Making America Great Again: A View from Abroad

By | 2017-06-02T18:30:05+00:00 December 11, 2016|
Print Friendly, PDF & Email

First of an occasional series. 

As the president-elect now discovers his friends and enemies in Washington, D.C., so he will soon discover them abroad. As Donald Trump is now the focus of domestic hopes and fears amongst those who would use his power for their own ends, so he will soon be the object of foreign ambition.

With every friend the president chooses, he makes an enemy. With every hope he fulfills, a burning envy will arise elsewhere. His advantage rests in this: on the domestic front he can fire his enemies. On the foreign front he can fire at them. Presidential power is his truest friend and he must preserve it and expand it with his words and deeds.

Yet whenever Trump fires, he must aim well. What should he aim for in foreign affairs? American power has had many targets since September 11, 2001. Most have been hit, but little has been won. It was too much. America aimed to build a democratic world. President-Elect Trump must aim lower and therefore more realistically: to save American democracy for the world.

The mobs of the Arab street are ungrateful for the sacrifices Americans have made in Iraq and in Afghanistan so that they might live in freedom. Rather than having the character of citizens who debate and vote, the Arab street has shown itself to be barbaric—a mob who prefer to cut off heads and blow themselves up.

President-Elect Trump rightly noted that rather than spending time and money attempting to build democracy in the Middle East it would have been better to take their oil. His healthy insight here is a re-discovery of the genius of ancient political philosophy: some cultures are not fit for self-government and in them a tyrant rises to preserve law and order—the pillars of human decency. The President-elect rightly perceives that keeping an enemy like Saddam Hussein close—as President Reagan did in the 1980s—is better than keeping close the “friends” who toppled Saddam Hussein and who now are the cause of much of our misery in the region.

This is why we must return to the policy of the Reagan administration and keep our enemies closer than our friends. We lost our opportunity in Libya when Gaddafi surrendered himself to our will. Rather than keeping this enemy tyrant close, we sided with the friends of democratic revolution and the result is tragic. We lost our opportunity in Syria when Assad found a strong ally in Russia and marginalized our influence. But we still have this opportunity in Iran.

If Trump shows his criticism of the Iran Deal was a criticism of President Obama and not of Persia, if he strikes a better deal with Iran that guards our interests while keeping Iran close to us, he will have a victory.

Victory in the Middle East is not the establishment of democracy, but the reestablishment of order and good business. It is better to have the tyrants of Syria and Iran as enemies we can keep close to us than to make “friends” among the democratic revolutionaries who wish to topple Assad and probably wish to topple us, as well. The revolutionaries know nothing about constitutional republicanism and their democracy will be the democracy of the barbaric street mob and the suicide bomber. It is better to have an orderly tyrant as a close enemy than to have close “friends” who are actually barbarians.

Nation States will never have perfect relations but it is better to conduct hard business and bitter rivalry with closer enemy States than with close friends who are mercenaries and mobs. To continue our healthy rivalry with Russia, Syria and Iran, we must work with them to eradicate ISIS and all revolutionary movements in the region. The effectual truth of politics must guide us, not imagined democracies which have never and will never exist. Law and Order without ideals is not the best of all possible worlds, but lawlessness and disorder is the worst of all possible worlds – and under lawlessness and disorder Arab idealists will die with all the rest.

To work with Russia effectively it will be necessary to come to terms with Russia in the Eurasian theatre. There, matters are already coming to a head. Our Russian enemy is orderly, powerful and ripe with opportune business prospects. Our Ukrainian friend is anarchic, weak and ripe with a thirst for more of our wealth since they have none of their own and no political talent to produce it for them. Surely we should endeavor to keep our Russian enemy closer to us than our Ukrainian friend?

Finally, the president will have to consider the Chinese—particularly the link between Russia and his ambition to re-negotiate world trade. Russia has always been the great bulwark of a civilization closer to ours which both protects Atlantic civilization by keeping China at bay and understands China well as close neighbors do. The Poles may protest, as will the Ukrainians, but given that American soldiers defend Poland, U.S. interests will prevail there and a Russian-American alliance against terrorism is in American interest. So long as Poland is preserved from physical harm, the United States may safely harm her pride with grand overtures to Russia. Under no circumstances should President Trump entangle America in the bitter quarrel over the Smolensk catastrophe.

The general principle guiding a republican empire of liberty ought to be the one Trump pursued throughout his global business ventures: American greatness is by nature the envy of the world when it is manifest in America and Americans.

As foreign partners have marveled at Trump’s business talents and no doubt sought to learn and adopt his modes and orders, so the entire world will marvel at America when President Trump makes America great again. Make America great again and the world will seek to emulate American Greatness. Our republican empire of liberty has always been an empire of ideas brought to life around the world by people inspired by America. To preserve the republican empire of liberty Trump must dedicate his Presidency to understanding, applying and arguing for the genius of American greatness inherent in our constitutional republican traditions.

Weapons of war win battles. Ideas, not weapons of war, will win all of our wars.

About the Author:

Peter S. Rieth
Peter S Rieth is a political scientist educated at Hillsdale College. He supports and cooperates with the American Committee for East-West Accord. His writing has appeared in The Imaginative Conservative, the Russian Sputnik News Agency and the Polish conservative quarterly Right Option
  • Last in Line

    I agree with your basic point, but you are wrong about Iran. There is no striking “a better deal with Iran that guards our interests while keeping Iran close to us.” You cannot live with a viper in your house or in your yard, lest it bite you when you think you have confined it to a corner. The only sane option is to cage it or kill it, the later always being the preferred option. What part of “Death to America” don’t you understand?

    • psrieth

      Thank you. You have a point, but the Australian in me is used to living with brown snakes and other deadly creatures in otherwise peaceful environments.

      • Last in Line

        But we don’t live in an “otherwise peaceful environment.” We are at war, and have been since long before 9.11.2001. When you don’t recognize the intent of the deadly creature next to you, you are doomed to be its victim.

        • psrieth

          I again agree with you that the tragic and natural state of mankind is war, but war has lulls (“otherwise peacefull environments”).

          It is one thing to recognize an enemy, it is another to know what to do with him. Aleksander Nevsky paid tribute to the Golden Horde so as to defeat the Teutonic enemy because Nevsky understood that the Golden Horde may one day take the lives of his people but the Teutons would take their soul.

          We must be clever in who and when we fight.

  • wildbillcuster

    Wrong on Iran. We have a blood feud with the Mullahs that will not end until the Ayatollah is hanging from a lamp post. After that, we can see about better relations with the Iranian people.

    • psrieth

      We did not insist on hanging the Emperor of Japan from a lamp post, nor any of our previous enemies who posed a far greater danger to the United States. Blood feuds are fit for barbarians, not serious republics like America. Hanging people from Lamp posts is easy, but America should have serious geopolitical and military ambitions again. I hope President Trump, who I fully support, will restore serious ambition to the Presidency.

      • wildbillcuster

        Who said we had to hang them? The Italians and Romanians did alright on that score without our help and I’m sure the Iranians will be up to it when the time comes. Do you really think there is any basis for peace with people whose most fundamental belief is that they must conquer us and destroy our culture and religion? Think that’s an impossibility? I’m sure the Emperor Heraclitus thought so too. No, it’s them or us. War to the knife.

        • psrieth

          Just to note: I am enjoying our exchange.

          The Italians and Romanians have done very poorly in terms of political stability on account of their rashness. Italy has had over 62 governments since World War II, which is a symptom of the imprudent measures you advocate. Romania’s example was an isolated case – and thank goodness since the Polish rather than the Romanian course was the norm in Eastern Europe in 1989 – otherwise we would have likely had a world war rather than the peaceful fall of communism.

          Poland is the country you should look to as an example on this count. The Polish example demonstrates that indeed you can “think there is any basis for peace with people whose most fundamental belief is that they must conquer us and destroy our culture and religion” and Poland is the stronger for it.

          • wildbillcuster

            I’ve also enjoyed our exchange. You deserve respect for engaging a critic. (On this issue, anyway. No “war to the knife” from me!) While Italy’s politics can be chaotic, they haven’t had a dictator since Mussolini and have a functional, if messy, democracy. I don’t know much about Romania post Ceausescu but I haven’t heard they’re not a free country. I guess I see the hanging of dictators to be a good thing. Your analogy is not right. The Soviets never tried to completely destroy the Polish people and culture. The Mullahs do intend that in regards to the West. Regards.

      • Last in Line

        This is the point of disconnect between you (on the one hand) and Wild Bill and me (on the other). We didn’t have to hang the Emperor of Japan or Hitler because, in the former case, we dropped two A-bombs on Japan and utterly defeated its military. We crushed its ability to carry on the fight and we killed and imprisoned those who were actually running the country. We (and the rest of the allies) did the same to Germany, and then Hitler saved us the cost of a rope. With Iran, however, we have played patty-cake. Iran and its proxies have been killing Americans non-stop since 1979 and we respond with hashtags. You and American leadership to date don’t really believe we are in a war, that we are opposed by an enemy who wants us destroyed. But that war exists and that intent is real, and we will never be able to negotiate with Iran so as to “keep it close” until we do so from atop the rubble of Tehran. Wipe out Iran’s will to fight and demand unconditional surrender. Take its oil. Then we can start talking about the efficacy of negotiation.

        • psrieth

          While fully aware of the limits of such analogies, I would note only that we would not have been able to do much of anything to Germany during World War II had the Russians not done the majority of the work starting from the battle of Kursk (won by Soviet forces fighting under a Polish General no less) onwards. It was the USSR and Poland which defeated Hitler’s Germany on May 9th, 1945, not the United States. American engagement, measured in both lives lost and strategic effect, was relatively negligent compared to Soviet losses and the scope of Soviet engagement. American aid to the Soviet Union however was relatively significant. As for the Atomic bombing of Japan – hard as it is to fathom, please recall – that was the more diplomatic option which promised a swifter resumption of normal relations as opposed to a manned invasion. The war demonstrated that atomic weapons were not capable at the time of rendering the scale of total destruction possible when employing conventional means. Warsaw suffered greater damage in 1944 than Hiroshima in 1945. America achieved her objectives in Japan and Germany with the minimum of direct American involvment. None of this is analogous. My only general view with regard to Iran is to achieve goals with prudent means. We will see what the President figures out.

          • Last in Line

            With respect, this response misses the point. For this discussion, it does not matter who ultimately was responsible for destroying Japan and German, or how they were destroyed, but that they were destroyed. A dedicated enemy will fight in every way possible until the will to fight has been crushed, and that happens only when that enemy reaches the point where it wants to surrender unconditionally. That’s why Sherman’s march through the South was crucial to Union victory. After Paris fell, Hitler offered Churchill peace terms. Many in Britain wanted to accept. Why continue the fight when the war had been lost and Britain had the possibility of ceasing hostilities while retaining the integrity of its homeland? Churchill, great man that he was, said f*ck that. Britain and Nazi Germany are forever incompatible. We will fight, we will fight, will fight until the enemy is no more. Nothing less than complete defeat and unconditional surrender. We need the same attitude toward Iran.

          • psrieth

            We seem to be drawing diametrically different political conclusions from the history of the Second World War because we likely have diametrically different understandings of the event. This subject is extremely complex, ergo I will limit myself to a small number of conclusions I draw from my studies of it and trust in the American spirit of free inquiry to guide my fellow citizens towards right reasoning:

            1) I think that Evelyn Waugh and Cat Mackiewicz are better teachers than Winston Churchill.

            2) Winston Churchill did not win the war due to an attitude of “fight, fight, fight” only “appease, appease, appease.” This is to put it mildly.

            3) It is a dangerous illision to believe that it is immaterial to the proper understanding of war to recognize who won it and instead revel in the fact that it was won.

            4) Americans should never follow the example of weak and spineless statesmen like Churchill and do not need to. Our Presisent Roosevelt was the superior of the two. It is a pity he did not live to serve out his term. He should be our hero.

            5) We should seek to examine the war from the perspective of its principal theater rather than its periphery as well as from the point of view of the primary victims of the war rather than one of the Imperial beligerants.

            6) Drawing oversimplified lessons from World War II and applying them to Iran might be tragic if it was not tragicomic given the role Iran played in that terrible event. Tehran means very different things to different people. Worse things have happened there than the Mullahs.

          • bbrown

            I’m reading “Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship” by Jon Meacham……
            https://www.amazon.com/Franklin-Winston-Intimate-Portrait-Friendship/dp/0812972821/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1481654477&sr=8-1&keywords=franklin+and+winston+an+intimate+portrait+of+an+epic+friendship

            I cannot share your opinion in point no. 4.

          • psrieth

            Thank you for drawing my attention to this book. I have not read it and doubtless will not find the time so I cannot speak to any argument the book might make. History cannot, however be re-written. Churchill’s cowardice and avarice from begining to end is plain as day to me. Again, the subject is rather complex and being in the minority I am well aware my view on this matter is unorthodox to say the least. I do not expect it to become popular any time soon. I likewise honestly don’t know if it is even possible.

          • bbrown

            This is fair enough. I would be open to hearing your view of Churchill in more detail if you ever would write an essay on that topic. I must say that I have been influenced in large degree by what is largely a hagiographic view of Churchill, shared and voiced by a large swath of American conservatives, including the Hillsdale president, Larry Arne (who worked with Sir Martin Gilbert in London). Have you had any conversations with Arne on Churchill – I’d be curious?

            Thanks Peter.

          • psrieth

            I have not. I would recommend Evelyn Waugh’s World War II trilogy for what I find an appropriate lense. As for myself, I have reviewed the books Londonihilists and Green Eyes, which to my mind are not available in English. The title of this Essay was not my choice:

            http://www.theimaginativeconservative.org/2015/06/did-winston-churchill-start-world-war-ii.html

          • bbrown

            I read your essay you linked above, in the ‘Imaginative Conservative’ blog. I, for one, admit my degree of ignorance about so much of Eastern European history. The essay and comments were very good as an introduction to the views from Poland, Hungary, and some of the complex dynamics at work. This is information that is certainly not appreciated by the vast majority of even educated Americans. There is a lot of nuance, and I found it all very helpful.
            Now on to Waugh’s trilogy. (I’m reading Churchill’s massive 5 volume WWII history now, and must admit that it’s a plow)……

          • Last in Line

            Once again you fail to join issue with the argument presented. Let’s take each of your points seriatim.

            1) Irrelevant, even if true, and adds nothing to the discussion.

            2) You and I are reading different history books. Germany was destroyed because of Churchill’s appeasement of Germany? Interesting thesis.

            3) I am not reveling in the fact of victory, but arguing that victory–defined as crushing the enemy’s will and ability to wage war–is a prerequisite to any lasting accommodation with an enemy who is committed to your destruction. Germany and Japan would not be what they are today, and not in alignment with the U.S., if we (or the Soviet Union, or whoever, it doesn’t matter for the argument presented) had fought them like we are fighting Iran. They would still be our enemies.

            4) Roosevelt destroyed our constitutional republic and ushered in the rule of the administrative state. If Roosevelt is your standard bearer for American Greatness, then this website will be indistinguishable from every other left-wing, progressive media outlet (and Decius will be looking for a different home). And your point here still does not address the issue at hand because, with respect to war, Roosevelt was committed to victory.

            5) So this explains your position. Calling the U.S. an imperial belligerent and Iran the victim is simply your way of saying we should surrender because we’re at fault. You aren’t interested in victory. But without victory, there is no way to negotiate any lasting accommodation with Iran because “Death to America” is what Iran lives for. Our surrender means Iran will continue to kill Americans.

            6) Not sure what you are trying to say here, but see 5 above.

            7) This is a major misreading of my post. The analogy is not between the Mullahs and the men who fought for the South. The question is what it takes to achieve victory. Even the most ardent supporter of the Confederacy will tell you that Sherman’s march was instrumental in breaking the will of the South to continue to fight. Are you arguing it wasn’t?

          • psrieth

            1. How are Poland’s best statesman during World War II and England’s best soldier-philosopher of World War II irrelevant to World War II?

            2. I never wrote that Germany was destroyed by Churchill’s appeasement of Germany, only by Churchill’s policy of appeasement. Appeasement can apply to countries other than Germany.

            3. I will not quibble on this point except to say that no one who does not understand the Great Patriotic War can understand World War II.

            4. Roosevelt understood the moral aim of the war to be the abolition of Imperialism on Earth – including British and French Imperialism. Read vice President Henry Wallace on why we fought (another Great American). The site is properly called American Greatness – Not British Greatness. Roosevelt was not perfect, but in those terrible days he was the only hope for non-Communist anti-Imperialism. I likewise disagree with your assesment of his domestic politics. He saved constitutional government from collapse. American Greatness is not served by worshipping America’s former colonial master while loathing her great statesman of the XXth century who was after all elected by the People of the United States – 4 times.

            5. This is clearly a misunderstanding. I was refering to World War II when writing “We should seek to examine the war from the perspective of its principal theater rather than its periphery as well as from the point of view of the primary victims of the war rather than one of the Imperial beligerants” – I stand by it.

            6. I am trying to be circumspect and polite towards Winston Churchill’s supporters in spite of my antagonism towards Churchill by not being explicit. This is because while I do not like Churchill, I understand political necessity.

            7. Here we have no quarrel.

        • bbrown

          I think that Ted Cruz understood this.

  • wildbillcuster

    Having just done some quick research on this American Committee for East-West Accord outfit, I find it troubling that their nonsense is being peddled here. It is one thing to say that America is over-extended and that we need to have pragmatic relations with Russia. It is something else to be stooges for Putin and I think Rieth and his colleagues have crossed that line. I hope this is not the direction AG is going.

    • psrieth

      Thank you. While you have the right to your opinion, please note that

      a) While I support the goals of the ACEWA, they are a very diverse group which crosses the American political spectrum. Each of us approaches the subject from a very different angle. I certainly would not call any of them “stooges for Putin” – unless you would like to believe that the former Secretary of Defense was a “stooge for Putin”.

      b) If you are interested in my writing on Russia, I invite you to read the various articles I have written on the subject since at least 2012. To my mind, my analysis has upheld both the national security interests of America and the ideals of the Declaration of Independence while those Republicans and Democrats who led the charge against Russia were acting contrary to the highest ideals and best interests of the United States.

      Let’s agree to politely disagree on the merits. You refrain from calling me a Putin stooge, I’ll refrain from calling you a Nazi. Emotions on the subject run high, and it is easy to slip into presumptions. In my articles since 2012 I have tried to restrain myself (not always successfully). Do you actually have any concern that can be put in reasonable terms ?

      • wildbillcuster

        Thank you for replying.

        a) I don’t know about Hagel, who was a less than impressive SoD, but Bradley has a long history of being a useful idiot. I would definitely call Gilbert Doctorow a stooge of Putin. See this article from the Daily Beast. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/10/10/putin-s-new-american-fan-club.html

        b) In an article on ACEWA’s website, you write this, “One might wonder what compels the broad, bipartisan consensus in Poland as regards Russia?”. Well, massacre, invasion, theft of land and a half century of occupation probably have something to do with it and might explain why Poles may be a bit militant in their words. The article ( http://eastwestaccord.com/polands-elites-itching-war-russia/) is blatantly anti-Polish and shows little understanding of the threat an unchecked Putin is to his neighbors.
        The bottom line is that in order to have a peaceful and productive relationship with Russia we must be strong and unapologetic towards Putin, without being unduly provocative. Your organization goes too far in the opposite direction.

        • psrieth

          a) I strongly disagree with Cathy Young and suggest comparing Dr. Gilbert Doctorow’s scholarship and broad knowledge of Russia to hers.

          b) I invite you to delve deeper into my work. I assure you that calling me or any article that I write “anti-Polish” is as laughable as calling President George Washington “anti-American”. I tend to have a great sense of humor so I will take the accusation with an ironic smile.

          As to your general view that ACEWA “goes too far” – that is a prudential judgement. I tend to think ACEWA goes far enough.

  • Alpha

    America is $20 Trillion in debt, de-industrializing as a result of self-inflicted wounds of hyper-regulation and excessive taxation,is running a $800 BILLION trade deficit thanks to unbelieveably lop-sided and stupid trade deals and while we have a great military we force it to operate under rules of engagement that preclude any possibility of success. (This latter point is why the Russians, with a tiny fraction of our might, are being so much more effective against ISIS than we have been – they make war seriously, do not allow enemies sanctuaries when they emplace themselves among civilians and in general kill their enemies regardless of collateral damage).
    (1) Trump is absolutely correct that we cannot be world policeman (especially when we have SJW types setting impossible rules of engagements and military mind-midgets like Obama micromanaging experience war-makers constantly).
    (2)We need to pull back from the world policeman role, encourage regional alliances and balances of power to counter would be Eurasian hegemons like China, and rebuild our military especially our real strength, our ability to shut down the global commerce of any opponent by our control of the underseas, seas, skies and ultimately space and cyberspace.
    (3) We need to rebuild our economic strength – mainly by getting the Obama government boot off the throat of business by establishing competitive corporate and capital gains investment taxes, deregulating massively, and encouraging repatriation of funds trapped overseas by our absurd tax system, and fixing our wasteful litigation and healthcare system. There may be a role for some building of infrastructure that supports increased manufacturing efficiency – better ports, roads, railroads, information infrastructure, airports – but most of this would best be done as public-private partnerships.

    • bbrown

      You nailed it. This is what we should do to truly “make America great again”. You ought to write for this blog.

      • Alpha

        Thanks for the comment. Never thought about writing. Just find strategy, history and politics fascinating and read and think about it a lot as a break from an intense career. Probably appropriately my career centers around seeing what is coming next and getting there first with a strategy to exploit it. When Trump won, I had a sensation much like a patient seeing a doctor and finding out that a lump was not a cancer had – America had been making bad choices, long term fatal choices for a long time worsening under Bush then moving into suicidal accelerated decline under Obama. Suddenly when Trump won, something I expected (because it was a change election and the change candidate almost always wins change elections – much like 1980 and 2008) a window opened up for us to get it right and to undo all the damage. A last chance for us to survive as a Republic and escape the fate that we were headed towards. The strategy we need to follow seems clear. Trump is in his meandering way encompassing several aspects of it. I worry that the fact that he does not have an integrated mental schematic to understand what all the pieces are and how they play out makes him vulnerable to being manipulated by people who fervently hold wrong beliefs – NeoCons chief among them but big government types of both parties, crony-capitalists, Identity Politics types and others being among them. He is the linchpin. If he sees it clearly and steers a pragmatic, efficient, effective mostly Conservative but also some non-Conservative high value impactful specific interventions he can be the turn-around artist of all time in American history, beating even Reagan in that regard. Looking at cabinet for the most part so far, so good. Listening to comments for the most part so far, so good although things like his daughter’s vapid comments about wanting to make global warming a signature issue are quite worrisome. Fingers crossed.

  • Silent T

    Iran does seem to be the sticking point. After reading the comments, I think it’s fair to summarize that Mr. Reith does not view the Iranian mullahs as fundamentally different than any, other adversary of America. And to be sure, there is a range of antagonism out there from the mild antagonism we see in the EU and Latin America to more pointed type in China and a host of others.

    So it seems to be a vital question for the US to figure out exactly where to place the current Iranian regime. Obama and his confederates believed (like Mr. Reith apparently) that Iran could not only be contained but engaged and brought into some kind of reasonably cooperative orbit with various carrots and sticks. And to that end Obama threw just about every carrot he could at the mullahs in hopes that they would at least modify their rhetoric if not behaviors.

    What have we seen? Just the opposite, it seems. Not only has the Regime not tempered their words, they have taken Obama’s conciliation and thrown it in his face (and ours). The Regime has doubled down on its support for terror throughout the Middle East, Latin America and Europe. The Regime sees America as weak and feckless and has taken advantage as any good neighborhood bully would.

    So how should Trump classify the mullahs? First, we should recognize that the Iranian people are one of the most, pro-Western in the middle east. Notwithstanding the paid crowds that chant “Death to America,” the majority of Iranians detest the Regime as much or more than the US. They wrongly thought that Obama was on their side in 2009 when they rose up in the Green Revolution only to be betrayed by Obama and fed to the mullahs’ dogs. Some literally. If the Iranian people can forgive that betrayal, they are our best hope of turning Iran into an ally and stable state. Unlike the Arab states, Iranians do have some democratic traditions.

    What about the Regime? After 8 years it is safe to say that when the Regime says that it regards the US as its chief enemy (along with Israel), they mean it. Every action they are taking is consistent with a state that declared war on the US in 1979 and has pursued that war ever since. This puts the Regime in a fundamentally different (and perhaps singular) category from any, other American adversary. It renders Mr. Pieth’s analysis null and void as to the Regime.

    Having said that it is not clear how Trump should treat this singularly dangerous beast. Obama has left the US in a precarious position, with few good options. Reimposing sanctions is a good start, but how does the US respond when the Iranians predictably abandon all pretense of complying with nuclear weapons accords and pursue nukes with abandon? Bush 43 refused to attack Iran even when the Regime was repeatedly caught killing US soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan. Will Trump, after having campaigned against foreign wars, launch strikes to knock out Regime nuclear sites (if such strikes are even possible now with the advanced AA batteries and years of hardening and dispersal)? Will Trump quietly support Israel in such a strike and back Israel up as it faces retaliation from the usual group of Iranian proxies? None of this is pleasant to contemplate.

    My personal vote would be, short term, severe sanctions and invest every, possible resource into covert actions to foment another Green Revolution inside Iran if possible. It may not be possible, but in the near term it may be the best of bad choices. But the US has to be ready to respond forefully when the Regime hits back in some way, such as closing the Straits of Hormuz or attempting to kidnap US sailors in the Gulf etc…

    A friendlier relationship with Russia could very well come in handy when it comes to the Regime, so Mr. Peith’s suggestions there may have merit. But Russia and Iran do not occupy anything like the same threat level to the US, so policy must be very different in each case.

  • silviosilver ✓ᵀʳᵘᵐᵖ ˢᵘᵖᵖᵒʳᵗᵉʳ

    Unsurprisingly, the essay says nothing about checking the Zionist influence within foreign policy circles – as detailed in books live Mearsheimer and Walt’s “The Israel Lobby” – that has done so much to bring things to the present point.

  • Vladislav Krasnov

    A very interesting civilized discussion! It’s tone was set by the author, Peter Rieth. While his argument is wholly consistent with “American Greatness,” it has the added dimention of being universalist (“globalist” one might say) and being so well informed that it seem to transcend political and time-bound divisions. The site shoud be proud to have such authors who provoke and manage a civilized discussion.