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This article was written by Larry Peterson a former reporter at Savannah Morning News

"Our foreign-policy seems to have the reverse Midas touch.

Everything we handle these days appears to go awry. Consider Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and now Egypt.

In each country, we've faced damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't dilemmas.
We've been faulted---and have faulted ourselves for various failures, among them doing almost nothing, doing too little, too late and over-reacting.
But we often tend to measure our decisions with the wrong sort of yardsticks.
Be it oppression, climate change, religious intolerance, world hunger----you name it----we simply can't solve all the world's problems. If this sounds another way of saying that we can't be the world's policeman, thats because it is.

People often overlook this reality because most of the last seven decades has often seemed like a partial exception.

From the end of World War II until about 1990, when the Soviet Union collapsed with a hard push from Ronald Reagan, there were just two superpowers. And, for about another decade or so only one---the United States.

By then---if not since 1945---it felt empowered to act as the self appointed sheriff of Global Dodge City.

But meanwhile, some lessons should have been relearned.

They're especially valuable now because, as has been the historical norm, we have multiple major world powers. Examples: China, Japan, the European Economic Community, India, soon probably Brazil, and in its own perverse way, Islamic extremism.

The first lesson: Actions have both intended and unintended consequences. For example, Reagan's arming of the Taliban against Russian occupiers likely hastened the demise of the Soviet Union.

But it also strengthened the tribal group and eventually helped it enable the monsters who brought us 9/11.

The second: The Liberties we enjoy are the product of our own unique history. So it's folly to urge hopefully, as did George W. Bush, neoconservatives and many liberals before them, that other countries mirror our concepts of due process or consent of the governed.

The third: Our policy should reflect the differences between authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, as explained by the late Jeanne Kirkpatrick.

Petty dictatorships, like the current one in Egypt, are among the authoritarians.

They often brutally repress dissent, but mostly don't mess with groups that don't challenge their arbitrary or kleptocratic ways, Nor do they mess much with their neighbors.

But the totalitarians---like the folks who run Iran, used to run Russia, recently sought to run Egypt, and may well end up running Syria---stand in sharp contrast.

Inspired by political or religious fanaticism, they're driven to dictate details of people's everyday lives.

Moreover they seem compelled to inflict similarly repressive levels of control on other countries---including ours.

Such distinctions should influence how the United States wields its limited clout. Even while holding our noses, we can coexist with authoritarians.

Like them or not, they may be th only obstacles to worse and potentially more dangerous alternatives, such as the Muslim Brotherhood. A possible exception: Syria, which seems to pose hard questions and no easy answers.

That aside, we should resist and, when we have to, fight totalitarians.

The last lesson: Things change. Sometimes what once was wise no longer makes sense.

Case in point: Cuba, once a staging ground for Soviet missiles and long a sponsor of mischief in Latin America and Africa.

These days, it's eased up a bit on Catholics and dissidents. Moreover, having long lost its once-massive Soviet subsidies, it's no longer a threat beyond it's borders and has slipped from totalitarian to authoritarian status.

So there's little point in trying to isolate, undermine or harass it. That is, unless you count appeasing an aging, shrinking bloc of Cuban-American voters.

In any case, any successful American foreign police must do two things. First: protect vital American interests, such as preventing major powers from dominating areas near our borders; second Be acceptable to the American people.

As we ponder how to meet those criteria, here's something worth considering.


Adams, our sixth president, offered that counsel in 1821.

It's still good advice."

I thought some of our readers and contributors might enjoy reading the above. It was published in Savannah Morning News two or three weeks ago in the Sunday edition.

I am interested in all of your comments both pro and con, but please spare me, and the rest of us, the childish ignorance such as name calling and taunting me if you don't agree.

Latest Activity: Aug 30, 2013 at 8:38 AM

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timeontarget commented on Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 07:11 AM

"who reads yesterdays paper? Who wants yesterdays News?"

Although this is two or three weeks past when it was published in the Savannah paper I don't see it as yesterdays news.

I did not expect it to draw much positive commentary from our mostly hawkish participants on this site.

Thanks for your comment.

A friend of mine yesterday responded after reading and discussing the above article.

My friend said "Although I can't wait for Obama's tenure to come to an end and the past five years have been so difficult, I can only say thank God we didn't elect John Mccain".

We were discussing our feelings regarding the United States and our modern military history.

Our military is a far cry from just being a militia.

We now have a military of simply mercenaries.

timeontarget commented on Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 08:55 AM

Well I appreciate the gesture.

I will do the best that I can.

I am a conservative but in reality I'm probably a Libertarian.

"What say you?" Lets give it a go.

Graeme245 commented on Saturday, Aug 31, 2013 at 14:19 PM

As one who enjoys their satire a tad on the dark side I couldn't help but think The Onion nailed it with their Op-Ed piece by Bassar Al-Assad;


timeontarget commented on Sunday, Sep 01, 2013 at 13:59 PM

If it does so be it.

If it is done by people of his country that is fair and as it should be.

It is not any Americans responsibility or duty to do so.

If we do we are simply being a bully.

That is precisely why those on both sides in all conflicts in the middle east hate all Americans.

We have brought all of this on ourselves with our mercenary soldiers who've been willing to go "OVER THERE" and throw our weight around.

We are scorned by virtually the entire world's people of all soverign nations around the globe.

In the years after WWII our draft Army of lowly paid citizen soldiers had made us the most loved and envied people on earth.

The corporate greed, coupled with elected officials who were not statesmen but politicians, and the military industrial complex have brought us to this sorry state.

I pity our children and grandchildren.

timeontarget commented on Monday, Sep 02, 2013 at 06:40 AM

"I suspect the future won't be so bad. Our parents and grandparents pitied US-and look how great WE turned out....."

I cannot agree with that.

We have not by and large turned out so well.

In recent times we have allowed our society to degenerate to the point that we have children growing up in homes with little or no regard for respect and honor as well as dignity.

We first allowed females in military positions previously thought to be properly male only.

We have accepted open homosexuaility.

We have ceased to be the most respected power on earth.

And the level of the national debt is increasing daily at an alarming rate.

Oh yes and we have legions of able bodied men and women living off of government pensions while they have multiple decades of life expectancy yet ahead of them and they contribute little if anything towards the gross national product.

timeontarget commented on Monday, Sep 02, 2013 at 06:41 AM

I'd say we are well on our way to becoming a third world nation.

timeontarget commented on Monday, Sep 02, 2013 at 16:30 PM

Yes please and thank you also.

timeontarget commented on Tuesday, Sep 03, 2013 at 15:36 PM

He probably is bi-sexual but I have been made to understand that he has a grown daughter.

timeontarget commented on Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 06:05 AM

Well I think we can have a thorough debate on this distraction on perhaps another blog.

I prefer getting back to the discussion of US foreign policy if that can be done.

I've not been supportive of any of our so called wars in the middle east.

The greater discussion is the wisdom or lack thereof of our All Volunteer Army.

At first it sounded wonderful but look what it has brought us to as a nation.

You JimmyMack and I as well as some others, who participate on this community blog site, can attest to the destruction of Hinesville by the Military Industrial complex which destroyed Taylors Creek and a number of other nice little towns.

Hinesville is no longer a fit place to rear children.

timeontarget commented on Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 06:08 AM

Sometimes some of us who enjoy blogging on this site get caught up in their delight in attacking the messenger to the extent that they fail to address the message.

timeontarget commented on Wednesday, Sep 04, 2013 at 16:02 PM

"I won't get into local government. Everyone here knows what that is now. But, it was not always that way."

"Taxes were fair and reasonable and we had an abundance of quality in leadership positions."

I will get into local government if anyone here is so inclined.

If this blog site fails to shine a light on local government,------------then this blog site has failed.--------period--------------------------plain and simple.


timeontarget commented on Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 06:24 AM

This blog is a condemnation of American foreign policy.

The all volunteer Army was in my opinion the wrong turn taken by our leadership in Washington.

If we had never abandoned the draft the voice of our people would have had greater influence on our willingness to engage or not to engage in affairs of foreign nations.

The young men of the last days of the draft era started to refuse to go to a rice field half way around the world and kill people that they did not know.

Some went to Canada and thank God we later let them come home.

The influential families managed to get their boys in the National Guard and assigned to safe duty.

The not so influential families sons went to Vietnam and returned as the first American soldiers to endure defeat in battle.

timeontarget commented on Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 06:38 AM

We were all taught to honor and respect those in uniform who served with pride and did so for modest financial reward.

Today mercenaries serve willingly and wreak destruction on third world nations.

Not so long ago some of them practiced what they had learned right here with the double murder in cold blood of the young woman from Liberty county along with her boyfriend who had just gotten out of the service. I think it took place near Morgan lake between Ludowici and Jesup.

Those folks were part of the new Hinesville society. A result of the military industrial complex.

I conclude that Hinesville is not a fit place to rear children.

Our military today are not all heroes although I know many of them are.

I hope we stay out of the mess in Syria.

timeontarget commented on Thursday, Sep 05, 2013 at 06:47 AM

The United States is virtually bankrupt.

Our military misadventures directed by misguided war mongers in Washington is the primary cause.

While our ultra right conservatives beat war drums, our ultra liberals on the left advocate ever increasing welfare and they jointly continue to spend trillions unwisely.

The by product is an ever increasing tax burden on free enterprise.

We are slowly killing the goose which lays the golden egg.

timeontarget commented on Friday, Sep 06, 2013 at 06:23 AM

I wish this blog had attracted more discussion on the subject of foreign policy.

At any rate I appreciate the comments and I suspect it is time to move on.

timeontarget commented on Saturday, Sep 07, 2013 at 17:01 PM

Yes, I do...................
And I might............


timeontarget commented on Sunday, Sep 08, 2013 at 14:15 PM

John McCain plays poker on his electronic toy while attending an enourmousely important committee meeting.

Obama is the director of an orchestra of an assemblage of fools and idiots who've been empowered by the votes of an uninformed electorate to drive over a cliff.

We are not the world police. We might should be but we've gone broke doing so.

We can't afford to launch another war with anybody who is not a threat to our national security.

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