Our readers are well aware none of our proposed solutions to our various ills have come close to being adopted. No new and shiny third major party to break the hold of our existing duopoly. Obama care rolls merrily down the road with no coherent alternative even considered. More states have increased the minimum wage further proving commonsense continues to lose out to political flim-flam. We have withdrawn from the one proposed multinational trade agreement the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and threaten to withdraw from others (NAFTA). Not only do we not have a base in Kurdistan, apparently we have tossed our best allies in the fight against ISIS to the wolves. Israel will face nuclear destruction in the not too distant future. The Middle East Cauldron threatens to boil over in the face of our much diminished influence. China advances its control of a major trade route. Bad actors in Cuba and Venezuela in our hemisphere to North Korea are still in place to continue their evil ways. By all rights we should be in deep depression, but being cock-eyed optimists we would rather believe the across board policy failures will ultimately open people to real innovative solutions.
Take our domestic politics. While no new party has yet taken the field, more and more people have become estranged from the two majors. Senators Corker and Flake have chosen to go home rather than try to continue in a party no longer representing their values. Most centrist Democrats have been pushed out of their party. The few left such as Joe Manchin are curiosities. Maybe they and their followers just going to hide under their beds, but most people active in politics all their lives don’t go quietly into the night. If their political futures are blocked in the two established parties many will want a path forward. The present leaders inability to solve problems leaves the door wide open for a new approach. Ambitious talented people will find a way. Possibly we will see Flake and Corker and others expounding their views on government in a new venue. We expressed our view that Flake and others needed an alternative to ward off the Trump/Bannon wing of the party in our post THE SHAPE OF THINGS TO COME Remember the inability to solve problems such as slavery brought forth the Republicans causing the demise of the Whigs and changed the Democrats for decades.
Even though we withdrew from the TPP, the other 11 nations are going ahead. How long will our commercial interests stand for being on the outside looking in? Before long the absurdity of negotiating scads of bilateral agreements will be apparent. Thousands upon thousands of jobs depend on NAFTA and people finally appear to be waking up to that fact. They will want to be heard.
Raqqa has fallen and the Islamic State is broken. So why don’t we feel safer? Islamist extremists are a symptom of continuing Middle East dysfunction not the cause. Haven’t we learned knocking one group leads only a new one. Whack-A Mole anyone? The only thing we accomplished was strengthening our enemies. The Russian backed Shia alliance of Iran, Iraq, Syria and Hezbollah is ascendant and the Sunnis are reacting in strange ways. War in Yemen and a purge in Saudi Arabia may be a steps forward or more likely a further descent into chaos. All we have accomplished for all our enormously costly efforts in the area is further endangering our few real friends, the Kurds and the Israelis. We have now have little presence in the area. While the Russian have both a major Naval base and Airbase in the area, our one airbase is in Turkey and we need their permission to use it. Just imagine how much more leverage we would have in the area if we had a base in Kurdistan as we suggested in our posts SSSHHH! A MIDDLE EAST POLICY ON THE QT, SSSHHH! MORE MIDEAST POLICY ON THE QT. and You didn’t listen, now what?. The definition of a strategic position is it presents an existential threat to your adversary. A base in Kurdistan does just that to all its neighbors. We would be dealing from a much stronger position. Will our foreign policy establishment wake up or will we continue to appear impotent and untrustworthy? Why are we are we wed to European drawn post World War I Middle East borders that never made sense to those who lived there?
TPP wasn’t just a trade agreement, it was part of the bedrock for an area wide response to Chinese ambitions. Dumping the agreement along with the sight of our turning on the Kurds lessens our influence in the area. Why stand with the US if we aren’t standing by our friends?
The administration has made some efforts towards Cuba and Venezuela but much more needs to be done. We have to recognize our neighbor’s suffering. A revamping of the Organization of American States (OAS) would be a good place to start. Pressuring China to rein in their client is a move in the right direction but if this fails to show results, we should treat North Korea and China as a unit. Telling China a threat from North Korea will be considered a threat from China itself and we will respond accordingly. A North Korean attack on The US or its Allies would provoke a direct response on China itself. Would Xi Jinping let Kim Jong-Un put Beijing in the nuclear cross hairs?
A ray of hope is the recognition the US has fallen well behind as a good place to do business. Dumping some foolish regulations and the a possible revamping of business taxes are moves in the right direction. Of course much more need to be done. We offered some ideas in our post Time is Money and Does it Pencil Out , but the change of direction is welcome. We’ll take any reason for optimism to keep our spirits up.