Foreign policy of the United States

national foreign policy
(Redirected from U.S. foreign policy)

The officially stated goals of the foreign policy of the United States of America, including all the Bureaus and Offices in the United States Department of State, as mentioned in the Foreign Policy Agenda of the Department of State, are "to build and sustain a more democratic, secure, and prosperous world for the benefit of the American people and the international community". In addition, the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs states as some of its jurisdictional goals: "export controls, including nonproliferation of nuclear technology and nuclear hardware; measures to foster commercial interaction with foreign nations and to safeguard American business abroad; international commodity agreements; international education; and protection of American citizens abroad and expatriation". U.S. foreign policy has been the subject of much debate, praise, and criticism, both domestically and abroad.

Coat of arms of the U.S.A.

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  • Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her [America's] heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself, beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force…. She might become the dictatress of the world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit.
    • John Quincy Adams, An Address … Celebrating the Anniversary of Independence, at the City of Washington on the Fourth of July 1821 (1821), p. 32. This appears with minor variations in punctuation and with italics in the phrase "change from liberty to force," in Walter LaFeber, ed., John Quincy Adams and American Continental Empire (1965), p. 45.
  • We have effectively given up on trying to block the president's criticisms of our friends. It can't be helped. He wants to say whatever he wants to say, as he does on any other issue. If anything, when he's told not to say something- to avoid criticizing a leader directly, for instance, or to keep himself from breaking a promise we've made- Trump will say it louder. After these outbursts, it's embarrassing for Trump lieutenants who need to ask the same foreign partners for help on something, whether it is to catch a wanted criminal or to support the United States in an important vote at the United Nations. Imagine someone announced to a crowd that you were a "pompous fool" and then rang you up for a favor. That's the sort of cool reception American officials receive all the time in foreign meetings. President Trump does more than humiliate America's friends. He takes actions or threatens to take actions that will damage them in the long run. For example, Trump has hit Western partners with trade penalties, invoking "national security" provisions of US law to counter what he says are unfair economic practices in places such as Europe. He was on the brink of pulling out of a trade deal with South Korea in the midst of tense discussions on North Korea, putting the US ally in an awkward position. He threatened to scrap a longstanding US defense treaty with Japan, speculating that if America was attacked, the Japanese would not come to our aid but would instead "watch it on a Sony television." And he regularly threatens to discard existing or pending international agreements with our friends in order to get them to do what he wants, including displaying personal fealty towards him.
  • You can't overstate how damaging these presidential whims are to US security. Has it caused us to take a major credibility hit overseas? You bet. We see it all the time. Our closest partners are more guarded toward us than ever before, and it causes dissension within our own team. Every time he back-hands an ally, top officials complain it's not worth bringing up foreign policy developments anymore with the president, for fear that he'll kick over the LEGO structures diplomats have patiently built alongside our partners. "There's no way I'm raising that in the oval office with him," someone might say. "You know it will set him off." This isn't helpful either. The president shouldn't be kept in the dark, yet people worry informing him will cause more harm than good. Others have just decided to resign, unwilling to be party to the dissolution of America's alliances.
  • President Trump has repeatedly astounded advisors by saying he wants to exit our biggest alliance of them all: the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). This would be a huge gift to the Russians, who have long opposed the twenty-nine-nation group. NATO has been the backbone of international security for more than a half century, but the president tells us we are "getting raped" because other countries are spending far less than the United States to be a part of it, adding that the organization is "obsolete." The president is correct that a number of nations aren't spending enough on defense and that America has carried the overwhelming military burden. But the United States is also the most powerful nation on earth, and the investments we make in the NATO alliance allow us to project our influence globally to stop danger before it comes our way. Leaving the alliance would not only be foolish but suicidal- an advertisement to foreign enemies that it's open season against Western countries, each left to fend for themselves.
  • I suppose some Americans don't care about foreign policy until a threat reaches our shores. They should care, because the actions we take abroad- or don't take- determine whether the United States is safe in the long run. Our friends are among the best stockades against foreign hostility. We're talking about countries that come to our aid when disaster strikes; that stand up for us in contentious international disputes; that protect our ships, planes, and people; and that are willing to fight and die alongside our troops in remote deserts. They are not, as Trump will tell anyone who cares to listen, out to screw us. We need them. Will Durant argued that the laws of nature- including "the survival of the fittest"- apply to global politics. In nature, cooperation is one of the keys to winning any competition. We cooperate within our families, our communities, and societies in order to overcome threats. We must do the same on the world stage, sticking close to our allies so the United States not only survives, but thrives. But they no longer trust us. Why should they? Like anyone else, they can't predict the president's erratic behavior, and they find his attitude toward them demeaning. I know he lies to their faces (or on the phone) by offering false assurances of his support. He exposes sensitive discussions we have with them, and he tries to bully them into submission. Consequently, many are planning for life without the United States or, worse, how to deal with us as a competitor. The president of the European Council tweeted a viewpoint shared by many of his colleagues in May 2018, writing, "Looking at the latest decisions of @realDonaldTrump someone could even think: with friends like that who needs enemies."


  • The U.S. corporate media usually report on Israeli military assaults in occupied Palestine as if the United States is an innocent neutral party to the conflict. In fact, large majorities of Americans have told pollsters for decades that they want the United States to be neutral in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But U.S. media and politicians betray their own lack of neutrality by blaming Palestinians for nearly all the violence and framing flagrantly disproportionate, indiscriminate and therefore illegal Israeli attacks as a justifiable response to Palestinian actions.
    The classic formulation from U.S. officials and commentators is that "Israel has the right to defend itself," never "Palestinians have the right to defend themselves," even as the Israelis massacre hundreds of Palestinian civilians, destroy thousands of Palestinian homes and seize ever more Palestinian land... US policy must be reversed to reflect international law and the shifting US opinion in favor of Palestinian rights. Every Member of Congress must be pushed to sign the bill introduced by Rep. Betty McCollum insisting that US funds to Israel are not used "to support the military detention of Palestinian children, the unlawful seizure, appropriation, and destruction of Palestinian property and forcible transfer of civilians in the West Bank, or further annexation of Palestinian land in violation of international law." Congress must also be pressured to quickly enforce the Arms Export Control Act and the Leahy Laws to stop supplying any more U.S. weapons to Israel until it stops using them to attack and kill civilians.
  • The USA is the world's foremost economic and military power, with global interests and an unmatched global reach. America's gross domestic product accounts for close to a quarter of the world total, and its military budget is reckoned to be almost as much as the rest of the world's defence spending put together... U.S. foreign policy has often mixed the idealism of its 'mission' to spread democracy with the pursuit of national self-interest. Given America's leading role on the international stage, its foreign policy aims and actions are likely to remain the subject of heated debate and criticism, as well as praise.


Noam Chomsky; Is China Really a Threat? Noam Chomsky Slams Biden For Increasingly Provocative Actions in Region, Democracy Now!, (November 23, 2021)Edit

  • Biden has pretty much picked up Trump’s foreign policy. He has eliminated some of the more gratuitously savage elements. Like in the case of Palestine, for example, Trump was not satisfied with just giving everything away to Israeli right-wing power—”do what you want”—and offering nothing to the Palestinians, just kicking them in the face. He even had to go beyond that to truly gratuitous savagery like cutting off the lifeline, the UNRWA lifeline, for Palestinians to be able to have at least minimal bare survival in the Israeli punching bag in Gaza. Even that, well, Biden removed those things. Other than that, pretty much followed the same policies.
  • The worst case is the increasing provocative actions towards China... there is constant talk about what is called the China threat. You can read it in sober, reasonable, usually reasonable journals, about the terrible China threat, and that we have to move expeditiously to contain and limit the China threat.... What exactly is the China threat? Actually that question is rarely raised here....
    the distinguished statesman, former [Australian] Prime Minister Paul Keating, did have an essay in the Australian press about the China threat. He finally concluded realistically that the China threat is China’s existence. The U.S. will not tolerate the existence of a state that cannot be intimidated the way Europe can be, that does not follow U.S. orders the way Europe does but pursues its own course. That is the threat.
    When we talk about the threat of China, we’re talking about the alleged threats at China’s borders. China does plenty of wrong things, terrible things. You can make many criticisms. But are they a threat?... they are not a threat.
  • Right at the same time as Keating’s article, Australia’s leading military correspondent Brian Toohey, highly knowledgeable, did an assessment of the relative military power of China, in their own region of China and the United States and its allies Japan and Australia. It’s laughable. One U.S. Trident submarine, now being replaced by even more lethal ones — one U.S. submarine can destroy almost 200 cities anywhere in the world with its nuclear weapons. China in the South China Sea has four old noisy submarines which can’t even get out because they’re contained by superior U.S. and Allied Force...
    In the face of this, the United States is sending a fleet of nuclear submarines to Australia. That’s the AUKUS deal—the Australia, U.K., United States—which have no strategic purpose whatsoever.
    They will not even be in operation for 15 years, but they do incite China almost certainly to build up its lagging military forces, increasing the level of confrontation. There are problems in the South China Sea that can be met with diplomacy and negotiations, the regional powers taking the lead, could go into the details.
    But the right measure is not increasing provocation, increasing the threat of an accidental development which could lead to devastating, even Earthly-terminal nuclear war. But that is the direction the Biden administration is following, expansion of the Trump programs. That is the core of their foreign policy programs.


  • Syria is only part of a much larger problem. It is remarkable the extent to which Israeli concerns dominate those of the United States, which now has a foreign policy that often is not even remotely connected to actual U.S. interests. Congress and the Special Counsel are investigating Russia’s alleged interference in America’s political system while looking the other way when Israel operates aggressively in the open and does much more damage. Netanyahu and his crew of unsavory cutthroats are hardly ever cited for their malignant influence over America’s political class and media. Bomb Syria? Sure. After all, it’s good for Israel.
  • Omar has defended herself without abandoning her core arguments and she has further established her bona fides as a credible critic of what passes for U.S. foreign policy by virtue of an astonishing attack on former President Barack Obama, whom she criticized obliquely in an interview Friday, saying “We can’t be only upset with Trump. His policies are bad, but many of the people who came before him also had really bad policies. They just were more polished than he was. That’s not what we should be looking for anymore. We don’t want anybody to get away with murder because they are polished. We want to recognize the actual policies that are behind the pretty face and the smile.” Presumably Omar was referring to Obama’s death by drone program and his destruction of Libya, among his other crimes. Everything she said about the smooth talking but feckless Obama is true and could be cast in even worse terms, but to hear the truth from out of the mouth of a liberal Democrat is something like a revelation that all progressives are not ideologically fossilized and fundamentally brain dead.
  • Denying medicines to Iran and Venezuela is a crime against humanity... One of the most truly despicable aspects of the coronavirus is how it is being exploited by Washington to punish countries like Iran and Venezuela, currently the enemy-designates of the inside the Beltway crowd... Waging war on innocent people should not in any event be what the United States of America is all about. A shift in policies that actually demonstrates that Washington might be interested in saving lives rather than destroying them would be welcomed by most of the world and also by many Americans.


  • Terror, intimidation and violence are the glue that holds empire together. Aerial bombardment, drone and missile attacks, artillery and mortar strikes, targeted assassinations, massacres, the detention of tens of thousands, death squad killings, torture, wholesale surveillance, extraordinary renditions, curfews, propaganda, a loss of civil liberties and pliant political puppets are the grist of our wars and proxy wars.
  • Countries we seek to dominate, from Indonesia and Guatemala to Iraq and Afghanistan, are intimately familiar with these brutal mechanisms of control. But the reality of empire rarely reaches the American public. The few atrocities that come to light are dismissed as isolated aberrations. The public is assured what has been uncovered will be investigated and will not take place again. The goals of empire, we are told by a subservient media and our ruling elites, are virtuous and noble. And the vast killing machine grinds forward, feeding, as it has always done, the swollen bank accounts of defense contractors and corporations that exploit natural resources and cheap labor around the globe.
  • With regard to nuclear weapons, the situation is far more dangerous than the last Doomsday Clock report. New weapons systems under development are much more effectively dangerous. The Biden administration, expanding upon Trump’s confrontational approach, has Chomsky at a loss for words to describe the danger at hand. Only recently, Biden met with NATO leaders and instructed them to plan on two wars, China and Russia. According to Chomsky: “This is beyond insanity.” Not only that, the group is carrying out provocative acts when diplomacy is really needed. This is an extraordinarily dangerous situation.
    According to Chomsky, the Doomsday Clock setting at 100 seconds to midnight is based upon: (1) global warming (2) nuclear war and (3) disinformation, or the collapse of any kind of rational discourse. As such, number three makes it impossible to deal with the first two major problems... As a result, Chomsky says: “We’re living in a world of total illusion and fantasy... Unless this is dealt with soon, it’ll be impossible to deal with the two major issues within the time span that we have available, which is not very long.”


  • All this talk about qualifications..."What do blacks know about foreign policy?" It's an insult. I was three years old, I came into my consciousness, my Daddy was coming home from the war. Foreign policy. If he was so dumb, how did he get over there and get back? If he didn't know foreign policy, why did they give him a gun? And when they gave it to him he knew which way to shoot. We know foreign policy. When you buy Honda and Toyota, that's foreign policy. Russian Vodka, that's foreign policy. Panasonic and Sony, that's foreign policy. Mercedes Benz, that's foreign policy, and a matter of fact, we came here on a foreign policy!
  • The desire to preserve our country from the calamities and ravages of war, by cultivating a disposition, and pursuing a conduct, conciliatory and friendly to all nations, has been sincerely entertained and faithfully followed. It was dictated by the principles of humanity, the precepts of the gospel, and the general wish of our country, and it was not to be doubted that the Society of Friends, with whom it is a religious principle, would sanction it by their support.
    • Thomas Jefferson, letter to Messrs. Thomas, Ellicot, and others, November 13, 1807.—The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. H. A. Washington, vol. 8, p. 118 (1871).
  • It is, therefore, with the sincerest pleasure I have observed on the part of the British government various manifestations of a just and friendly disposition towards us; we wish to cultivate peace and friendship with all nations, believing that course most conducive to the welfare of our own; it is natural that these friendships should bear some proportion to the common interests of the parties.
    • Thomas Jefferson, letter to Sir John Sinclair, July 31, 1816.—The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Andrew A. Lipscomb, vol. 15, p. 54 (1904).
  • Peace, commerce, and honest friendship, with all nations—entangling alliances with none.
    • Thomas Jefferson, inaugural address, March 4, 1801.—The Writings of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Andrew A. Lipscomb, vol. 3, p. 321 (1904).


  • By this I mean that a political society does not live to conduct foreign policy; it would be more correct to say that it conducts foreign policy in order to live.
    • George F. Kennan, "The Two Planes of International Reality," Realities of American Foreign Policy, p. 4 (1954). This was originally delivered as the first of the Stafford Little Lectures, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, March 1954.
  • Now this problem of the adjustment of man to his natural resources, and the problem of how such things as industrialization and urbanization can be accepted without destroying the traditional values of a civilization and corrupting the inner vitality of its life—these things are not only the problems of America; they are the problems of men everywhere. To the extent that we Americans become able to show that we are aware of these problems, and that we are approaching them with coherent and effective ideas of our own which we have the courage to put into effect in our own lives, to that extent a new dimension will come into our relations with the peoples beyond our borders, to that extent, in fact, the dreams of these earlier generations of Americans who saw us as leaders and helpers to the peoples of the world at large will begin to take on flesh and reality.
    • George F. Kennan, "The Unifying Factor," Realities of American Foreign Policy, p. 116 (1954). Originally delivered as the fourth of the Stafford Little Lectures, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, March 1954.
  • The purpose of foreign policy is not to provide an outlet for our own sentiments of hope or indignation; it is to shape real events in a real world.
    • John F. Kennedy, address at the Mormon Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Utah, September 26, 1963.—Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1963, p. 736.
  • To those peoples in the huts and villages of half the globe struggling to break the bonds of mass misery, we pledge our best efforts to help them help themselves, for whatever period is required—not because the communists may be doing it, not because we seek their votes, but because it is right. If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
    • John F. Kennedy, inaugural address, January 20, 1961.—Public Papers of the Presidents of the United States: John F. Kennedy, 1961, p. 1.
  • Our [U.S.] demand for restraint in foreign policy must be stronger than defense contractor lobbyists. Our demand for criminal justice reform must be stronger than the prison-industrial complex.
  • When [U.S.] progressives remain silent and don’t talk about why the war in Syria is illegal, then into the void step in neocons like Lindsey Graham. Any wonder that our nation remains mired in endless war. Let’s have the guts to stand for responsible withdrawal.
  • Here’s something that the [Western] mainstream media has left out when talking about Trump’s plan to withdraw troops from Syria: Congress never authorized sending troops to Syria. In fact, the UN also never approved. Our troops in Syria are in violation of domestic and international law.
  • The challenges before us are monumental. But it is not every generation that is given the opportunity to shape a new international order. If the opportunity is missed, we shall live in a world of chaos and danger. If it is realized we will have entered an era of peace and progress and justice. But we can realize our hopes only as a united people.
    • Henry Kissinger, secretary of state, speech to Boston World Affairs Council, Boston, Massachusetts, March 11, 1976. Excerpts of official text, The New York Times, March 12, 1976, p. 4.


  • It was “wrong,” Nixon said, “to assume that the US should go around telling other countries how to arrange their political affairs.”
    • Richard Nixon. NSC Files, Box 625, Country Files—Middle East, Pakistan, vol. IV, Nixon-Ahmad memcon, 10 May 1971. See NSC Files, Box 625, Country Files—Middle East, Pakistan, vol. IV, Ahmad-Kissinger memcon, 10 May 1971. quoted from Bass, G. J. (2014). The Blood telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a forgotten genocide.


  • In April, Brown University’s Cost of War Project calculated the total cost of the Afghanistan war at more than two trillion dollars. That means millions of Americans have been made poorer for a predictably failed project. It also means that thousands of the well-connected contractors and companies that lurk around the US Capitol Beltway pushing war have become much, much richer. That’s US foreign policy in a nutshell: taking money from middle-class Americans and transferring it to the elites of the US military and foreign policy establishment. It’s welfare for the rich.
  • The premise of U.S. foreign policy was that Suharto would serve Washington in a manner similar to the shah of Iran. The United States also hoped the nation would serve as a model for other countries in the region. Washington based part of its strategy on the assumption that gains made in Indonesia might have positive repercussions throughout the Islamic world, particularly in the explosive Middle East. p. 21<BR>We were promoting U.S. foreign policy and corporate interests. We were driven by greed rather than by any desire to make life better for the vast majority of Indonesians. p. 25
    My discussion with those young Indonesians, however, forced me to see another aspect of the issue. Through their eyes, I realized that a selfish approach to foreign policy does not serve or protect future generations anywhere. It is myopic, like the annual reports of the corporations and the election strategies of the politicians who formulate that foreign policy. p.46
  • I reach above me and pull down a file on Guatemala. It is on the CIA coup of 1954. Why did the US destroy that small country? Because the landless movement and the Left fought to elect a democratic politician - Jacobo Árbenz - who decided to push through a moderate land reform agenda. Such a project threatened to undercut the land holding of the United Fruit Company, a US conglomerate that strangled Guatemala. The CIA got to work. It contacted retired Colonial Carlos Castillo Armas, it paid off brigade commanders, created sabotage events, and then seized Árbenz in the presidential palace and sent him into exile. Castillo Armas then put Guatemala through a reign of terror. 'If it is necessary to turn the country into a cemetery in order to pacify it,' he said later, 'I will not hesitate to do so.' The CIA gave him lists of Communists, people who were eager to lift their country out of poverty. They were arrested, many executed. The CIA offered Castillo Armas its benediction to kill: A Study of Assassination, the CIA's killing manual, was handed over to his butchers. The light of hope went out in this small and vibrant country.


  • There is a homely old adage which runs: "Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far." If the American Nation will speak softly, and yet build, and keep at a pitch of the highest training, a thoroughly efficient navy, the Monroe Doctrine will go far.
    • Theodore Roosevelt, speech, Chicago, Illinois, April 2, 1903.—Presidential Addresses and State Papers, part 1 (vol. 13 of The Works of Theodore Roosevelt, executive ed.), p. 266 (n.d.)


  • Rep. Liz Cheney, daughter of Dick, is trying to prolong her father's endless war in Afghanistan. You would think that every Democrat would be united in opposing such a policy, right? Well, you would be wrong. It’s not every day that you wake up in your blue state and learn that one of your newly elected Democratic congresspeople is joining with a Cheney to try to prolong the longest war in American history. But that's what happened this week, when Colorado's freshman Democratic Rep. Jason Crow teamed up with Republican Rep. Liz Cheney to advance legislation that would make it more difficult for any president to draw down troop deployments in Afghanistan. [...] The first rule for every incoming freshman Democrat in Congress should be that you never work with a Cheney on war policy. The second rule for every freshman Democrat should be: re-read the first rule and make damn sure to follow it. [...] Cheney initiatives that may seem superficially reasonable when calmly uttered by a Cheney usually have an insane ulterior motive. In this case, that truism applies: The Crow-Cheney legislation may sound like it includes reasonable requests, but they are designed to make the Afghanistan deployment permanent. In practice, nobody can predict with 100 percent certainty what will ensue once a nineteen-year military occupation ends. What we can know is that it’s a bad idea to continue a policy that isn’t working — and there’s plenty of evidence that it isn’t.
  • Every day, for example, politicians, of which there are plenty, swear eternal devotion to the ends of peace and security. They always remind me of the elder Holmes' apostrophe to a katydid: "Thou say'st an undisputed thing in such a solemn way." And every day statesmen, of which there are few, must struggle with limited means to achieve these unlimited ends, both in fact and in understanding. For the nation's purposes always exceed its means, and it is finding a balance between means and ends that is the heart of foreign policy and that makes it such a speculative, uncertain business.
    • Adlai Stevenson, Call to Greatness, p. 2 (1954). The quotation from Holmes is from "To an Insect," lines 7–8, The Complete Poetical Works of Oliver Wendell Holmes (1900), p. 3.
  • After Kennedy was killed, and nobody asked, you know, what was Kennedy's real policy on Vietnam? Well... he was going to pull out of Vietnam. He was very clear about it, and that's what people get confused. Johnson, Lyndon Johnson, who took over the office went right to war quickly... this is... where we went to a war on a false basis. It was a lie, another lie, and that war was a disaster... Unfortunately, the same forces that made that war happen continued in our life, and they controlled us and pushed us into another war and another war and another war. And soon it was in Iraq... and on and on. We're still stuck in this. We're stuck in a military industrial syndrome where a lot of money, trillions of dollars, are spent fighting wars abroad against forces that we call "darkness" and "evil," but we don't really know who the enemy is. I think we propagandize an enemy, make him far bigger than he is, and I don't know what we're fighting. We're just fighting because the military needs to keep going and needs to be funded, as though the intelligence agencies which have enormous amount of budget...
  • There's been a campaign, a war against Russia going on for a long time. It started again in the United States around 2006... there's no evidence really of the aggressiveness of Russia. The aggressiveness is truly coming from the NATO forces that have encircled Russia and that are also, by the way, encircling China. You know, this is a big policy point, huge, of huge importance...
    We have to have people in the United States who speak up for the peace point of view... Let's get along with China. Let's get along with Russia, Iran, and so forth. We have to change our point of view because we are seeking to still be the only power in the world that is in control of the world. We cannot continue on this path; it's a suicidal path. And I think many Americans agree with me, but it's never been allowed to be stated politically. People who say this type of stuff never win elections because they're ridiculed or marginalized in the press, to be honest.


  • We have noted that the federal Constitution put the permanent control of the nation's foreign interests in the hands of the President and the Senate, which to some extent frees the Union's general policy from direct and daily popular control. One should not therefore assert without qualification that American democracy controls the state's external affairs.
    • Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, ed. J. P. Mayer, trans. George Lawrence, vol. 1, part 2, chapter 5, p. 226 (1969). Originally published in 1835–1840.
  • If the establishment of an "unlimited" treaty power is to be the ultimate conclusion on this great question, it must be admitted that the incorporation of the treaty-making power into the Constitution of the United States was the introduction into our governmental citadel of a Trojan horse, whose armored soldiery, for years concealed within it, now step forth armed cap-à-pie, shameless in their act of deception, eager and ready to capture the citadel upon which they pretended to bestow their gift. If such construction be possible it would be of interest to know for what purpose the Tenth Amendment was ever demanded and incorporated into the Constitution.


  • To me "bipartisan foreign policy" means a mutual effort, under our indispensable two-Party system, to unite our official voice at the water's edge so that America speaks with maximum authority against those who would divide and conquer us and the free world. It does not involve the remotest surrender of free debate in determining our position. On the contrary, frank cooperation and free debate are indispensable to ultimate unity. In a word, it simply seeks national security ahead of partisan advantage. Every foreign policy must be totally debated (and I think the record proves it has been) and the "loyal opposition" is under special obligation to see that this occurs.
    • Arthur H. Vandenberg, The Private Papers of Senator Vandenberg, ed. Arthur H. Vandenberg, Jr., p. 552–53 (1952).


  • When people think of the damage that wealthy countries – typically led by the US and its allies – cause to people in the rest of the world, they probably think of warfare. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died from the 2003 invasion, and then many more as the region became inflamed. But rich countries also have considerable power over the lives of billions of people through their control over institutions of global governance. One of these is the International Monetary Fund. It has 189 member countries, but the US and its rich-country allies have a solid majority of the votes... the US has enough votes to veto many major decisions by itself – although the rich countries almost never vote against each other.... Consider a recent IMF loan. In March, Ecuador signed an agreement to borrow $4.2bn from the IMF over three years, provided that the government would adhere to a certain economic program spelled out in the arrangement... The program calls for an enormous tightening of the country’s national budget – about 6% of GDP over the next three years. (For comparison, imagine tightening the US federal budget by $1.4 trillion, through some combination of cutting spending and raising taxes). In Ecuador, this will include firing tens of thousands of public sector employees, raising taxes that fall disproportionately on poor people, and making cuts to public investment.
  • All this [in Ecuador] is taking place under a government – elected in 2017 on a platform of continuity – that seeks to reverse a prior decade of political reforms. These reforms were, by measures of economic and social indicators, successful. Poverty was reduced by 38% and extreme poverty by 47%; public investment – including hospitals, schools, roads, and electricity – more than doubled as a percent of the economy. But the prior government was a leftwing government that was more independent of the US (by, for example, closing down the US military base there). One can imagine what this looks like, as the Trump administration now gains enormous power in Ecuador... Lenín Moreno, has aligned himself with Trump’s foreign and economic policy... his government is persecuting his presidential predecessor, Rafael Correa, with false charges filed last year that even Interpol won’t honor with an international warrant.... Since Washington controls IMF decision-making for this hemisphere, the Trump administration and the fund are implicated in the political repression as well as the broader attempt to reconvert Ecuador into the kind of economy and politics that Trump and Pompeo would like to see, but most Ecuadorians clearly did not vote for.
  • Economic sanctions, as the U.S. is applying against Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, and other countries, cause immense harm... there is no doubt that Iran's capacity to respond to the novel coronavirus has been hampered by the Trump administration's economic sanctions, and the death toll is likely much higher than it would have been as a result... There can... be no question that the sanctions have affected Iran's ability to contain the outbreak leading in turn to more infections, and possibly to the virus' spread beyond Iran's borders... If the U.S. government is going to assist other countries, let alone provide some kind of leadership role during this global crisis, the first thing it should do is 'cause no harm, "Economic sanctions, as the U.S. is applying against Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, and other countries, cause immense harm.
    • Mark Weisbrot, Economists Demand Trump Immediately Lift Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela Sanctions That Are 'Feeding the Coronavirus Epidemic', Jake Johnson, Common Dreams, (19 March 2020)
  • Why do Trump & co. have crippling sanctions on Iran, making sure that many more people die from coronovirus than otherwise would? Its collective punishment, this piece from Human Rights Watch shows what monsters Trump and Pompeo and gang are...
    • Mark Weisbrot, Economists Demand Trump Immediately Lift Iran, Cuba, and Venezuela Sanctions That Are 'Feeding the Coronavirus Epidemic', Jake Johnson, Common Dreams, (19 March 2020)
  • Bolivia has descended into a nightmare of political repression and racist state violence since the democratically elected government of Evo Morales was overthrown by the military on 10 November last year. That month was the second-deadliest in terms of civilian deaths caused by state forces since Bolivia became a democracy nearly 40 years ago... Morales' government was able to reduce poverty by 42% and extreme poverty by 60%... What has received even less attention is the role of the Organization of American States (OAS) (with headquarters in Washington, D.C.) in the destruction of Bolivia’s democracy last November. The wheels of justice grind much too slowly in the aftermath of US-backed coups. And the Trump administration’s support has been overt: the White House promoted the “fraud” narrative, and its Orwellian statement following the coup praised it: “Morales’s departure preserves democracy and paves the way for the Bolivian people to have their voices heard.” According to the Los Angeles Times: “Carlos Trujillo, the US ambassador to the OAS, had steered the group’s election-monitoring team to report widespread fraud and pushed the Trump administration to support the ouster of Morales.”
  • If you had the opportunity to save a million people from preventable death, would you do it? … This is not merely a rhetorical question, but one that members of the Congress will have to answer in the present. … Right now, legislation has already passed the House of Representatives that would do just that. And it was included in the newly released COVID relief bill that is being negotiated between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. It would require the Treasury Department, which represents our government at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to support a multi-trillion dollar relief package from the Fund. These funds are not loans and therefore will not have to be repaid. They have no conditions attached to them. And they do not cost the U.S. government anything at all — not now, and not at any time in the future.
  • The IMF leadership, and almost all of the 189 member countries — including U.S. allies such as Germany and Canada — are ready to allocate the aid that Congress is considering. The reason it hasn’t already been approved at the IMF is that the U.S. Treasury has said no, and the U.S. — alone — has a veto at the IMF on this matter. .. [I]t’s not at all clear why the Treasury is blocking this desperately needed aid. … Nor is there any reason that it should be a partisan issue … Of course the Congress has a lot on its plate, and is having trouble passing further relief that millions of Americans need to pay their bills and for many, even have enough to eat. But all indications are that Congress will pass major spending bills before the end of the year, including funding to avoid a government shutdown. It would take almost no effort to include the House or Senate bill that would unblock Treasury’s hold on the IMF funding…

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External linksEdit

United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs