Cynical Synapse

Wed, 21 Sep 2011

Two-Faced, Schizophrenic Nature of US Foreign Policy

Filed under: Allies, Arab states, Diplomacy, Hypocrits, Israel, Libyan War, Middle East, Oil, Palestine, Politics — cynicalsynapse @ 1:50 am


No wonder allies and enemies alike are confused by US foreign policy. We talk a good game, but we often fail to follow through. It seems we’re not very good at walking the talk; we don’t do as we say. Sometimes, in our arrogance, US motives are misperceived.

Consider the similarities and differences between Libya, where the US supported intervention, and Syria, where the US simply huffed and puffed, doing nothing. Syria is largely Arabic and Muslim; Libya is even more so. Syria is in the Middle East while Libya is in Africa. France and England have considerable interests in Libyan oil, but not in Syria. When the rebellion began in Libya, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)—mostly France and Britain—decided civilians needed protection from the regime’s heavy-handed response to the uprising. I wonder at what point did Libya cease being a sovereign state so such foreign military intervention became legitimate. Not that I’m a Qaddafi supporter, but the rule and application of law is not supposed to be just a matter of convenience.

Syrian police beat protestors

With Syria, the regime also responded with military force against rebelling civilians. The result has been at least 2,700 Syrians killed and probably double that as refugees. From NATO? Sanctions and finger-wagging.

The US praised the Arab Spring, the regime change it brought in Egypt and Libya, and the freedom and democracy it harkens. Why doesn’t this apply to the Palestinians? The US has long supported a two state solution between Israel and Palestine. I’m a slow learner, but recently it dawned on me, why do the Palestinians need Israel’s permission to become a sovereign state? Maybe the Palestinians realized the same thing and that’s why they’re going to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly and Security Council.

West Bank settlements

As for Israel’s opposition to Palestine’s bid for statehood, it should be obvious. A sovereign Palestinian state means Israel can’t invade at any whim or fancy, it can’t build settlements wherever, and it the Israeli state has to treat a Palestinian state as an equal. Even if Palestinian statehood is in Israel’s long term interests, it is happy being the dominant party in the ongoing feud.

If When they make their case before the UN Security Council, the Obama Administration intends to veto Palestinian statehood. While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talks about a two-state solution, I have to agree the US official position is on a collision course for disaster.

We are set to squander whatever remaining goodwill we have in the region at a crucial time, while demonstrating at the same time that we are incapable of being even-handed mediators in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As one European diplomat put it the other day “it’s almost as though the U.S. wants to be seen as being isolated with Israel.”

Israeli security check

When you consider Israeli raids, security checks, and property usurpation, it seems to me Israel took its lessons from Nazi Germany. Only paranoid states take national security to totalitarian and arbitrary extremes. And, we wonder why Muslims distrust us.

Previously on Israel and Palestine:



  1. Very good report, CS – well worded. You’ve certainly nailed our foreign policy guidelines. Our level of foreign policy effectiveness is dependent upon what the country has to offer the US. And if it’s oil, our top-level policy goes into effect immediately. And I think it’s not just our foreign policy that is questioned by many countries; our modern-day government by “Democracy” is highly questioned. If I were an outsider looking at the US politics today, I’d be questioning if Democracy was really a form of government I would want.

    Comment by The Old MAN — Wed, 21 Sep 2011 @ 12:06 pm

    • I have to agree with you our government, and especially elected officials, seems to tolerate its citizenry only enough to be able to very loosely describe itself as a democracy. Sheesh!

      Comment by cynicalsynapse — Wed, 21 Sep 2011 @ 5:07 pm

  2. CS, thought I’d comment again by adding this. It confirms what we have already said about how our foreign policy works.

    Why is Obama Selling Weapons to the King of Bahrain While He’s Attacking Pro-Democracy Protestors?

    Comment by The Old Man — Sat, 24 Sep 2011 @ 7:36 am

    • Nice! Although the TOW anti-armor missiles likely won’t be used against Bahrainis, the up-armored HMMWVs certainly could. “Here’s a cattle prod. Now don’t pick on your little brother any more.”

      Comment by cynicalsynapse — Sun, 25 Sep 2011 @ 9:12 am

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