Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
The most recent G7 summit has come and gone, accomplishing little except to remind us how useless and dangerous has been our long fetish for diplomacy. These meetings and other multinational confabs are merely part of the New World Order’s marketing campaign to convince the free West that multinational technocratic elites are better at advancing national interests than are the sovereign peoples to whom government office-holders are accountable.
Here in the U.S., such advertising campaigns also provide progressives with a permanent partisan club for beating conservatives and foreign policy realists who want to put America’s national interests and security ahead of those of some mythic “global community,” a euphemism for nations who talk globally but act locally.
American Democrat and Republican globalists have for decades smeared nationalism and promoted instead greater integration into the “rules-based international order.” Conservative presidents who resisted were pilloried as unsophisticated jingoists and trigger-happy militarists clinging to worn-out ideas from a more savage time. Ronald Reagan, with his allegedly crude, unnuanced “we win, they lose” and “evil empire” rhetoric was mocked as a dangerously naïve warmonger, with his arms build-up and “Star Wars” fantasies about anti-missile defense systems. But Reagan’s success showed that for diplomatic “covenants” to be effective, there had to be a credible “sword” backing the agreement.
This caricature of Republican presidents ran wild during the George W. Bush years. The second war against Saddam Hussein was attacked as a “failure of diplomacy” despite the serial diplomatic failures of Hussein’s violating more than a dozen UN Security Council resolutions as well as the terms of the Gulf War armistice. Typical was the statement of Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who said he was “saddened that this president failed so miserably at diplomacy that we’re now forced to war.” Of course, the New York Times also peddled this DNC talking point, writing of Bush’s “failure to enlist the help of the United Nations in conducting the war,” despite Bush’s spending several months trying to get the UN Security Council to “help.”
So effective was this “failure of diplomacy” charge that Barack Obama ran for president on it and its corollary, the supposed alienation of our allies. Typical of these by then globalist clichés was the Los Angeles Times’s op-ed that called out Bush’s “hubris and relentless disregard for our allies” that “shredded the fabric of multinationalism.” That last claim reveals the globalist “new world order” context for the diplomacy fetish, as the Times goes on to make clear: the Bush era “must be brought to a swift close with a renewed emphasis on diplomacy, consultation and the forging of broad international coalitions.”
This op-ed appeared in January 2009, and was a reminder to the newly elected Barack Obama of his prior pledges to do just that. His 2007 Foreign Affairs article had indulged this stale partisan theme. There he expressed the need “to reinvigorate American diplomacy,” and pledged “to renew American leadership in the world” and “rebuild alliances, partnerships, and institutions necessary to common threats”––the essence of New World Order foreign policy. Coupled to this deference to multinational globalism was the essay’s “soft” anti-Americanism expressed in doubts about American goodness and exceptionalism, since we are just one nation among many others, and should use our power “not in the spirit of a patron but in the spirit of a partner mindful of his own imperfections,” a phrase evocative of Jimmy Carter’s 1977 “crisis of confidence” speech.
So pleased was the global multinational, technocratic elite that its oldest flak, the Nobel Peace Prize, was awarded to Barack Obama on spec. But in practice, Obama’s New World Order rhetoric perfumed a foreign policy of retreat and appeasement. Most egregious was the Iran nuclear deal that rewarded a murderous rogue state with billions of dollars and assurances that in a decade it would possess nuclear weapons. That the “rules-based international order” disdained sovereign nations and the will of their peoples was obvious when Obama bypassed approval in the Senate, thus cancelling the people’s power to hold their leaders accountable.
Donald Trump’s America First focus and realist foreign policy enraged the globalist elite, who slandered as incipient fascism his preference for America’s interests and security over stale supranational institutions. Critics hysterically condemned his actions such as prodding our rich NATO allies to spend more money on their own defense, his withdrawal from the useless Paris Climate Accords, and especially his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. The same old slurs of insulting and weakening our allies proliferated. The critics seemed not to know that an alliance is based on reciprocity, and that some of our NATO partners seldom sacrificed their national interests if American policy, no matter how beneficial to other states, compromised them.
So, of course, the superannuated charge of trashing diplomacy and alliances was featured in the 2020 presidential election. The alleged nativist, bumbling, undiplomatic Trump needed to go, and the supposed experienced foreign policy maven and globalist Joe Biden should take his place. In fact, the recent G7 summit demonstrates the fecklessness and rank stupidity of the Biden administration’s policy of appeasement and its reliance on rhetoric unlikely to be backed up with deeds.
An example of how the Biden team and our allies talk big about checking despots and tyrants but act small is Germany’s partnership with Russia in building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to provide Europe with Russian natural gas. This deal if successful will put Putin’s hands around Europe’s energy throat, and weaken a beleaguered Ukraine, which will no longer get transit fee for the pipeline crossing its territory, thus weakening further its already struggling economy. But Germany just ignored these risks and the protests of the U.S. and other European nations, its ambassador to the U.S. saying, “Some things Europeans need to decide for themselves,” a Freudian slip revealing that “Europe” is really Germany. So much for New World Order interests trumping parochial national ones.
Rather than just protesting this dangerous deal, as Obama did, Trump sanctioned the CEO and officers of the company constructing it. So of course, Biden has removed the sanctions, giving Vladimir Putin, the Dems’ global font of all evil during the Trump years, a big geopolitical win. Yet despite this blunder, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken preposterously claimed that U.S. opposition to the pipeline is “unwavering,” and this act of rank appeasement was justified by the need “to rebuild relationships with our allies and partners in Europe,” implying that Trump had trashed them. At the G7 summit, French President Emmanuel Macron spoke for the western EU when he agreed with Blinken’s sentiment: “It is great to have a U.S. president who’s part of the club and very willing to cooperate.” That is, one who’s willing to subordinate America’s interests to Europe’s.
Michel Rubin points out the critical weakness of this idealistic globalism: believing that nations indeed share a “harmony of interests”: “Biden and Blinken may associate acquiescence to Berlin with sophisticated diplomacy and may assume that Germany stands for the same values as the United States, but this would be a mistake. Simply put, Germany is neither a good ally nor does its leadership share the same liberal, democratic worldview as the United States.”
Finally, the most egregious example of failed globalist foreign policy, the Iran nuclear deal, illustrates most effectively the Democrats’ uncritical acceptance of the worn-out paradigm and the dangers it poses. For Obama, the deal was a legacy achievement and a model for how “multilateral diplomatic outreach” and concessions can peacefully end a dangerous conflict. Instead, the deal was an act of appeasement brought about by a president’s narcissistic vanity and the institutional sclerosis of our foreign policy and national security agencies.
Trump’s withdrawal from deal, imposition of punitive sanctions, and kinetic pushback on Iran’s adventurism marked a long-needed challenge to the questionable assumptions about human nature and motivation that those institutions assume. So again, the Trumpophobic Biden and his team are negotiating with the mullahs to reinstate the agreement, something the mullahs will not do until sanctions are lifted. Indeed, the regime has intensified its aggression, even as it contemptuously rejects the U.S. negotiators’ offers. If Biden caves and ends the sanctions, a rogue regime on the brink of economic collapse will be resuscitated, and America will snatch defeat of an inveterate enemy from the jaws of victory.
Speaking of bad allies and the globalists that Dems want to flatter and appease, throughout Trump’s term NATO allies Germany, France, and Great Britain have worked to subvert the sanctions so they can go back to doing business with the mullahs. As Rubin reports of Germany,
Nor has Germany fallen short as an ally only on the issue of Russia. Since the time of German Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel, Berlin has consistently allowed the promise of commercial contracts to undermine consensus with regard to Iran’s nuclear program and Iran’s horrendous abuse of human rights. Both [former German Chancellor] Schröder and Merkel have consistently turned a blind eye or even sought to bury intelligence showing Iranian cheating on its nuclear commitments in order to augment Germany’s own commercial relations. The leader of Germany’s Green Party high-fived the Islamic Republic’s ambassador even as Iran arrested environmentalists and hanged homosexuals. More recently, German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier congratulated Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on the fortieth anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, even as Khamenei belittled the Holocaust.
The perennial DNC talking points about “diplomacy” and “alliances” damaged by Republican nativists and xenophobes are as bankrupt as the “rules-based internal order.” Biden’s reversal has undone Trump’s efforts to restore some realist rigor to our foreign affairs and to America’s prestige and deterrence. As a result, Biden has weakened our global clout, which explains the increased aggression of China, Russia, and Iran over the last six months.
Finally, for all Biden’s and Europe’s talk and collective statements about standing up to China’s abuses of “human rights and fundamental freedoms,” and their feeble call for China’s feckless flunky the World Health Organization to start a “science-based . . . Phase 2 COVID-19 Origins study,” the G7 nations’ lack of substantive actions have signaled to the CCP a failure of Western will and morale. The New World Order dogs will bark, but the Chinese communist caravan will move on.
It’s long past time that the old “rules-based international order” paradigm be changed to one that recognizes the world as it actually is: an arena of diverse nations and peoples with conflicting interests and incompatible principles, beliefs, and values that only the credible threat of force can keep in check.