Foreign policy Quotes


War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse. When a people are used as mere human instruments for firing cannon or thrusting bayonets, in the service and for the selfish purposes of a master, such war degrades a people. A war to protect other human beings against tyrannical injustice; a war to give victory to their own ideas of right and good, and which is their own war, carried on for an honest purpose by their free choice, — is often the means of their regeneration. A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself. As long as justice and injustice have not terminated their ever-renewing fight for ascendancy in the affairs of mankind, human beings must be willing, when need is, to do battle for the one against the other.

Ethics    Fight    Foreign policy    Injustice    Inspirational    Justice    Morality    Motivational    Patriotic    Safety    Selfish    Tyranny    War    Will

America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests

Israel's demonstration of its military prowess in 1967 confirmed its status as a 'strategic asset,' as did its moves to prevent Syrian intervention in Jordan in 1970 in support of the PLO. Under the Nixon doctrine, Israel and Iran were to be 'the guardians of the Gulf,' and after the fall of the Shah, Israel's perceived role was enhanced. Meanwhile, Israel has provided subsidiary services elsewhere, including Latin America, where direct US support for the most murderous regimes has been impeded by Congress. While there has been internal debate and some fluctuation in US policy, much exaggerated in discussion here, it has been generally true that US support for Israel's militarization and expansion reflected the estimate of its power in the region.
The effect has been to turn Israel into a militarized state completely dependent on US aid, willing to undertake tasks that few can endure, such as participation in Guatemalan genocide. For Israel, this is a moral disaster and will eventually become a physical disaster as well. For the Palestinians and many others, it has been a catastrophe, as it may sooner or later be for the entire world, with the growing danger of superpower confrontation.

1. Bangladesh.... In 1971 ... Kissinger overrode all advice in order to support the Pakistani generals in both their civilian massacre policy in East Bengal and their armed attack on India from West Pakistan.... This led to a moral and political catastrophe the effects of which are still sorely felt. Kissinger’s undisclosed reason for the ‘tilt’ was the supposed but never materialised ‘brokerage’ offered by the dictator Yahya Khan in the course of secret diplomacy between Nixon and China.... Of the new state of Bangladesh, Kissinger remarked coldly that it was ‘a basket case’ before turning his unsolicited expertise elsewhere.
2. Chile.... Kissinger had direct personal knowledge of the CIA’s plan to kidnap and murder General René Schneider, the head of the Chilean Armed Forces ... who refused to countenance military intervention in politics. In his hatred for the Allende Government, Kissinger even outdid Richard Helms ... who warned him that a coup in such a stable democracy would be hard to procure. The murder of Schneider nonetheless went ahead, at Kissinger’s urging and with American financing, just between Allende’s election and his confirmation.... This was one of the relatively few times that Mr Kissinger (his success in getting people to call him ‘Doctor’ is greater than that of most PhDs) involved himself in the assassination of a single named individual rather than the slaughter of anonymous thousands. His jocular remark on this occasion—‘I don’t see why we have to let a country go Marxist just because its people are irresponsible’—suggests he may have been having the best of times....
3. Cyprus.... Kissinger approved of the preparations by Greek Cypriot fascists for the murder of President Makarios, and sanctioned the coup which tried to extend the rule of the Athens junta (a favoured client of his) to the island. When despite great waste of life this coup failed in its objective, which was also Kissinger’s, of enforced partition, Kissinger promiscuously switched sides to support an even bloodier intervention by Turkey. Thomas Boyatt ... went to Kissinger in advance of the anti-Makarios putsch and warned him that it could lead to a civil war. ‘Spare me the civics lecture,’ replied Kissinger, who as you can readily see had an aphorism for all occasions.
4. Kurdistan. Having endorsed the covert policy of supporting a Kurdish revolt in northern Iraq between 1974 and 1975, with ‘deniable’ assistance also provided by Israel and the Shah of Iran, Kissinger made it plain to his subordinates that the Kurds were not to be allowed to win, but were to be employed for their nuisance value alone. They were not to be told that this was the case, but soon found out when the Shah and Saddam Hussein composed their differences, and American aid to Kurdistan was cut off. Hardened CIA hands went to Kissinger ... for an aid programme for the many thousands of Kurdish refugees who were thus abruptly created.... The
apercu
of the day was: ‘foreign policy should not he confused with missionary work.’ Saddam Hussein heartily concurred.
5. East Timor. The day after Kissinger left Djakarta in 1975, the Armed Forces of Indonesia employed American weapons to invade and subjugate the independent former Portuguese colony of East Timor. Isaacson gives a figure of 100,000 deaths resulting from the occupation, or one-seventh of the population, and there are good judges who put this estimate on the low side. Kissinger was furious when news of his own collusion was leaked, because as well as breaking international law the Indonesians were also violating an agreement with the United States.... Monroe Leigh ... pointed out this awkward latter fact. Kissinger snapped: ‘The Israelis when they go into Lebanon—when was the last time we protested that?’ A good question, even if it did not and does not lie especially well in his mouth.
It goes on and on and on until one cannot eat enough to vomit enough.

A country that demands moral perfection in its foreign policy will achieve neither perfection nor security

Most Americans are close to total ignorance about the world. They are ignorant. That is an unhealthy condition in a country in which foreign policy has to be endorsed by the people if it is to be pursued. And it makes it much more difficult for any president to pursue an intelligent policy that does justice to the complexity of the world.

All classes in proportion to their lack of travel and familiarity with foreign literature are bellicose, prejudiced against foreigners, fond of fighting as a cruel sport -- in short, dog-like in their notions of foreign policy."
[Quoted in
Socialism and Foreign Policy
and
War and the Liberal Conscience
]

The bottom line is this: Peace will come to Israel and the Middle East only when the Israeli government is willing to comply with international law, with the Roadmap for Peace, with official American policy, with the wishes of a majority of its own citizens--and honor its own previous commitments--by accepting its legal borders. All Arab neighbors must pledge to honor Israel's right to live in peace under these conditions. The United States is squandering international prestige and goodwill and intensifying global anti-American terrorism by unofficially condoning or abetting the Israeli confiscation and colonization of Palestinian territories.

[American exceptionalism] is a reaction to the inability of people to understand global complexity or important issues like American energy dependency. Therefore, they search for simplistic sources of comfort and clarity. And the people that they are now selecting to be, so to speak, the spokespersons of their anxieties are, in most cases, stunningly ignorant.

This is what you get when you found a political system on the family values of Henry VIII. At a point in the not-too-remote future, the stout heart of Queen Elizabeth II will cease to beat. At that precise moment, her firstborn son will become head of state, head of the armed forces, and head of the Church of England. In strict constitutional terms, this ought not to matter much. The English monarchy, as has been said, reigns but does not rule. From the aesthetic point of view it will matter a bit, because the prospect of a morose bat-eared and chinless man, prematurely aged, and with the most abysmal taste in royal consorts, is a distinctly lowering one.

How can I play baseball when I'm worried about foreign policy?

Als it is hard for America to fight wars in the name of freedom, if those people themselves choose for nonfreedom. Can America and England save India from communism, if they vote communist themselves.

When the president during the campaign
said he was against nation building,
I didn't realize he meant our nation.

[Bill] Clinton was a pretty good president for a Republican.

First Afghanistan, now Iraq. So who's next? Syria? North Korea? Iran? Where will it all end?' If these illegal interventions are permitted to continue, the implication seems to be, pretty soon, horror of horrors, no murderously repressive regimes might remain.

Edward was now expressing himself on the subject of the French King, drawing upon a vocabulary that a Southwark brothel-keeper might envy. Some of what he was saying was anatomically impossible, much of it was true and all of it envenomed.

The Sunne in Splendour

Sharon Kay Penman

The Sunne in Splendour

The people of the United States will do anything for Latin America, except read about it.

Americans, in foreign policy, are torn to the point of schizophrenia. They are reluctant, than aggressive; asleep at the switch, then quick on the trigger; indifferent, then obsessed, then indifferent again. They act out of a sense of responsibility and then resent and fear the burden of responsibility they have taken on themselves. Their effect on the world, not surprisingly, is often the opposite of what they intend. Americans say they want stability in the international system, but they are often the greates disrupters of stability. They extol the virtues of international laws and institutions but then violate and ignore them with barley a second thought. They are recolutionary power but think they are a status quo power. They want to be left alone but can't seem to leave anyone else alone. They are continually surprising the world with their behavior, but not nearly as much as they are continually surprising themselves.

Seeing the name
Hillary
in a headline last week—a headline about a life that had involved real achievement—I felt a mouse stirring in the attic of my memory. Eventually, I was able to recall how the two Hillarys had once been mentionable in the same breath. On a first-lady goodwill tour of Asia in April 1995—the kind of banal trip that she now claims as part of her foreign-policy 'experience'—Mrs. Clinton had been in Nepal and been briefly introduced to the late Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mount Everest. Ever ready to milk the moment, she announced that her mother had actually named her for this famous and intrepid explorer. The claim 'worked' well enough to be repeated at other stops and even showed up in Bill Clinton's memoirs almost a decade later, as one more instance of the gutsy tradition that undergirds the junior senator from New York.
Sen. Clinton was born in 1947, and Sir Edmund Hillary and his partner Tenzing Norgay did not ascend Mount Everest until 1953, so the story was self-evidently untrue and eventually
yielded to fact-checking
. Indeed, a spokeswoman for Sen. Clinton named Jennifer Hanley phrased it like this in a statement in October 2006, conceding that the tale was untrue but nonetheless charming: 'It was a sweet family story her mother shared to inspire greatness in her daughter, to great results I might add.'
Perfect. It worked, in other words, having been coined long
after
Sir Edmund became a bankable celebrity, but now its usefulness is exhausted and its untruth can safely be blamed on Mummy.

It is much easier to condemn Islam and 'oppressive Muslim men' than to unpack the intricate relationships between global politics related to empire building and capitalist expansion as well as regional and national struggles revolving around political and economic power and resources.

I am not one of those who believes—as Obama is said to believe—that a solution to the Palestinian statehood question would bring an end to Muslim resentment against the United States. (Incidentally, if he really does believe this, his lethargy and impotence in the face of Netanyahu's consistent double-dealing is even more culpable.) The Islamist fanatics have their own agenda, and, as in the case of Hamas and its Iranian backers, they have already demonstrated that nothing but the destruction of Israel and the removal of American influence from the region will possibly satisfy them. No, it is more the case that justice—and a homeland for the Palestinians—is a good and necessary cause in its own right. It is also a special legal and moral responsibility of the United States, which has several times declared a dual-statehood outcome to be its objective.

The question shouldn't be what we ought to do, but what we can do.

So many of the professional foreign policy establishment, and so many of their hangers-on among the lumpen academics and journalists, had become worried by the frenzy and paranoia of the Nixonian Vietnam policy that consensus itself was threatened. Ordinary intra-mural and extra-mural leaking, to such duly constituted bodies as Congress, was getting out of hand. It was Kissinger who inaugurated the second front or home front of the war; illegally wiretapping the telephones even of his own staff and of his journalistic clientele. (I still love to picture the face of Henry Brandon when he found out what his hero had done to his telephone.) This war against the enemy within was the genesis of Watergate; a nexus of high crime and misdemeanour for which Kissinger himself, as Isaacson wittily points out, largely evaded blame by taking to his ‘shuttle’ and staying airborne. Incredibly, he contrived to argue in public with some success that if it were not for democratic distempers like the impeachment process his own selfless, necessary statesmanship would have been easier to carry out. This is true, but not in the way that he got newspapers like Rees-Mogg’s
Times
to accept.

Too often in the post-9/11 world, when the time has come to translate the moral, and essentially progressive, roots of foreign policy idealism into plans for American action, liberals have said, 'Duck.

Michael Ledeen—a contributing editor of
National Review
and a Freedom Scholar at the influential neoconservative think tank American Enterprise Institute—wrote on the
National Review
blog in November 2006: 'I had and have no involvement with our Iraq policy'. I opposed the military invasion of Iraq before it took place.'
Ledeen, however, wrote in August 2002 of 'the desperately-needed and long overdue war against Saddam Hussein' and when he was interviewed for
Front Page Magazine
the same month and asked, 'Okay, well if we are all so certain about the dire need to invade Iraq, then when do we do so?' Ledeen replied: 'Yesterday.' There is obvious, substantial risk in falsely claiming that one opposed the Iraq War notwithstanding a public record of support. But that war has come to be viewed as such a profound failure that that risk, at least in the eyes of some, is outweighed by the prospect of being associated with Bush's invasion.

Fallujah was a Guernica with no Picasso. A city of 300,000 was deprived of water, electricity, and food, emptied of most of its inhabitants who ended up parked in camps. Then came the methodical bombing and recapture of the city block by block. When soldiers occupied the hospital, The New York Times managed to justify this act on grounds that the hospital served as an enemy propaganda center by exaggerating the number of casualties. And by the way, just how many casualties were there? Nobody knows, there is no body count for Iraqis. When estimates are published, even by reputable scientific reviews, they are denounced as exaggerated. Finally, the inhabitants were allowed to return to their devastated city, by way of military checkpoints, and start to sift through the rubble, under the watchful eye of soldiers and biometric controls.

Europe    Foreign policy    France    Human rights    Iraq    Kosovo war    Usa    War

All those who prefer peace to power, and happiness to glory should thank the colonized people for their civilizing mission. By liberating themselves, they made Europeans more modest, less racist, and more human. Let us hope that the process continues and that the Americans are obliged to follow the same course. When one’s own cause is unjust, defeat can be liberating.

Europe    Foreign policy    France    Human rights    Iraq    Kosovo wa    Usa    War

During an hour-long conversation mid-flight, he laid out his theory of the war. First, Jones said, the United States could not lose the war or be seen as losing the war.
'If we're not successful here,' Jones said, 'you'll have a staging base for global terrorism all over the world. People will say the terrorists won. And you'll see expressions of these kinds of things in Africa, South America, you name it. Any developing country is going to say, this is the way we beat [the United States], and we're going to have a bigger problem.' A setback or loss for the United States would be 'a tremendous boost for jihadist extremists, fundamentalists all over the world' and provide 'a global infusion of morale and energy, and these people don't need much.'
Jones went on, using the kind of rhetoric that Obama had shied away from, 'It's certainly a clash of civilizations. It's a clash of religions. It's a clash of almost concepts of how to live.' The conflict is that deep, he said. 'So I think if you don't succeed in Afghanistan, you will be fighting in more places.
'Second, if we don't succeed here, organizations like NATO, by association the European Union, and the United Nations might be relegated to the dustbin of history.'
Third, 'I say, be careful you don't over-Americanize the war. I know that we're going to do a large part of it,' but it was essential to get active, increased participation by the other 41 nations, get their buy-in and make them feel they have ownership in the outcome.
Fourth, he said that there had been way too much emphasis on the military, almost an overmilitarization of the war. The key to leaving a somewhat stable Afghanistan in a reasonable time frame was improving governance and the rule of law, in order to reduce corruption. There also needed to be economic development and more participation by the Afghan security forces.
It sounded like a good case, but I wondered if everyone on the American side had the same understanding of our goals. What was meant by victory? For that matter, what constituted not losing? And when might that happen? Could there be a deadline?

Well, then what the federal government should have done was accept the assistance of foreign countries, of entrepreneurial Americans who have had solutions that they wanted presented. They can't even get a phone call returned, Bill. The Dutch—they are known, and the Norwegians—they are known for dikes and for cleaning up water and for dealing with spills. They offered to help and yet, no, they too, with the proverbial, can't even get a phone call back.

McChrystal had organized a jaw-dropping counterterrorism campaign inside Iraq, but the tactical successes did not translate into a strategic victory. This was why counterinsurgency - blanketing the population in safety and winning them over - was necessary.

Al Qaeda's central political objective is the creation of an Islamic republic,
not
the progressive realignment of American foreign policy.

Europeans have always thought of U.S. presidents as either naive, as they did with Jimmy Carter, or as cowboys, as they did with Lyndon Johnson, and held them in contempt in either case.

The world was almost at the point of forgetting what a fine time people can have helping one another. That people like to work together and to kick back after work and share their experiences. What would happen if our foreign policy centered on the cultivation of joy rather than pain? she thought.

Here’s a little thought experiment. Imagine that, on September 11, 2001, when the Twin Towers came down, the President of the United States was not George W. Bush, but Ann Coulter. What would have happened then? On September 12, President Coulter would have ordered the US military forces to drop 35 nuclear bombs throughout the Middle East, killing all of our actual and potential enemy combatants, and their wives and children. On September 13, the war would have been over and won, without a single American life lost.

One does not have to be without sin to castigate someone else for being a rapist or murderer" (386).

The timing of this sudden interest in the plight of Iraqi women cannot be overemphasized. For decades, many Iraqi women activists in the US and UK had tried to raise awareness about the systematic abuse of human and women's rights under Saddam Hussein, the atrocities linked to the Anfal campaign against the Kurds, and the impact of economic sanctions on women and families. . . . 'We wrote so many letters and we organized many events. . . . They did not want to know. They were just not interested. It was only in the run-up to the [2003] invasion that the governments started to care about the suffering of Iraqi women.

Foreign policy    Iraq    State    Uk    Us    Women

China should significantly augment the foreign aid and public goods it provides, so it can use these as a bargaining chip in its efforts to get more say in global decision-making

Investing in foreign aid would also help achieve China's strategic objectives, since aid could become a powerful tool in the expansaion of China's influence.

Without the participation of one fifth of the global population, without the endorsement of the world's second-largest economy, without the political will and security guarantee of this emerging power, international institutions and norms will be irrelevant and the legitimacy and credibility of their resolutions and arrangements will fall short of promise.

Although China may be able to change the major power structure in the next ten years, it will be unable to shift the world from unipolarity to bipolarity unless it forms a formal alliance with Russia.

Facing a deteriorating economy and a weakening hold over the populace, the Iraqi state under Saddam Hussein opted to revitalize tribal leaders and conservative practices as a means of stabilizing state power; those conservative practices were not an inherent feature of a predominantly Muslim country.

Economics    Foreign policy    Government    Iraq    Iraqi state    Islam    Men    Politics    Saddam hussein    State    Women

It is important to remember that bureaucratic politics and rivalry are not just matters of competing for primacy in foreign policy - although they are that too. Rather, most bureaucratic competition comes from the fact that these bureaucracies often have overlapping jurisdictions on policy matters and that each may have legitimate but differing responsibilities. For example, both the CIA and the Defense Department have large intelligence-gathering operations, and at times these overlap and compete; at the same time, the State Department and Defense Department both have important but very different responsibilities in American foreign policy-making, and it is quite understandable that these are not always in exact accord.

Louella remarked that when foreign nations had intercourse with this country they knew they had been intercoursed.

Biggest mistake Reagan ever did re: foreign policy? 1984 decision to appease Hezbollah with Lebanon withdrawal

I guess, then, that is what I find troublesome about this plan. It is too logical, too clever, too carefully thought out, and, most important of all, it has to be carried out in secret, which means that if the American public knew about it, they would be appalled and would not be supportive of it.

Sure, tactically and in the short term, we'll do all right, but in the long term, these types of policies always fail, and you know why, because there will come a time that we need the same American public - that we kept everything hidden from - to support the policy either with their blood or money.

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