Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: Military

The Foreign Policy Borg

One of the most common criticisms of Obama from the left is that his foreign policy is not discernibly all that different from that of late period George W. Bush–Guantanamo was never  closed, Obama employed a surge strategy in Afghanistan, drone attacks were used, troop numbers continued to decline in Iraq, it all felt, and perhaps it all feels, as though nothing has changed. At the same time, many on the left like to argue that, were Kerry or Gore elected, things would have been quite different, that Bush was discernibly distinct from Clinton. The historical record shows this to be false–Bush’s foreign policy amounted to a mere evolution of Clinton’s military interventionism and embrace of the democratic peace theory, the notion that democracies promote peace and prosperity and that, consequently, democracy should be spread to foreign lands. It’s not as if the interventions in Somalia and Yugoslavia during the nineties were motived in any way significantly differently from the reasoning eventually supplied for the occupation of Iraq–spreading freedom, ending tyranny, and so on down the line. Of course, when these people were running for office, they talked a different game. They tried to draw distinction from their predecessors and purported to offer a serious foreign policy alternative–Mitt Romney as we recall attempted this very line of argument. So why is it that our presidents get assimilated into the foreign policy borg and adopt policies that are, for the most part, quite similar to those adopted by their predecessors? That’s today’s topic of investigation.

Read the rest of this entry »

The War on PBS

During the recent presidential debate, Mitt Romney said the following:

I’m sorry, Jim, I’m gonna stop the subsidy to PBS. I like PBS, I love Big Bird — I actually like you too — but I am not going to keep spending money on things [we have] to borrow money from China to pay for.

Since the debate, the left has made Romney out to be someone who hates Sesame Street and PBS, and the right has made Romney out to be someone who takes spending cuts seriously. Both completely miss the point. This statement from Romney actually tells you quite a lot about the candidate. This is a statement with far-ranging implications that matter a great deal more than even PBS’ defenders realise.

Read the rest of this entry »

Trouble in China

There’s a lot of fear in the United States and elsewhere with regard to a rising China. Many people are worried about the amount of government debt China possesses, or how so many jobs in industry and manufacturing have moved over there. Increasingly, China and the United States are being compared to one another as if their power outlay were more or less equal–in Pakistan for instance, the numbers are more or less even on the question. However, there are several key reasons why Sinophobia is exaggerated and unnecessary, and they comprise today’s topic.

Read the rest of this entry »

Democratic Party Platform Expedition Part III: Foreign Policy

Welcome to the final installment of our journey through the Democratic Party platform. Regular readers may recall that last time we addressed a variety of social and legal issues. Today we finish up with the platform’s foreign policy content.

Read the rest of this entry »

Republican Party Platform Expedition Part IV: Foreign Policy

Today we conclude our expedition through the bizarre world of the Republican Party platform. In part III, we discussed miscellaneous and social policy. Today we finish the platform with a discussion of the section on foreign policy. So all aboard the Orient Express for a journey to distant lands and strange new places…

Read the rest of this entry »