US Presidential Election 2016: Restoring America’s Strength

August 7, 2015

In an a op-ed in Foreign Affairs, Marco Rubio, senator from Florida and candidate for the Republican presidential nomination writes that his foreign policy “would restore the post-1945 bipartisan presidential tradition of a strong and engaged America while adjusting it to meet the new realities of a globalized world.”

My Vision for U.S. Foreign Policy

The Obama administration’s handling of Iran has demonstrated this with alarming clarity. Tehran exploited the president’s lack of strength throughout the negotiations over its nuclear program by wringing a series of dangerous concessions from the United States and its partners, including the ability to enrich uranium, keep the Arak and Fordow nuclear facilities open, avoid admitting its past transgressions, and ensure a limited timeline for the agreement.

How did a nation with as little intrinsic leverage as Iran win so many concessions? Part of the answer is that President Obama took off the table the largest advantage our nation had entering into the negotiations: military strength. Although the president frequently said that “all options are on the table” with regard to Iran, his administration consistently signaled otherwise. Several senior officials openly criticized the notion of a military strike, and the president himself publicly said that there could be no military solution to the Iranian nuclear program. This was underscored by a historic reluctance to engage throughout the Middle East, from pulling troops out of Iraq at all costs to retreating from the stated redline on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

President Obama became so publicly opposed to military action that he sacrificed any option that could have conceivably raised the stakes and forced the mullahs into making major concessions. Iran recognized that it could push for greater compromise without fear that the United States would break off the talks. The president’s drive for a deal caused him to forsake a basic principle of diplomacy with rogue regimes: it must be backed by the threat of force. As president, I would have altered the basic environment of the talks. I would have maneuvered forces in the region to signal readiness; linked the nuclear talks to Iran’s broader conduct, from its human rights abuses to its support for terrorism and its existential threats against Israel; and pressured Tehran on all fronts, from Syria to Yemen.

It is true that Iran, in response to these displays of strength, may have broken off negotiations or even lashed out in the region. History, however, suggests that even if Iran had created more trouble in the near term, increased pressure would have eventually forced it to back down. That is exactly what happened in 1988, when Iran ended its war with Iraq and its attacks on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf after the Reagan administration sent in the U.S. Navy. More recently, after the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Iran halted a key component of its nuclear program.

It’s not too late to mitigate the damage of the administration’s mishandling of Iran. By rescinding the flawed deal concluded by President Obama and reasserting our presence in the Middle East, we can reverse Iran’s malign influence in this vitally important region and prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. The security of the region, the safety of Israel, and the interests of the entire world require an American approach toward Tehran marked by strength and leadership rather than weakness and concession.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS

The second pillar of my foreign policy is the protection of an open international economy in an increasingly globalized world. Millions of the best jobs in this century will depend on international trade that will be possible only when global sea-lanes are open and sovereign nations are protected from the aggression of larger neighbors. Thus, the prosperity of American families is tied to the safety and stability of regions on the other side of the world, from Asia to the Middle East to Europe.

That is why Russia’s violation of Ukrainian sovereignty is much more than a question of where lines are drawn on the maps of eastern Europe. Russia’s annexation of Crimea and efforts to sow instability in eastern Ukraine were sparked, in no small part, by the decision of a sovereign Ukrainian government to seek closer political and economic ties with the European Union and the West.

Russia’s actions are a historic affront to the post–World War II global order on which the global economy depends, and they set a disturbing precedent in a world of rising powers with surging ambitions. Our halting and meager response sends a message to other countries that borders can be violated and countries invaded without serious consequences. The threat of this precedent is profound. America should never have to ask permission from a regional power to conduct commerce with any nation. We cannot allow the world to become a place where countries become off-limits to us as markets and trading partners because of violence, uncertainty, or the blustering threats of an autocratic ruler.

Russia’s actions are emblematic of a larger global trend. From the Strait of Hormuz to the South China Sea, authoritarian states increasingly threaten recognized borders and international waters, airspace, cyberspace, and outer space as a means of gaining leverage over their neighbors and over the United States. Since the end of World War II, the United States has prospered in part because it guarded those critical pathways, and U.S. engagement has a distinguished record of increasing the well-being of other countries, from Germany and Japan to South Korea and Colombia. By failing to maintain this devotion to protecting the lanes of commerce, the Obama administration has exposed international markets to exploitation and chaos.

I will also isolate Russia diplomatically, expanding visa bans and asset freezes on high-level Russian officials and pausing cooperation with Moscow on global strategic challenges. The United States should also station U.S. combat troops in eastern Europe to make clear that we will honor our commitments to our NATO allies and to discourage further Russian aggression.

If that support is coupled with more robust support for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership and a willingness to leverage America’s newly gained status as a leader in oil and natural gas by lifting the ban on U.S. exports, we can help guard our European allies from Russia’s attempts to use trade and energy dependence as a weapon. This will also assist our efforts to help Ukraine’s leaders modernize and reform their economy and ultimately consolidate their independence from Moscow.

By preserving Ukraine’s freedom and demonstrating that the United States will not tolerate such threats to the global economy, the United States can begin to deter other potential aggressors from bullying their neighbors, including an increasingly ambitious China.

DEFENDING FREEDOM

Our approach to China in this century relates to the last pillar of my foreign policy: the need for moral clarity regarding America’s core values. Our devotion to the spread of human rights and liberal democratic principles has been a part of the fabric of our country since its founding and a beacon of hope for so many oppressed peoples around the globe. It is also a strategic imperative that requires pragmatism and idealism in equal measure.

Members of the Obama administration have signaled a disturbing willingness to ignore human rights violations in the hope of appeasing the Chinese leadership. In the administration’s early days in 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that human rights “can’t interfere” with other ostensibly more important bilateral issues, and in the months before Xi Jinping ascended to China’s top leadership post in 2012, Vice President Joe Biden told him that U.S. support for human rights was merely a matter of domestic political posturing.

As we have fallen silent about the true nature of the Chinese Communist Party, the Chinese government has stymied democratic efforts in Hong Kong, raided the offices of human rights organizations, arrested scores of activists, redoubled its efforts to monitor and control the Internet, and continued repressive policies in Tibet and other Chinese regions, all while rapidly expanding its military, threatening its neighbors, establishing military installations on disputed islands, and carrying out unprecedented cyberattacks against America. China’s actions reveal a basic truth: the manner in which governments treat their own citizens is indicative of the manner in which they will treat other nations. Beijing’s repression at home and its aggressiveness abroad are two branches of the same tree. If the United States hopes to restore stability in East Asia, it has to speak with clarity and strength regarding the universal rights and values that America represents.

The best way for the United States to counter China’s expansion in East Asia is through support for liberty. The “rebalance” to Asia needs to be about more than just physical posturing. We must stand for the principles that have allowed Asian economies to grow so rapidly and for democracy to take root in the region. Only American leadership can show the Chinese government that its increasingly aggressive regional expansionism will be countered by a reinforcement of cooperation among like-minded nations in the region.

As president, I will strengthen ties with Asia’s democracies, from India to Taiwan. Bolstering liberty on China’s periphery can galvanize the region against Beijing’s hostility and change China’s political future. I will also back the Chinese people’s demands for unrestricted Internet access and their appeals for the basic human right of free speech. I will engage with dissidents, reformers, and religious rights activists, and I will reject Beijing’s attempts to block our contacts with these champions of freedom. I will also redouble U.S. support for the Trans-Pacific Partnership and ensure that, once the trade deal is concluded, additional countries are able to join, expanding the creation of what will be millions of jobs here at home as well as abroad.

China will likely resist these efforts, but it is dependent on its economic relationship with the United States and, despite angry outbursts, will have no choice but to preserve it. President Ronald Reagan proved through his diplomacy with the Soviet Union that having a productive relationship with a great power and insisting on that power’s improvement of human rights are not conflicting aims. If the United States can pursue this agenda with China even as it continues its economic engagement, it will demonstrate that America remains committed to the cause of freedom in our time. I believe that when true freedom for the 1.3 billion people of China is finally attained, the impact will fundamentally change the course of human history.

FROM DISENGAGEMENT TO LEADERSHIP

These are only three examples of the challenges the United States will face in this century. They are all examples of problems that will require deft, multifaceted leadership. In addition to existing and emerging threats, we undoubtedly will be confronted with unexpected crises in the years ahead. These unknowns highlight the importance of establishing a fixed set of principles and objectives to guide American leadership. After years of strategic disengagement, this is the only way to restore global certainty regarding American commitments.

 By making retrenchment his primary objective, President Obama has put the international system at the mercy of the most ruthless aggressors. They are constantly seeking to undermine the basic principles of the post-1945 world by challenging American military primacy, threatening the global commons, and undermining liberal values. That Iran, Russia, and China are each challenging the United States in these spheres at the same time demonstrates their mutual desire for a departure from the postwar order.

The authoritarian rulers of these nations find an open international system deeply threatening to their exclusive grip on domestic political power. They cannot simply be reassured or persuaded, and they will push their agendas with whatever tools we give them the latitude to use. We cannot assume that these states will negotiate in good faith or see it in their interest to come to an agreement. If we allow the continued erosion of our military, economic, and moral strength, we will see a further breakdown in global order cast a lengthening shadow across our domestic prosperity and safety.

Retrenchment and retreat are not our destiny. The United States, by its presence alone, has the ability to alter balances, realign regional powers, promote stability, and enhance liberty. Only we can form coalitions based on mutual investment and mutual sacrifice. Our sole goal has never been to remain the world’s preeminent power. We will encourage and assist the rise of more powers when their rise is benign or noble. We wish to be a fraternal force rather than a paternal one.

This principle has marked the bipartisan tradition of U.S. foreign policy for the last 70 years. Our recent departure from this tradition has brought only violence, chaos, and discord. By advancing the three pillars of my foreign policy, I intend to restore American leadership to a world badly in need of it and defend our interests in what I’m confident will be another American century.

Reprinted with kindly permission of Foreign Affairs.

 


500 Years of Niccolò Machiavelli’s Masterpiece “The Prince” (1513)

December 10, 2013

“The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.” Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince (1513)

December 2013 is dedicated to one of the greatest theorists of politics in history: Niccolò Machiavelli, whose masterpiece ‘The Prince’ came out on December 10, 1513—500 years ago.

In an op-ed in the New York Times John T. Scott (University of California) and Robert Zaretsky (University of Houston), and authors of “The Philosophers’ Quarrel: Rousseau, Hume and the Limits of Human Understanding.”, explore the legacy of ‘The Prince’.

“Yet Machiavelli teaches that in a world where so many are not good, you must learn to be able to not be good. The virtues taught in our secular and religious schools are incompatible with the virtues one must practice to safeguard those same institutions. The power of the lion and the cleverness of the fox: These are the qualities a leader must harness to preserve the republic.

For such a leader, allies are friends when it is in their interest to be. (We can, with difficulty, accept this lesson when embodied by a Charles de Gaulle; we have even greater difficulty when it is taught by, say, Hamid Karzai.) What’s more, Machiavelli says, leaders must at times inspire fear not only in their foes but even in their allies — and even in their own ministers.”

Read full story.

Historian Quentin Skinner on Machiavelli’s “The Prince” (1513)


American Jewish Committee begrüßt Stellenwert Israels im Koalitionsvertrag: „Sicherheit Israels für uns nicht verhandelbar“.

December 2, 2013

Pressemitteilung

Berlin, den 02.12.2013

Das American Jewish Committee (AJC) begrüßt das deutliche Bekenntnis zu Deutschlands Verantwortung für die Sicherheit Israels im Koalitionsvertrag und wertet die Aussagen als wichtiges Fundament für den Ausbau der deutsch-israelischen Beziehungen. Zugleich mahnt das AJC vor dem Hintergrund der jüngsten EU-Antisemitismusstudie die zügige Umsetzung des Bundestags-Maßnahmenbeschlusses an.

„Dass in diesem Koalitionsvertrag noch stärker als in der vergangenen Vereinbarung von 2009 die besondere Verpflichtung Deutschlands für den Schutz der Sicherheit Israels betont wird, zeigt den besonderen Stellenwert der deutsch-israelischen Beziehungen auf. Wir begrüßen zudem, dass die Feierlichkeiten zum 50-jährigen Jubiläum der Aufnahme diplomatischer Beziehungen zwischen Deutschland und Israel für das Jahr 2015 im Koalitionsvertrag hervorgehoben werden und das deutsch-israelische Verhältnis dadurch eine besondere Würdigung erhält“, so Deidre Berger, Direktorin des AJC Berlin Ramer Institute for German-Jewish Relations.

Im Koalitionsvertrag heißt es: „Wir bekennen uns zu der besonderen Verantwortung Deutschlands gegenüber Israel als jüdischem und demokratischem Staat und dessen Sicherheit. Das Existenzrecht und die Sicherheit Israels sind für uns nicht verhandelbar. 2015 feiern wir das 50-jährige Jubiläum der Aufnahme diplomatischer Beziehungen zum Staat Israel. Dieses Jubiläum wird die Bundesregierung angemessen würdigen.“

Auch die transatlantischen Beziehungen werden im Vertrag besonders betont.

„Ein wichtiges Signal angesichts der jüngsten Spionage-Diskussionen“, sagte Berger weiter.

Beim Thema Antisemitismus und Rechtsextremismus wollen CDU/CSU und SPD zivilgesellschaftliche Initiativen und Programme verstetigen. Weitergehende Umsetzungsstrategien zum Thema Antisemitismus finden sich im Koalitionsvertrag jedoch nicht. Erst am 13. Juni beschloss der Deutsche Bundestag einen fraktionsübergreifenden Antrag zum Thema Antisemitismus. Die Resolution forderte die Bundesregierung dazu auf, den Maßnahmen-Katalog zur Bekämpfung des Antisemitismus umzusetzen.

„Die Ergebnisse der jüngsten EU-Studie, wonach mehr als 63% der deutschen Juden angaben, das Tragen jüdischer Symbole aus Angst vor Antisemitismus zu vermeiden, erhöhen den Handlungsdruck. Es braucht nun einen Umsetzungsplan der beschlossenen Maßnahmen, auch damit die Bekämpfung des Antisemitismus verbindlicher und kontinuierlicher erfolgen kann“, sagte Berger weiter.

Der Bundestags-Beschluss vom 13. Juni sieht unter anderem Förderprogramme zum deutsch-israelischen Austausch, Maßnahmen zur Unterstützung von Holocaust-Überlebenden durch deutsche Jugendliche und eine bessere Darstellung jüdischen Lebens im deutschen Schulunterricht vor.

Zum Thema Ghettorente vereinbarten CDU/CSU und SPD, dass „den berechtigten Interessen der Holocaust-Überlebenden nach einer angemessenen Entschädigung für die in einem Ghetto geleistete Arbeit Rechnung getragen wird“.

„Es ist wichtig, dass die zukünftigen Koalitionsparteien endlich eine Lösung beim Thema Ghettorenten erzielen wollen. Nun kommt es darauf an, dass CDU/CSU und SPD in den nächsten drei Monaten einen Umsetzungsplan für das Thema Ghettorenten vorlegen. Die noch wenigen Überlebenden können nicht noch länger warten, um verspätete Entschädigungszahlungen zu bekommen“, so Berger abschließend.

Pressekontakt

Deidre Berger, Director

Email: berlin@ajc.org

American Jewish Committee (AJC) Berlin Office

Leipziger Platz 15, Mosse Palais

10117 Berlin

Tel.: +49 (0)30 22 65 94-0

Fax: +49 (0)30 22 65 94-14


Wolfgang Kubicki: „Große Koalition ist großer Mist“

November 28, 2013

FDP-Präsidiumsmitglied und Vorsitzender der FDP-Fraktion im Landtag von Schleswig-Holstein Wolfgang Kubicki hat die Große Koalition wegen nicht eingehaltener Wahlversprechen und mangelhafter Wirtschaftspolitik kritisiert.

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In einem „Stern“-Gastbeitrag wirft er der Bundeskanzlerin vor, die deutsche Wirtschaft durch staatliche Eingriffe zu schwächen. Immerhin seien die meisten Versäumnisse der Koalitionsverhandlungen der SPD zuzuschreiben.

Zum Artikel.


Neues aus der Anstalt: Das Guttenberg-Syndrom in der Politik

December 25, 2011

Ein Kommentar von David Berger

WAS KÖNNEN WIR VOM VERHALTEN DES QUARTALS-IRREN DER KONSERVATIVEN GUTTENBERG LERNEN?

Mit Glämour wollte der Telenovela-Populist Karl-Theodor beim Fußvolk punkten, was ihm gelungen ist, da die Massen bekanntlich dumm und leicht manipulierbar sind. Eine heile Welt und schnelle Lösungen zu allen Problemen versprach denen der Messias des deutschen Stammtisches.

Wie es sich an der Bundeswehr-Reform herausstellte, ist davon nicht viel übrig geblieben, ausser mehr Probleme, die sein Nachfolger Thomas De Maizière ausbaden muss…

Mit mimosenhaften Verhalten, den man sonst nur aus dem Kindergarten kennt, meldet sich der narzissistische Baron zurück. Auf der einen Seite, Schelte für die Parteikollegen austeilen (nach dem Motto: “Ihr habt mein Spielzeug kaputt gemacht!”), auf der anderen Seite Mitleid beim Stammtisch suchen, um zumindest als Märtyrer bei denen besser anzukommen (nach dem Motto: “Seht ihr, sie sind alle böse zu mir!”).

Diagnose: Patient Guttenberg leidet offensichtlich an einer negativen narzisstischen Persönlichkeitsstörung.

Die Betonung liegt auf “negativ”, weil Selbstliebe an sich gut ist. Schlimm wird es erst, wenn der Patient an mangelndem Selbstwertgefühl leidet. Vermutlich hatte dieser Patient als Kind nicht genug Bestätigung von seinen Eltern bekommen. Die sucht er nun bei der Öffentlichkeit.

Rezept: solche Patienten sollte man möglichst den Zutritt zum Polit-Geschäft verweigern. Gefährlich und unberechenbar, daher ungeeignet ein politisches Amt zu bekleiden.


Michel Rocard, figure de proue de la gauche pragmatique

August 23, 2011

L’ancien Premier ministre fête aujourd’hui ses 81 ans.

J’aimais bien cet homme politique, qui avait eu le courage (ou la pusillanimité prétendent ses rivaux de gauche comme de droite) de renoncer à se présenter à la présidentielle de 1988, pour éviter ainsi à la gauche une lutte interne fratricide qui aurait bénéficié au camp adverse.

A l’époque, j’étais aussi déçu de sa décision, bien que je n’avais pas encore l’âge de voter. Un débat Chirac-Rocard (qui dans le privé sont des amis inséparables depuis Sciences-Po) aurait été sans nul doute intéressant.

N’importe: Michel Rocard a laissé une trace mémorable dans la vie politique française. Ce Protestant doté d’une intelligence brillante et d’une volonté d’action intrépidante a en réalité révolutionné la culture politique de la Vème République. Je fais notamment allusion à la fameuse «méthode Rocard» qui a résolu bien des problèmes, pas seulement celui de la Nouvelle-Calédonie.

Joyeux anniversaire, Michel Rocard!


In Hamburg sagt man Tschüss…zu den Grünen!

February 20, 2011

“Der höchste Grad von Ungerechtigkeit ist geheuchelte Gerechtigkeit.” Philosoph Platon über Bündnis 90/Die Grünen

Eine Jubel-Glosse von Narcisse Caméléon, Ressortleiter Deppologie, zum Tag der Befreiung Hamburgs von der Grünen Besserwisserei

Unsere Gebete wurden erhöht. Die Grüne Pest aka Bündnis 90/Die Grünen, die sich durch Bevormundung und Verfilzung auf Kosten der Bürger profilieren wollte, ist endlich weg aus der Regierungsverantwortung in unserer schönen Stadt Hamburg. Eine liberale gar libertäre Metropole wie Hamburg braucht definitiv keine Bevormundung und auch keine Besserwisserei à la Bündnis 90/Die Grünen.

Gott sei Dank haben die Hamburger die heuchlerische Partei Bündnis 90/ Die Grünen in die politische Wüste geschickt! “Die unideologischen Salon-Grünen haben es aufgrund von Fehlleistungen und Verfilzung am meisten verdient, nach der Wahl in der Opposition zu landen”, sagte zu Recht Alt-Bürgermeister Henning Voscherau.

Olaf Scholz wird ein guter Bürgermeister sein, vor allem weil er rechts von der SPD ist, also offen für eine sozialliberale Koalition ist, und die absolute Mehrheit hat. Er braucht Gott sei Dank die Grünen Parvenüs nicht. Die Grünen sind in Hamburg seit dem Scheitern der Schulreform (viele CDU-Wähler haben SPD gewählt, um Schwarz-Grün zu verhindern) und der Genehmigung des Kohlekraftwerkes in Moorburg (durch eine grüne Umweltsenatorin, ein Schlag ins Gesicht für die Grünen-Wähler) total abgebrannt, was eine sehr gute Nachricht für Hamburg und Deutschland ist.

Wir wollen hoffen, dass die Niederlage der Grünen ein bundesweiter Trend sein wird. Eine FDP-SPD-Koalition täte Deutschland gut, weil beide Parteien große inhaltliche Schnittmengen haben.

Absolute Mehrheit der SPD oder FDP-SPD-Koalition ist allemal besser für unsere Stadt. Das wackelige Experiment Schwarz-Grün ist endgültig gescheitert, und das ist gut so. Zukunftsmusik in Hamburg oder gar auf Bundesebene könnte eine sozialliberale Koalition sein. Wie einst mit Helmut Schmidt

Wir gratulieren SPD und FDP, dass sie die Grünen verhindert haben.

Die in HIRAM7 REVIEW veröffentlichten Essays und Kommentare geben nicht grundsätzlich den Standpunkt der Redaktion wieder.