I'm James Maxey, the author of numerous novels of fantasy and science fiction. I use this site to discuss a wide range of topics, with a heavy emphasis on cranky, uninformed rants about politics and religion and other topics that polite people attempt to avoid. For anyone just wanting to read about my books, I maintain a second blog, The Prophet and the Dragon, where I keep the focus solely on my fiction. I also have a webpage where both blogs stream, with more information about all my books, at jamesmaxey.net.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Quick thought on the foreign policy debate

A lot of pundits are commenting on how often Romney agreed with Obama last night on a whole string of foreign policy issues. Even when he made a show of disagreement, Romney would essentially repeat back exactly the same position Obama had offer, only he would throw in the word "strong" five times.

But what Romney couldn't note was that he was stealing Obama's foreign policy issues mainly because Obama pretty much stole all his actual policies from George Bush. Sure, he got us out of Iraq, but the reality was we were pretty much done in Iraq by the time he took office. He's promising to get us out of Afghanistan, but only after surging there for goals as amorphous and unachievable as anything Bush ever proposed.

Obama didn't close Gitmo. He didn't bring terrorists to the US for trial. He took a stand against torture, but the subject hasn't been brought up by Romney so I have no idea what his position is. Obama has order far more drone strikes than Bush. And, if Obama has any difference in policy from Bush on China, Europe, or Russia, Iran, or North Korea, I'm really hard pressed to think of it. Obama went into office promising to talk to Castro and Ahmadjinadad (I know I just misspelled that!), but it turned out that he wasn't even able to negotiate with John Boehner.

The thing that scares me is I suspect that Romney sincerely will conduct a foreign policy indistinguishable from Bush/Obama. We'll continue fielding high-tech weapons and expertly trained and equipped soldiers against enemies who fight with improvised bombs and hand weapons, whose greatest strategic defense against being bombed back into the stone age is the reality that they seem to really want to live there already.

Am I advocating isolationism? Not by any means. I would just welcome some perspective. Are the threats we face deserving of the money and lives we throw at managing them? Does a single attack on US soil justify a decade and a half of foreign wars? Why is the threat of Islamic terrorism more of an existential threat to us than massive debts? Why is it more of a threat to us than our own handgun violence? Cigarettes? Obesity? We've turned criminal acts into acts of war, and in doing so we've managed to surrender some of our most cherished values, while elevating the terrorists into positions of heroes and martyrs for an entire generation of people who are growing up in lands we've occupied by force.

Just another reason I'm voting for Gary Johnson.

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