War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence – Ronan Farrow (W. W. Norton)
President Ronald Reagan famously summed up his foreign policy doctrine by saying that America’s mission was to “nourish and defend freedom and democracy.” He, likely many strong leaders before him, dating back to Roman Emperor, Hadrian in the first century AD had a stated policy of “peace through strength.” This policy of military might drove Reagan’s naysayers in the Democrat party and the media to the brink of their sanity as they often labeled him a cowboy or much worse. Yet the results speak for themselves with the fall of communism in the Soviet Union and around the globe attests.
Writing for the CATO Institute, Doug Bandow summed it up with the simple line “peace was the end and strength was the means.” Since Reagan, U.S. foreign policy has been a mishmash of failed policies that focused on trying to chit chat, or buy our way to influence around the globe with failings like the Clinton era of having former President Jimmy Carter negotiating a nuclear deal with North Korea, to Clinton’s failure to deal with international terrorists like Osama bin Laden; who famously dubbed the U.S. as a “paper tiger.” George W. Bush couldn't quite wrap his arms around whether or not he wanted to be a nation builder, and don’t even get me started on Barack Obama’s international apology tour and utter failure to deal with American’s held hostage around the globe, best summed up by his trading of five terrorists for an Army deserter. Then there is the debacle of the Iran Nuclear deal.
Apparently in the midst of him being thrust into the global spotlight for his investigative journalism on the sexual harassment/assault/#me too front, journalist Ronan Farrow found time to pull together his thoughts on the demise of American foreign policy in the Trump era in the form of War on Peace: The End of Diplomacy and the Decline of American Influence. Farrow tapped into his time working in various advisory roles in the Obama State Department and offers some interesting insight into the inner workings of the negotiations and process of working with globetrotting ambassador Richard Holbrooke.
I can’t help but think there is an almost childlike quality to liberal’s belief that you can somehow talk and buy your way to peace. While it may be a hard lesson for some, peace is not negotiated, it is won. So-called peace negotiations all too often boil down to battling over the size of the conference table for the peace negotiations (see Viet Nam War.)
For Farrow, much like Mark Twain’s death, the reports of the death of American foreign policy and influence are greatly exaggerated. While Farrow’s colleagues in the media will breathlessly speak of trade wars with China, in their eyes wrongheaded Presidential Tweets about “little rocket man” in North Korea and the utter folly of scrapping the awful Iran Nuclear deal and moving on without our European allies, the ends will be the return of a stronger United States on the international stage and the means will be through a position of strength, not kowtowing to thugs and dictators.