Government Watch / National Security

Buzzword Foreign Policy Makes for Failure

Foreign Policy
Pelosi and President Tsai hold a press conference in Taiwan’s Presidential Office.

This week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi went to Taiwan, determined to make a statement about American support for the democratic country under constant threat from its tyrannical Chinese neighbor. That trip prompted spasms of apoplexy from the Chinese government, which vowed serious consequences; China, in the end, engaged mainly in some military posturing.

There is no question that Pelosi is correct about the need for the West to support Taiwan, nor is there any question that China is an aggressive dictatorship. But Pelosi’s trip represents the latest in a long line of American foreign policy moves that seem like bluster rather than strength. It’s one thing for John F. Kennedy to fly to Berlin in the midst of a Cold War blockade of the city to show solidarity with Germans in the face of Soviet aggression, declaring that the United States would indeed defend West Berlin in case of invasion. It’s another for Pelosi to fly to Taiwan in provocative defiance of Chinese caterwauling without any firm deliverable: no statement of American intention to defend Taiwan in case of invasion (President Joe Biden actually stated that America would do so, before his State Department then walked it back); no major increase in military aid to the island; no increase to the projective power of the United States Navy, which will purchase nine ships this year while losing 24.

Pelosi’s visit, therefore, sounds a lot like the virtue signaling in which American politicians of both parties have engaged for decades. These politicians say they will protect democratic allies, then abandon them when the going gets tough; they explain that their foreign policy priorities range from free elections to gay rights, then hobnob with the world’s worst dictators. They speak loudly and carry a wet noodle. Their addiction to high-flown rhetoric and vacillating commitment undercuts both their credibility and their capacity for moral suasion.

Biden represents a paradigmatic example of this sort of politician: in February 2002, for example, he stated that “history will judge us harshly if we allow the hope of a liberated Afghanistan to evaporate because we failed to stay the course”; by 2021, Biden was pulling the plug on Afghanistan, handing the country over to the tender mercies of the very same people who presided over the planning of Sept. 11. Biden spent all of 2020 describing Saudi Arabia as a pariah over its human rights violations; by 2022, he was fist-bumping Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

The answer to a foreign policy based on buzzwords is a foreign policy based on forwarding American interests, which over the long run will indeed forward America’s values. Instead of suggesting that America will defend Ukraine because of Ukraine’s commitment to democracy, for example — a commitment that is undermined internally by rabid corruption — our leaders should simply tell the truth: We ought to defend Ukraine from Russia because it is in our interest to counter Russian predations in Europe, which threaten the integrity of our allies in NATO and foster more aggression from our geopolitical opponents including China. At least such a clear position would prevent the misunderstandings that arise when Western nations bluster about defending democracy, then repeatedly do nothing to do so, as the West did during Russia’s invasions of Georgia and Crimea.

Such a foreign policy would be nothing new; it would be perfectly in line with the famous words of John Quincy Adams, who stated that America “goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.” America ought to know her own interests. And America ought to protect her own interests. At least then our allies and our enemies will know where we stand, rather than speculating that our rhetoric is empty.

Ben Shapiro, 38, is a graduate of UCLA and Harvard Law School, host of “The Ben Shapiro Show,” and Editor-in-Chief of DailyWire.com. He is a three-time New York Times bestselling author; his latest book is “The Authoritarian Moment: How The Left Weaponized America’s Institutions Against Dissent.”

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CB
1 month ago

Pelosi and the rest of the demorats need to take their heads out of their back sides when it comes to China. But it got tone hard when people like Mitch and the bidens and most of congress are in bed with the commies.

David Millikan
2 months ago

WHY did DICTATOR Beijing biden GIVE TERRORIST IRAN
$1 BILLION in TAX PAYER MONEY in past year?
Answer: TO SUPPORT TERRORIST and APPEASE TERRORIST.
That’s TREASON people. No if’s and but’s about it.
Why else give TERRORIST IRAN $1 BILLION in American Tax Payers Money except for to KILL AMERICANS and excel their Nuclear Weapons program.
What FANTASY WORLD excuse and LIE will DICTATOR Beijing biden and SWAMP QUEEN pelosi use on this?
Bet they will blame Americans as usual for their TREASONOUS ACTS that DICTATOR Beijing biden and SWAMP QUEEN pelosi commit EVERY DAY.

DrScottD
1 month ago
Reply to  David Millikan

I didn’t know that. 1 billion to Iran….The vast amount of what looks like treasonous crimes committed by the people in office, only further my belief that they may be traitors to their oaths and our country. Liars, thieves, cheaters, and more that have sold out the American Citizens in many ways. Am I right in thinking this? God I hope that the many crimes and evils against our nation by these people in our nation’s elected government, bureaucracies, agencies, etc., are not all that it obviously appears. For if true, Lord, we are all in desperate times and need for Your help. Please God, help us to know what is the TRUTH, and what is NOT. In Jesus name…

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