Returning Foreign Policy-Making to the People

November 17, 2019 Updated: November 20, 2019

Commentary

Investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson delivered a much-needed civics lesson on Nov. 14.

“Under the U.S. Constitution, it is the president of the United States who determines foreign policy. How can President Trump be ‘at odds with foreign policy’ when he’s the one who determines it?” she wrote.

Good question. Short answer: He can’t be. The dirty little secret—the complicating factor—is that the government all around President Donald Trump, unaffectionately known as “the Swamp,” is a grotesque, post-Constitutional entity in which unelected “officials,” including diplomats, national security advisers, federal police, and international spies, all together wield a kind of power that is wholly independent of the will of the people.

Corrupted by this nearly absolute and illegitimate power, these overlords of the bureaucracy regard the duly elected president as an interloper in their midst—certainly not the chief executive sent to Washington to execute the people’s will, which, in electing Trump in 2016, is well described as aggressively counter-revolutionary.

To protect their power from the people, to save their stealth revolution from within, the embedded subverters of the constitutional order—globalists, internationalists, big government socialists, and the like—will stop at nothing to destroy Trump and his agenda of American restoration.

This, then, is just one of the levels of the civil war underway in a hearing room this week on Capitol Hill—the battle over who sets the foreign policy of the United States.

Citing the Constitution, Attkisson makes it very clear who wins, easily and hands down. That complicating factor, however, remains. What Americans haven’t come to terms with for generations, certainly before Trump, is the extent to which the ultimate power of we, the people, has been usurped.

What follows is a lengthy excerpt from a speech I gave in the summer of 2016. It’s titled “‘America First’ in America: 1940 to 2016.” The passage highlights the thinking of Ambassador Jeane J. Kirkpatrick (1926–2006), who, in 1990, was making a case for a “normal” foreign policy set by the people, not the “experts.”

Her argument articulates many of the same themes Trump took to the hustings in 2016 as his “America First” agenda. If only Kirkpatrick could be called as a “people’s” expert witness in the ongoing impeachment farce. Below, however, is the crux of her thinking on this crucial matter.

‘Normal’ Foreign Policy

Excerpted from “‘America First’ in America: 1940 to 2016” by Diana West published in the Journal of Strategy and Politics (Autumn 2017):

Back in 1990, even as the Soviet Union appeared to be disintegrating before our eyes, Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, former U.N. ambassador under President Reagan, published an essay in The National Interest called “A Normal Country in a Normal Time.” The “normal time” she referred to was what appeared to be the end of the Cold War. Kirkpatrick’s idea of a “normal country,” both what it does—and, as important, what it doesn’t do—complements some of the policies and ideas Donald Trump has taken with him onto the hustings.

I’m not trying to make a case regarding the presidential preferences of the late Jeane Kirkpatrick, who died in December 2006. But it is indisputable that her thinking as set forth in 1990 bears some striking similarities with Trump’s today, even in regard to U.S. government responsibilities to negotiate favorable rules for American business internationally, reminiscent of Trump’s muscular America First trade policies; also her belief that the U.S. should not spend American money to defend an affluent Japan, for example, which is in sync with some of the Trump’s ideas on this subject.

Kirkpatrick in 1990 was writing at the moment in time Trump said he believed America’s foreign policy went awry—at the end of what we know as the Cold War. She offered a different way forward—not that there were any takers in Bush I’s New World Order administration.

Kirkpatrick wrote: “One of the most important consequences of the half century of war and Cold War has been to give foreign affairs an unnatural importance.” It was time, she believed, to recalibrate American foreign policy. She explained: “There is no foreign policy mandated in our founding documents—no mystical American ‘mission’ or purposes to be ‘found’ independently of the U.S. Constitution and government.” She went on in this same vein: “There is no inherent or historical ‘imperative’ for the U.S. government to seek or achieve any other goal—however great—except as it is mandated by the Constitution and adopted by the people through elected officials.” Among the goals that we do not have she included: “the establishment of democracy around the world,” “a stable world order” (which sounds like “new world order” to me); “a global trading system,” etc.—“unless,” she wrote, “such issues were discussed and endorsed by majorities of voters.”

This small-d democratic point of requiring the voters’ endorsement—or at least that of their elected representatives in the Congress—was also central to anti-interventionist arguments circa 1940. It was in this run-up to World War II, when Congress’s constitutional powers to make war were first usurped by the president, as FDR took the country into war, step by step, without authorization, and later pushed for legislation that would give him new and unprecedented powers to make war—the Lend-Lease bill.

Secretary of State Stettinius described the foreign aid bill’s revolutionary properties. The change was in making “any country’s defense vital.”

Stettinius wrote: “To favor limited aid to the Allies as an expedient device for saving friendly nations from conquest was one thing. To declare that the defense of those nations was “vital” to our own national security was quite another. If we adopted the bill with those words, we would, in effect, declare the interdependence of the American people with the other freedom-loving nations of the world …”

We did indeed adopt the Lend-Lease bill with those words, which, of course, provided aid to the Soviet Union—not a freedom-loving nation to be sure. This makes March 11, 1941, the day the Lend-Lease bill passed, America’s Interdependence Day. It no longer draws comment when American presidents declare the destinies of far-flung peoples “vital” to that of the United States, whether in Saudi Arabia (FDR), Iraq (Bush), or Afghanistan (Obama). And so many other places. Lately, it seems that the president doesn’t even bother as, for example, he sends more and more troops back to Iraq without even so much as a comment from Congress.

I think it’s important to note the godfathers of Lend-Lease, which might well be seen as a founding document of the new world order. They were Armand Hammer, Harry Hopkins, and Harry Dexter White. All three men were at the very least pro-Soviet to the core. White, a high-ranking Treasury official, has been confirmed as a top Soviet agent, the most important agent Soviets had inside the U.S. government, say some—although others believe that Harry Hopkins, FDR’s closest aide who lived inside the White House for three years, earns that treasonous honor. Certainly, Hopkins’s apparent use of Lend-Lease to send uranium and other atomic materials to the Soviets, thus breaking the embargo placed on uranium by Gen. Leslie Groves of the Manhattan Project, would seem to fit the bill.

Then again, White’s successful insertion of language into the U.S. diplomatic cable flow to Japan—language written in Moscow to bring the U.S. and Japan to war—is stiff competition. But these and so much more were post-war revelations—and rather soon forgotten. More lost history.

I’d like to mention another point of concern for “America First” and the anti-interventionists. They did not like the idea of going to war for an ideological mission, as FDR put it, for “our responsibility to build a democratic world.” Such crusading is something Jeane Kirkpatrick quite specifically disavowed some fifty years later—at least sans popular support—just as Trump has done today more forcefully. In his recent address, Trump identified as “dangerous” the “idea that we could make western democracies out of countries that had no experience or interests in becoming a western democracy.” He promised: “We’re getting out of the nation-building business.” To that end, he also declared he was looking for a whole new set of foreign policy experts with practical ideas “rather than surrounding myself with those who have perfect résumés but very little to brag about except responsibility for a long history of failed policies and continued losses at war.” For Washington’s entrenched and heretofore empowered—catastrophe.

In 1990, Kirkpatrick also reflected on the foreign policy elite, writing: “It is frequently argued that foreign policy is so different from domestic policy that majority rule should not apply.” She believed, though, it was “more important than ever that the experts who conduct foreign policy on our behalf be subject to the directions and control of the people. “We should reject utterly any claim that foreign policy is the special claim of special people—beyond the control of those who must pay its costs and bear its consequences.” She continued: “This means that discussion of the broad issues of foreign policy should have an important place in any election campaign.”

But Kirkpatrick had more than desire for a more perfect union. She explained: “Maintaining popular control of foreign policy is especially important because foreign policy elites often have different views than those of popular majorities.”

Aha. The experts versus the people. Where did they come from, these experts? In Kirkpatrick’s telling, it was all a function of world war and Cold War when “the United States developed a foreign policy elite based in bureaucracy, academics and heavily associated with nonprofit institutions.” Further: “They grew accustomed to thinking of the United States as having boundless resources and purposes which transcended the preferences of voters and apparent American interests.” In this way, she wrote, we see the development of what she called “a disinterested global attitude.”

But notice the verbs Kirkpatrick chose: The United States “developed” this elite, whose members “grew accustomed” to thinking past voter preferences and American interests. Just like that? I don’t think so. Not that these globalist attitudes didn’t become prevalent; they most certainly did. But I don’t think it just happened. I don’t think it was … natural.

Let’s take another look at the creation of the post-World War II world in which these global attitudes, per Kirkpatrick, just “developed.” It is a fact that the central institutions of this, yes, new world order, which defines and perpetuates these same global attitudes, were set up by some of the literally hundreds of communist agents confirmed to have been working under cover inside the federal government and related institutions.

Take the United Nations, fostered and helmed in 1945 by decorated Soviet military intelligence officer Alger Hiss, also of the U.S. State Department. Take the International Monetary Fund, fostered and helmed in 1946 by confirmed Soviet agent Harry Dexter White, also of the U.S. Treasury. Hiss and White are but two of the most famous Kremlin infiltrators, whose confirmed numbers, as noted above, top 500, and are estimated to reach the thousands.

When we couple this globalist infiltration and influence with the fact that the nation-state and its sovereignty, particularly our nation-state and our sovereignty, are the greatest obstacles to the continued spread of Marxisim-Leninism and its multitudinous offshoots, it seems logical to study, to wonder about, the impact of the ideological war waged by Marxists on the American mindset. This war certainly seems to have been a stunning and stealthy success.

Several months ago—26 years after Kirkpatrick’s “Normal Country” essay—the editor of The Washington Free Beacon, Matthew Continetti, who is also the son-in-law of The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol, sought to explain the threat that Trump poses to the Republican Party for his rejecting the Republicanism that Continetti says has defined the GOP since Ronald Reagan. This Republicanism, he wrote, includes being 1) internationalist in outlook; 2) pro-free trade; 3) pro-immigration; 4) supporting American leadership in global institutions. I can’t look at these markers without noticing that not only do they define a mindset that is the opposite of “America First,” but, at one time, these same positions defined the left wing of the American political spectrum, even the far-left wing—even the Communist Party USA! This is not an exaggeration.

In “Toward Soviet America,” the 1932 book by Communist Party USA Chairman William Z. Foster, Foster lists his predictions for Soviet America, many of which have actually come true, as Marxist ideology has subverted our institutions.

He writes: “A Communist world will be a unified, organized world.” (Remember Soviet agent Hiss, the first U.N. secretary general.) “The economic system will be one great organization, based upon the principle of planning now dawning in the U.S.S.R.” (Remember Soviet agent White, first executive director of the IMF in 1946.) Foster continues: “The American Soviet government will be an important section in this world organization. In such a society there will be no tariffs or the many other barriers erected by capitalism against a free world interchange of goods. The raw material supplies of the world will be at the disposition of the peoples of the world.” Here we see it: free trade as just another weapon to break down the nation-state—the ultimate globalist, communist, progressive, Marxist, Democrat, and, now, Republican goal.

I will not promise here to tie everything up neatly, but I note that no one really tries to make sense of these ideological connections anymore. We don’t seem to think there are any. And if someone does, the response is to fall back on buzz words such as red-baiting, McCarthyism, fascism, and “isolationism,” which doesn’t help us learn how better to protect and preserve our country.

Kirkpatrick also debunked the isolationism rap. She wrote: “The isolationism v. internationalism debate is in reality the debate among the various types of internationalism.” The first type “aims to serve the national interest as conventionally conceived (to protect its territory, wealth, and access to necessary goods; to defend its nationals).” The other variants of internationalism she saw circa 1990 aim to preserve and defend democracy, or advance a “disinterested globalism, which looks at the world and asks what needs to be done—with little explicit concern for the national interest.”

In recent years, these latter two seem to overlap if not also merge, which helps explain why so many Republican foreign policy elites, particularly neoconservatives, are trumpeting their support for Hillary Clinton. The “national interest as conventionally conceived” is just not enough for them, even as serving American interests first is plenty for the many Republicans who have made Trump their presidential nominee. It’s really as simple as that.

Diana West is an award-winning journalist and author, whose latest book is “The Red Thread: A Search for Ideological Drivers Inside the Anti-Trump Conspiracy.”

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

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