Bruce Fein is right about NATO, but that is only a partial solution
In a November 25, 2022 article in The Hill, he came out for leaving the alliance.
The man is a well-known lawyer and was with the Justice Department in the Reagan administration.
Attorney Fein makes the case well that NATO’s raison d’ être ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union. He correctly notes that “By remaining in NATO and spearheading its expansion to Russia’s borders with 30 members, the United States provoked President Vladimir Putin’s attack on Ukraine. It was poised to join NATO to fortify the encirclement of an already diminished Russia constituting a greater existential threat to it than the existential threat the Cuban missile crisis posed to the United States.”
He posits that with the U.S. leaving NATO, the NATO paper tiger is no threat to Russia and the war can be ended on reasonable terms. According to Bruce, Russia is not that strong and would benefit from a settlement.
Fein’s case regarding the alliance is well thought out, but could go further. If we could leave NATO to our benefit as well as Europe’s, where else do we have to be?
It is time for our country to embrace a neutralist foreign policy.
If one reflects, we have options in other areas of the world. We should explore them.
Think of the absurdity of committing to defend Taiwan, an island we recognize as part of the People’s Republic of China.
China is being characterized in the American press as a horrible totalitarian regime due to the repressive lockdowns that the population appears to be tired of. Media paints the government policy as totalitarian. The Chinese government might claim it is a measure to save people from covid. Maybe they are wrong, but so what?
The PRC, in its western region, is involved in a campaign of suppression of the Turkic Uyghurs that has been called genocide.
Is that true? In searching Google for several pages, almost all results seem to argue that China is oppressive with no mention of any alternative viewpoint. Finally, there was an article by the redoubtable Jeffrey Sachs and an associate, William Schabas, who is Professor of Law at Middlesex University, London, and author of Genocide in International Law: The Crime of Crimes.
In their article, the authors point out that the State Department’s own top lawyers are skeptical regarding the charge of genocide.
Now, Sachs and Schabas might be wrong, or maybe right. Maybe our government and the press are correct. What is probable is that we are not going to war in this matter, other than due to a miscalculation.
So what is the point of giving the Chinese a hard time?
The risk of war in Taiwan is not worth a war and antagonizing the Chinese in Xinjiang is not smart either.
Thinking further, a policy of leaving North Korea alone probably also makes sense.
Then there is the Middle East. Let’s include places as far flung as the Hindu Kush and the Subcontinent for argument’s sake.
The argument is, from the Med to as far east as you can go, we have to be there…or something.
Evidence is that we have been botching our West Asian relations for decades.
Take Iran. We thought we had that under control starting when the CIA overthrew a government and ended up seeing our chosen surrogate die almost a vagabond in his last days.
Their revolution and our relations have been fraught since the clerics took over. There are now demonstrations against the regime in favor of women’s rights. The Western media is breathlessly reporting the events.
The MSM narrative is not getting much pushback, and that is to be expected, or it would not be “mainstream.” From Fox to NPR, the voice seems one.
For an alternative, Max Blumenthal of Grayzone has an interview with an Iranian woman, Setareh Sadeghi, “an Esfahan, Iran-based scholar and teacher, provides Max Blumenthal with a complex view of Iran’s protests against the country’s morality police and the death of Mahsa Amini never heard in US mainstream media.”
The conversation is nuanced and the lady is no regime sycophant, as the story has many layers. Maybe the nightly TV hysteria is unwarranted.
Of course fear of the imminent Persian bomb is something to worry about, or is it? After all, just up the street, the Pakistanis and Indians have been glaring at each other for decades and there is no panic on the news.
If we were to depart from the rest of the Middle East, would we be missed? Maybe, but that is not the proper question which is, would we miss the Middle East?
If you believe there is a capacity for the other countries of the ME, in concert with Russia and China, to cross oceans and invade the homeland, you need read no further.
There are those who will claim we betray our world historic mission to the nations of the “free world.”
I hope they don’t mean Saudi Arabia, a country that beheads dissidents. That relationship has begun to fray of late, which is not to be regretted.
At the end of the day, if one reflects, in the post-1945 we have been on a long decline,
Korea, not a victory. Vietnam, a defeat. Desert Storm, defeated an army, but not a country. Iraq Invasion, ongoing mess. Afghanistan, a long bleeding defeat.
The present proxy war is continuing, but if past is prologue, optimism might not be warranted.
There is always a possibility that all could be turned around and a benevolent hegemony instituted by our nation, but such is hardly a probability.
If we continue trying to run the world, we court ruin.
Neutralism is a better answer.
Neutralism, however, is not isolationism. It does not mean a hermit kingdom. Isolationism is used as an epithet and smokescreen.
Neutralism, unlike isolationism, means being in the world not managing it.
We should remember the words of the long serving early 20th Century French ambassador to the US, Jean-Jules Jusserand, who observed that distant powers could not easily threaten the US because "on the north, she has a weak neighbor; on the south, another weak neighbor; on the east fish and on the west, fish".
We are a naturally neutralist country, our flirtation with empire comes at a price. Let’s stop before it is the ultimate price.
Richard is the author of She Searches For Monsters To Destroy: America and the Eternal Recurrence of Unnecessary Wars. His substack is The Long Hill Institute. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org.