Archive for November, 2014

AMERICA IN RETREAT BY BRET STEPHENS, PENGUIN, 2014

November 30, 2014

Penguin presents Wall Street Journal’s recent book America in Retreat as a brilliant book that will elevate foreign policy in the national conversation. Pulitzer Prize–winning columnist Stephens makes a powerful case for American intervention abroad. Excerpts below:

In December 2011 the last American soldier left Iraq. “We’re leaving behind a sovereign, stable, and self-reliant Iraq,” boasted President Obama. He was proved devastatingly wrong less than three years later as jihadists seized the Iraqi city of Mosul. The event cast another dark shadow over the future of global order—a shadow, which, Bret Stephens argues, we ignore at our peril.

America in Retreat identifies a profound crisis on the global horizon. As Americans seek to withdraw from the world to tend to domestic problems, America’s adversaries spy opportunity. Vladimir Putin’s ambitions to restore the glory of the czarist empire go effectively unchecked, as do China’s attempts to expand its maritime claims in the South China Sea, as do Iran’s efforts to develop nuclear capabilities. Civil war in Syria displaces millions throughout the Middle East while turbocharging the forces of radical Islam. Long-time allies such as Japan, Saudi Arabia, and Israel, doubting the credibility of American security guarantees, are tempted to freelance their foreign policy, irrespective of U.S. interests.

In a terrifying chapter imagining the world of 2019, Stephens shows what could lie in store if Americans continue on their current course. Yet we are not doomed to this future. Stephens makes a passionate rejoinder to those who argue that America is in decline, a process that is often beyond the reach of political cures. Instead, we are in retreat—the result of faulty, but reversible, policy choices.

Comment: The United States is not in decline but since 2012 it has been in retreat. In the 2014 elections the American electorate had enough and the GOP will be in charge from 2015. Stephens has pointed the way to a forward policy needed by the United States. An aggressive Russia and expansionist China are high on the agenda of Congress. Terrorism in the Middle East is a challenge. The American military needs strengthening. The USAF must acquire at least 200 Long Range Strike-Bombers to replace aging B-1s and B-52s.

Hoover Institution’s Peter Berkowitz wrote in RealClearPolitics lauding Stephens command of American history, the author’s mastery of grand strategy and grasp of current events. Defending American principles abroad advances American interests at home.

Important are also the views on the book of Professor Niall Ferguson of Harvard University, an expert on civilizational analysis:

At a time when the president of the United States explicitly renounces the role of ‘global policeman’ and a remarkable proportion of Americans—conservatives and liberals alike—seem irresistibly drawn to isolationism in all but name, Bret Stephens has written a shrewd, sharp, and shamelessly unfashionable defense of American power as a force for good in the world. He makes it clear why now, even more than in the past, the supposed benefits of Uncle Sam’s retreat will swiftly be eclipsed by the very real costs of advancing terrorism and authoritarianism.

SENATOR BARRY GOLDWATER’S NATIONAL AND GLOBAL LEGACY PRESERVED IN ARIZONA

November 28, 2014

The Republic, Arizona, on October 24, 2012, reported that downtown Mesa near Phoenix, Arizona, will be home to a library honoring the legacy of late Arizona Sen. Barry Goldwater.

Establishment of the Barry and Peggy Goldwater Library and Archives is expected to be completed in 2016. Excerpts below:

The $30 million research and education center in the heart of Arizona’s third-largest city is expected to contain not only the Goldwater archives but papers from other Arizona politicians.

It will also showcase artifacts from Goldwater’s life, his trajectory having paralleled that of Arizona’s statehood while deeply influencing national and global politics.

The library’s website describes the facility as “a cultural and historical institution of global significance.”

The archives are certain to be both voluminous and rich: The late author William F. Buckley reported that after leaving the Senate, Goldwater dictated more than 24,000 letters in a single year.

The library’s website calls Goldwater’s papers “one of the premier congressional collections in the United States.”

Comment: The Barry and Peggy Goldwater Center for Democracy on its website says that it was founded to preserve the legacy of United States Senator Barry Goldwater, the father of American conservatism.

“Our mission is to promote a clearer, better understanding of the United States Congress, both historically and in a contemporary setting. While the heart of the Center is Senator Goldwater’s papers, speeches and campaign documents, the Center for Democracy will also house Congressional papers from Arizona’s members of the House and Senate since Statehood as they become available.

The Goldwater Center will include a small museum, where exhibits might be from Presidential Libraries. The Center will hold lecture series and economic development seminars and students will have opportunities to learn how democracy works.

The Barry and Peggy Goldwater Center for Democracy will be a 40,000- square-foot library and research center located on five acres within a block of the Mesa Arts Center.

ONE COUNTRY, ONE HONG KONG, ONE TAIWAN

November 25, 2014

Washington Times on November 6, 2014, published an article by Miles Yu on the the future of Hong Kong’s pro-democracy demonstrations remaining unclear, but one unmistakable consequence is Taiwan’s open rejection of China’s unification plan.

In his boldest response yet to Hong Kong’s protests, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou flatly rejected China’s plan to annex Taiwan via Beijing’s “one country, two systems” solution. Excerpts below:

“The mainland government has proposed the ‘one country, two systems’ solution; Taiwan cannot accept it,” Mr. Ma told American and Scandinavian journalists.

China’s reception of Hong Kong in 1997 and Macau in 1999 was based on the “one country, two systems” promise, but Taiwan has never bought into the scheme.

It has been widely understood that how well Beijing keeps its “one country, two systems” promise in Hong Kong will determine how far Taiwan will fall for Beijing’s “unification” plan.

While the core of Hong Kong’s “capitalist system” (press freedoms, judicial independence, rule of law, etc.) is being eroded by Chinese interference, what has shattered Taiwan’s confidence inBeijing’s sincerity is China’s hard-line approach to Hong Kong’s student-led, pro-democracy protests.

The protests emboldened Mr. Ma, usually known for timidity in addressing Beijing, to speak out in support of Hong Kong’s demand for democracy.

“We completely understand and support the Hong Kong people’s appeals for true universal suffrage because freedom and democracy have always been Taiwan’s core values,” he said Sept. 30 at the start of Hong Kong’s turmoil.

Since then, Mr. Ma seems to have found his cause celebre.

Celebrating Taiwan’s National Day on Oct. 10, he reiterated support for Hong Kong protesters and chastised Beijing’s unification policies. Three weeks later, Mr. Ma took his message to The New York Times to stress Taiwan’s solidarity with the protesters, followed by his major denouncement of the “one country” scheme on Monday.

Comment: The statements of President Ma are welcome. The pro-democracy demonstrations in Hong Kong have proven that there is growing resistance on the mainland to the heavy hand of the Peking regime.