to see, though, is that Trump was democratically elected by the American people to be the only one who can have any such conversation. Karlan again talked about how Russia would attempt to attack American soil unless “we” keep them from doing that.

Now I can say that is absolute bollocks, and it is, but how many -potential- Democratic voters will recognize that at this point? They’ve been trained to believe it. That Russia wants one US presidential candidate over another, or one UK one, or fill in your country, and therefore they want to invade the US, UK, etc. In reality, Russia has plenty problems of its own, and it’s slowly trying to solve them.

The two countries need to start talking to each other again, and the sooner the better. That it will happen under Elizabeth Warren, however, is very unlikely. First because she has her mind made up about Russia, and second because the likelihood of her becoming president is very low. What do you think, is that a good thing?

If for some reason -who can tell- she would end up winning 11 months from now, do you think she’s likely to establish a peace treaty with Russia? You know, given what she wrote here? And if not, why would you vote for her? Don’t you want peace? Do you think antagonizing Putin forever is a good idea? While Russia continues to outperform America in arms development, and in just about any field? While Russia only wants peace?

Good questions, ain’t they, as we move into 2020?!












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  1. kimyo

    chris hedges (video):

    Hedges contends that the sickness of our political system is ultimately bipartisan and may prove terminal. “We’re in a very, very serious moment in American history,” he says, “where I don’t see—certainly through the electoral system—a way out.”

    the best gift we can give ourselves this season is the gift of ignoring wrestlemania 2020. imagine no breathless minute by minute poll analysis. imagine not having to make excuses up for sanders as he stands idly by while hillary tags him as being a russian asset.

    we are in desperate need of solutions. none will be found in a voting booth. participation only gives the apparatus the ability to falsely claim a ‘mandate from the people’.

  2. John A

    I agree with every word of your article.
    It is remarkable how western intelligence analysts, diplomats and journalists are all either incredibly ignorant or willfully misleading in their portrayal of Putin and Russia. It was a similar story in Britain over the weekend about the ‘leaked’ documents Corbyn presented showing how Britain was eager to sell out the NHS and food safety etc., to US interests. Nobody has claimed the documents are faked but on the basis of a Nato/Atlantic council paid source saying he ‘believes’ Russia could have been behind the leak, all the mainstream media ran with Russian aggression/election interference etc., instead of reporting on the contents of the documents. Sad times.

    1. Dwight

      British physician Dr Rob Gill is an excellent source of information and analysis on NHS privatization, including the giveaway of immensely valuable health data to Amazon. (Interviewed at Around the Empire podcast) Next he’ll be accused of being Putin’s asset or useful idiot, if he already hasn’t been. Utterly despicable, both the NHS heist and the Russia Russia Russia propaganda.

      1. xkeyscored

        Despicable, yes, but predictably so. ‘They’ (the elite/ruling class/capital/the 1%) face the possibility of Corbyn winning the election, and they’re not going to take that lying down.

  3. Altandmain

    Unfortunately, this bodes very poorly for a potential Warren Presidency. She seems like she will largely continue the status quo.

    At best, she is ignorant due to her background not specializing in foreign policy.

    At worst, her foreign policy will look more like the Clintons, Bushes, Obama, etc. It may result in her being goaded by the Establishment to do what they tell her to do.

    The best possible outcome would be someone like Tulsi Gabbard as VP. The worst is that she ends up subservient to the Blob and her president largely ineffective. What”s worse, the Establishment would use that as proof that electing a legitimate left wing president would not be any different.

  4. russell1200

    Trump is a disaster for our foreign policy.

    Trump is at times correct in his assessment of the situation. But he changes back and forth so often in his goals, that it is hard to know what exactly he is trying to do at times. Why did he defend NATO exactly?

    That doesn’t mean that a retread H. Clinton foreign policy would be a good one.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      I’m kinda thinking that the trade war with China is looong overdue.

      Seems pretty damn successful so far.

      (Unless you’re a farmer…but farmers been getting the short end forever. Might be worth the pain if Trump can open the Chinese market.)

      1. cnchal

        > . . . open the Chinese market.

        For whom and what reason? I have my suspicions, which center around Wall Street running their cons with impunity. In that light, all peasants are runway foam.

    2. ObjectiveFunction

      The deranged chorus of over the top Russia-bashing, culminating in the impeachment circus, is a far greater “disaster for our foreign policy” than anything Trump himself has said or done in 3 years. Our entire mandarinate is discrediting itself day by day.

      It also highlights 30 years of poor American conduct across the FSU, from the Harvard Boys through Hunter B. At best feckless, at worst predatory.

      And talk about skewed priorities: America has lost about 2/3 of the economic basis of its superpower status to East Asia and counting, yet we obsess over a developmentally stagnant region that barely registers in terms of trade?

      Trump isn’t draining the Swamp, but he has made its malignant stench impossible to ignore.

    3. xkeyscored

      Why exactly is Trump is a disaster for your foreign policy? As the article points out, he hasn’t started any wars or invaded anywhere, unlike so many of his predecessors.

      1. wilroncanada

        Punitive tariffs and embargoes are war by other means. Which means trump has declared war on Canada, much of Central America, much of South America, The EU, Iran, China, Russia, parts of Africa, and others. He is as much a post facto mouthpiece of the BLOB as has been every other US Legislative and Executive branch for the last 80 years.

        1. xkeyscored

          I fully agree, but how do these tariffs and embargoes compare with the outright wars initiated by previous presidents? US foreign policy has been disastrous for decades.

        2. John Wright

          I simply did not know that the US had declared, via Trump, war on so much of the world, including our northern neighbor Canada.

          When does a tariff cross over from non-punitive to punitive?

          Or are all tarifs punitive?

          Speaking only for myself, I’d rather have an adversary that uses tariffs/embargoes to conduct their “war” than bombs and artillery.

          Such an adversary might not be as harmful to human life, as Cuban citizens have survived despite a US embargo that began on February 7, 1962.

          One might also argue that if Trump truly WERE “as much a post facto mouthpiece of the BLOB as has been every other US Legislative and Executive branch for the last 80 years.” TPTB would not be trying so hard to remove him.

          1. HotFlash

            I maintain that Trump’s foreign policy, or rather lack thereof, is as incoherent as his other decrees, decisions, executive orders and tweets. Often he’s wrong, but sometimes he’ll say or do the right thing, sometimes even for the right reasons. The Blob is terrified — he’s a loose cannon with a whim of iron. It seems I was correct when I characterized the 2016 election as betw chaotic neutral and lawful evil.

    4. Amfortas the hippie

      as if “our foreign policy” was something to be proud of before him.
      we were yelling and waving a gun around in the back yard, now we’ve come around the house and into the front yard, where we yell and wave around a gun.
      the difference is cosmetic, at best.

      but! like others said or alluded to…all that disruption, from nato to wto to, now, ag policy…it all needed to be confronted and rejiggered. this was impossible with the duopoly in charge.
      how else was that supposed to happen?
      now that it is(at least a bit), it’s an opportunity to think and discuss what a “good” foreign policy would look like.
      trump’s idiot wind has made soft many of the “third rails”.
      all those assumptions we’re not supposed to examine(hence the breathless policing of memes)
      i’ve been against empire since i figgered out we were one, but that remains a touchy subject in the feedstore(unlike domestic political economy and a near universal disdain for the duopoly)
      shaking it up is an opening.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    It could be that she is genuinely clueless about foreign policy (even establishment FP types know most of this is nonsense), but I would read this as part of her silent wolf whistling to the establishment that she can be relied on, and that her presence on ‘the left’ is simply a stance needed to win the election.

    1. Carolinian

      Yes indeed. Stories have suggested that Warren has become big buddies with Hillary. It could be this speech is mere sock puppetry.

      So what is Sanders’ position on NATO? Any different?

  6. b-rar

    Russia “annexed” Crimea through fair elections,

    I can’t believe “annexed” is the scare-quoted word in this sentence.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You are not interpreting this correctly. The quotes are to indicate that the author is citing the conventional term but does not agree with it.

  7. Louis Fyne

    —When was the last summit of a US president with Vladimir Putin?—

    this is 100% on the the “progressive” left. It’s insane that Trump is actually the reasonable one on this. It’s insane that within 15 years, the left has gone from “Code Pink” to the FBI-NSA-CIA are defenders of the republic.

    Trump: “wouldn’t it be nice if we got along with Russia”
    John Oliver: “unfortunately, it’s not that __family blog___ easy….”


    1. Mike Elwin

      Hey, don’t forget that Trump keeps the contents of his meetings with Putin entirely secret even from his staff, he fails even to use a US translator. He’ll be suspected and blamed rightfully for that instead of being credited for withholding US bombast on “the Russian menace.”

      1. John Wright

        I found appalling that George W. Bush speechwriter (credited with originating the phrase “axis of evil”) David Frum had the opportunity to publish an editorial suggesting that the Trump-Putin interpreter should be subpoenaed.


        What should concern the world is what the USA does, not what Trump might say in his private conversations with Putin.

        For example, Trump could suggest it would be OK with him for Russia to purchase the Washington Monument and put the Russian flag on top, but that suggestion would need quite public follow on legislation to implement.

        What Trump actually does should be the concern of the “Impeach, Impeach, Impeach” Democrats, not what he might suggest he wants to do in a private conversation with a foreign leader.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          By all means, let’s get a full transcript of what FDR said to Churchill and Stalin after dinner at Yalta over brandy and cigars when the real dealmaking was done.

          Unfriggin believeable that some people think we should get 100% access to everything a president says or does on the one hand, while on the other hand letting minor bureaucrats run foreign policy on autopilot straight from Joseph McCarthy and Alan and JF Dulles through to the present day

          1. marym

            If the president is doing the public business, it’s really not a “private” conversation. There are (were? should be better?) laws and protocols for meetings and phone calls for who attends, who reviews the agenda, record keeping requirements, and read-outs.

            Alternatively, if it was some definition of a “private” conversation, wouldn’t the excuse for the Ukraine call, that the president was acting under his authority to conduct foreign policy, not apply? It can’t be both.

            (For the record, I think asking for dirt on political rivals isn’t foreign policy, and that impeachment over this while ignoring other corruption and self-dealing is a ridiculous stunt.)


    2. JB

      Only if you perceive the Democrats and establishment liberals as representing the left. I think that ship has long sailed though.

  8. Richard Hayes

    Every shipment of LNG to Europe is a shot at Russia. Trump attempting to kill the new gas pipeline from Russia to Germany was also a shot at Russia. And the Germans are falling into a potential trap–Russia at anytime can cut off that gas and cripple the German economy and chill thousands of households.

    We must remember that Merkel was from the East, grew up on East German propaganda with the help of Russia, so we can wonder about her ultimate goals.

    Russia is dependent on high oil prices to support their failing economy and a failed economy cannot support a mighty military, as the article points out. They may highlight supersonic missiles, but let’s see some. Recall that the Soviets supplied Saddam’s army and it took our Abrams tanks about 2 weeks to kill them all. The best of the east against the best of the west and the west won.

    1. The Rev Kev

      ‘Russia at anytime can cut off that gas and cripple the German economy and chill thousands of households.’

      That must be a favourite Russian tactic that. Rachel Maddow tried to warn her fellow Americans during a cold vortex last February that Russians could cut the power in the middle of it and freeze Americans to death. Luckily the Germans can trust a Trump never to cut LNG shipments on a whim-

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xi5YYZ9eocU (some language)

    2. salvo

      well, here in Germany, most people think that having to deal with a “potential” Russian trap is preferrable to being subject to the whims of a despotic, violent and erratic US empire

    3. xkeyscored

      Recall that the Soviets supplied Saddam’s army and it took our Abrams tanks about 2 weeks to kill them all.
      I recall it took two weeks for the USA’s shock and awe and Abrams tanks to invade Iraq. Years of death and destruction ensued. Most of Saddam’s army were not killed; the army was disbanded, and many went on to fight the US and other Iraqis, with many ending up in ISIS. The worst of the west v the worst of the Middle East and the chaos continues.

    4. JohnnySacks

      Best of the west? Are we going to try the Saddam game on Iran and see how it ends up? Saddam was child’s play and everyone knew it going in. At worst, lobbing his glorified bottle rocket Korean War vintage SCUDs eastward and Israelis blindly hoping our state of the art patriot missiles would shoot them down. Iran has armed itself with much better than Saddam ever had, and our military knows it. Any arrogant stupidity on our part for attacking Iran will be met with disaster, economic for our allies when the Strait of Hormuz is closed, and militarily by our navy feeding the fish in the Persian Gulf.

    5. NotTimothyGeithner

      Are you aware of Desert Shield? Do you know there was a six month bombing campaign with the cooperation of dozens of countries including the Soviets?

    6. RBHoughton

      The UK media daily insults Russia with mostly made-up stuff and yet is dependent on Russian energy every winter. It seems commerce is real news and the MSM is not.

  9. Lars Jorgensen

    It is clear that Warren and so many other Western politicians are much more interested in keeping themselves relevant to the corporate powers – which make wars, destroy nations and kill their own societies with neoliberal policies – than they are at standing up for doing something good for their own people and the world. Thanks for this one.

  10. John Hacker

    It seems to me there is a lot of whistling in the dark. US backing NATO is a simple through back to the MIC (military industrial complex) looking for more ways to suck money from our government. i was really intrested in how the author skipped over the cho-cho train from China to Turkey. MIC and the US Chamber of Commerce may be one in the same. Teton County Wyoming is pretty ritzy. Follow the money. Our intrest in tax avoidence rather than innovation is having us look in the wrong direction. Maybe we could see clearer looking ove the Pacific rather than the Atlantic.

  11. The Rev Kev

    She will flame out for a simple reason. She cannot match Trump in a debate and would implode. The other day she was at a rally when she was heckled by people in the audience. She literally shut down and had to be rescued by a Democratic party operative. You watched this and wondered what would have happened if she had Trump on the same stage as her. Sorry, another Jimmy Dore 5-minute video discussing this-


    She is literally not up to the job and there is no reason pretending otherwise.

  12. Fern

    Warren has made it very clear that she is going to continue the Clinton/Obama/Bush foreign policy. Here are a few things to think about:

    1) She has said in the past that Madeleine Albright is her main foreign policy mentor.

    2) She has said multiple times that Teddy Roosevelt is her “hero”. What a clear message. The domestic reformer and the father of U.S. imperialism.

    3) She posted a large photo of the hawkish, Iraq war-supporting Michelle Flournoy on Facebook which linked to a an article stating that Flournoy will be the Secretary of Defense in the next Democratic administration along with her commentary that we needed gender parity in the foreign policy field. Sounds like she’s going to appoint the dread Flournoy.


    4) She essentially says that the U.S. foreign policy was marvelous until the 1990’s, when we lost our way. This is consistent with Teddy Roosevelt as her chosen model. She seems to believe that we used to do imperialism right, and she intends to bring back the good old days.

    5) Her major foreign policy article in Foreign Affairs contains all the anti-Russian scare rhetoric of the bipartisan neoconservative consensus and hints at continued regime-change efforts.

    She holds to the idea that if she perceives a country to be different than us, then it will destroy us simply by virtue of being different. This is the standard nutty and dangerous mentality.

    For example, she writes:

    “From Hungary to Turkey, from the Philippines to Brazil … (their) marriage of authoritarianism and corrupt capitalism is a direct threat to the United States, because it undermines the very concept of democracy. It enables corruption to spread across borders and allows authoritarian leaders to foment a global crisis of confidence in democracy. Free and democratic societies, the United States’ included, risk sliding toward corruption and kleptocracy, becoming democracies in name only.  (Trump) shamefully kowtows to Putin, even in the face of Russian attacks on American democracy.”

    And she hints at more U.S. interventionism and meddling in the politics of other nations when she writes: “And we should stand with those who bravely fight for openness and pluralism in Moscow, Beijing, and beyond.”

    And of course she makes the obligatory threats:
    “In Europe, we should work with our allies to impose strong, targeted penalties on Russia for its attempts to subvert elections, and we should work to help our European allies develop energy independence” i.e., don’t by oil and gas from Russia; by it from us (she’s already lost that one).

    5) Based on all of the above, a number of neoconservatives like Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post and David Brooks of the New York Times have written glowingly of her.

    1. Amfortas the hippie

      “Free and democratic societies, the United States’ included, risk sliding toward corruption and kleptocracy, becoming democracies in name only.”

      it’s this sort of boilerplate, starry eyed nonsense that makes me hurl.
      “shining city on a hill”, and all.
      that it’s still both obligatory, and uncontroversial with the hoi polloi i root around with is why we can’t even think about doing better.

      1. inode_buddha

        “Free and democratic societies, the United States’ included, risk sliding toward corruption and kleptocracy, becoming democracies in name only.”

        You mean we aren’t already??? I mean, you have got to be kidding me, do these clown actually believe the stuff they write? When was the last time she got out somewhere?

    2. The Rev Kev

      Michelle Flournoy? Yeah, I remember her name. I believe that she was part of a group called “Hillary’s Harpies”.

  13. David

    I’ve no particular sympathy for Warren, but it’s fair to say that this sort of vacuous exercise, probably initially drafted by some intern, is about par for the course. In reality, any foreign policy statement has to cope with a number of crippling limitations that between them make the exercise effectively pointless.
    In spite of what you might think, statements of this kind are mostly for domestic consumption. So they are judged not by experts, and not in the context of the reality of actual foreign policy problems, but in terms of what the domestic political and media reaction will be, usually on the part of people who are pretty ignorant about foreign policy themselves. So the idea is to be as bland and uncontroversial and tell people what they expect to hear. Such statements are also going to be crawled over in detail by lobbyists for foreign states and various interest groups, so mustn’t have anything that could offend them. And finally such statements have to pretend that the country (in this case the US) actually has far more influence in the world and power to shape events than is actually the case, because telling the truth about such things is unacceptable. The reality is, and has been for a long time, that the US is virtually incapable of achieving anything positive outside its borders: all it can really do is obstruct and destroy. But it’s impossible to say that.
    In the end, foreign policy is what you do, not what you say, and I’m pretty sure that if Warren became President she would have a foreign policy pretty indistinguishable from those of her recent predecessors: there’s so much inertia in the system that in the end foreign policy is much more about how you respond to things you can’t control than it is to attempts to control things.

  14. Susan the Other

    Thanks for this info. I don’t follow her little performances. This one was obviously choreographed by the flailing, failing blob. It is the rhetoric of the 50s. Back then, in the 50s, (JF) Dulles (Sec State) was an outspoken proponent of third world development. He stated his position as a comparison of war or development and said that it is far more critical to win the alliance with under-developed countries and admitted that it was an intense competition for capitalists. He wasn’t a neoliberal but he was a photo-predator. All true. But since his time the development schtick turned into blatant neocolonialism. Simple as that. And in the process we turbo charged the Western economy, (mostly our own) into the critical mass we are struggling with today. The desperation to roll over debt started long ago. As well as climate change. If the oceans die off we’re screwed – for starters. So for Liz to be such a glib and shameless parrot about all this stuff is disgusting. We do not have another century to waste on this narcissism. She’s most certainly smart enough to know she’s pushing imperialism and clearly she thinks the rest of us won’t see it. That’s really annoying, no? It makes me question all of her other claims to leadership. And guilty hedges.

  15. Livius Drusus

    Sadly, anti-Russian hysteria seems to be part of the Democratic Party’s core election strategy now. They have painted Trump as a nefarious Russian stooge for so long now that they cannot back down without looking ridiculous. Apparently Warren is not exempt from this.

    It also doesn’t help that many American liberals don’t care much about foreign policy or are positively hawkish even if they support New Deal-style economic reform at home. Historically, this is not unusual since Democrats have long mixed foreign policy hawkishness with liberal economic reform at home going back to Truman.

    The Democratic Party is not really a genuine left-wing party and probably will never be one unless the country goes through some major changes and the Democratic base changes along with it. But right now American imperialism is still popular even with the general population. The military is by far the most popular institution in America today.

  16. PKMKII

    I don’t doubt that Putin seeks to influence politics in the regions Russia has historically influenced, particularly those countries at the western border. However, even with Putin being a strongman, that in and of itself is not a crime beyond the pale, or even a crime rising to the level of we’re not talking to you. Saudi Arabia is far more autocratic than Russia but we have no issue with them exerting influence over Middle East politics. And what they’ve done in Yemen, which America is a guilty party to, is exponentially more horrid than anything Russia did in Crimea.

    It all goes back to the foreign policy establishment categorizing “strong-arm dictatorships” versus “stabilizing influences in the region” on whether or not the leadership in said country is aligned with neoliberal American political and economic interests. Putin isn’t really any different than Yeltsin in terms of corruption and suppression of free society and democracy, the difference is that he was a patsy for America and that made him acceptable.

    (One quibble with the article: Trump was made president per the rules set forth in the constitution, which is not a democratic process)

  17. daresay

    China and the CCP/PLA are the biggest issue for the West and its allies. We need a policy of restraint that is tied to a realist view of the international order. Avoid reckless wars and husband resources. Strengthen alliances. Most importantly, we have to put our house in order. That means making this a more just society.
    We can do that by making healthcare universal with much lower cost. That allows resources to flow to more product parts of the economy and allows to invest in R&D, infrastructure and higher educational attainment. We need to rebuild our industrial base. We need to think in terms of comprehensive national power where the military is only a fraction of that equation. Need advances and investments across people, resiliency and tech.

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