The Reality Check of Foreign Policy

“We damage ourselves by only thinking of ourselves.  And we jeopardize our children’s future by not remaining committed to our founding principles.”

There are times in world history when issues and their determinants seem so complex that they defy logic. Why, for example, would Scotland resent the English as a common culture for centuries and then, by democratic vote, refuse the option of independence? William Wallace fought a bitter battle with the King of England at Stirling in 1297 AD to establish independence from England. He won that battle, but later lost the war. Fast forward 700+ years to 2014. Scotland negotiated the right for a referendum to establish independence from the United Kingdom. They voted to remain in the U.K. What is the difference between this cultural conflict and the one in the Middle East today?
The Middle East

The centuries old conflict between Israel and the surrounding authorities of the Palestinians, Hamas, and Hezbollah, is not about cultural identity as it was between the Scots and the English. It’s about religion and whose religion is superior. Jerusalem is a sacred city to three religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Jews and Christians claim the same biblical bloodlines. Their faiths are not in conflict. Each claims the other as part of its doctrine.

Muslims worship a prophet deified by the Islamic faith to be superior to Judeo-Christian patriarchs. Most religions hold to the claim that their faith and religion are superior to all others. However, Islam requires, as proof of their superiority, control of key parcels of land in Jerusalem. The temple mount and the physical control of its presence is the determining factor to the legitimacy of Islam’s declarations. Part and parcel of Islamic doctrine is the control and dominance of land in this world system of things. Central to this theme is that land occupied by Islam is never to be surrendered and other lands are to be conquered, culminating in a one world government, overseen by a Caliphate. There is no compromise on this point. Jews and Christians believe in a greater life hereafter and are not compelled to conquer or dominate the world, or erase its history.

Syria is the scene of sectarian conflict. The refugee crisis has been generated by civil war between forces on one side that believe religious doctrines must be instituted by coercion, and on the other side, forces that believe in evangelism (giving testimony). Russia has entered into the Syrian theater for the purported purpose of stabilizing the region. Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, recently in an interview with Charlie Rose, stated that Russia’s engagement was to avoid another Libya. He further implied that regardless of what we thought about the Assad regime, it was the only legitimate representation of a government that could in fact maintain civil order in Syria. The history of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya adds credence to his argument. The foreign policy question becomes: who influences what government structures to what ends and for what purposes?

To understand the Middle East, we must go back to the events of the Arab Spring of 2010. Revolts broke out all across the Arab world. Governments were overthrown. Centuries of tribal, cultural, and religious mandates brought the region to a boiling point. We are still dealing with the internal conflicts of Arab society in a modern global world. Economics plays a key role. The need for jobs, a living wage, and a safe and orderly society are paramount to the average family, regardless of culture or region of residence. Open and free trade is the greatest enhancer of economic activity. Commerce produces jobs and societal stability. Scotland and England realized this when the control of a particular piece of land wasn’t the critical issue. Certain forces and movements in the Middle East do not want trade with Israel for fear that it will lead to a normalization of relations. The lack of jobs creates discontent. Malcontents are easier to mobilize into violence. Stability would result in compromise on the governance of the temple mount. This result is unacceptable to zealots.

Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia have reasonably stable governments. They are willing to live in peace in the region and with Israel. They should be supported at all costs. Saudi Arabia at times has been in cultural conflict with the United States. But terrorist activities have been generated more by religious literalists rather than by state policy. The Saudi government may be tolerant of extremists, but it is not radical.


The tinder boxes of the world’s spontaneous regions are further jeopardized by unsustainable world governments’ economic policy. World governments are in excessive debt. They continue to run deficits. Deficit spending has become a way of life, not a way to meet extraordinary circumstances.

China has a currency that is overvalued due to chronic printing of money. Their government spending has been for projects like new cities in which no one lives. These expenditures are economically unproductive. China is now 20% of the world’s GDP. The mismanagement of their currency will impact other sovereign economies.

The United States continues to accumulate debt beyond reasonable levels. The U.S. is currently in debt at a ratio of 108% to GDP. Soon it will be necessary for the Federal Reserve to raise the discount rate to banks, and thereby resulting in an increase of commercial interest rates. This will make the dollar stronger versus the currencies of emerging countries like Brazil. Brazil’s debt will become more expensive.

What does all of this mean?

The United States should implement a foreign policy that takes into consideration the complexities of the world, but demands that the rule of law and free enterprise are the ultimate goals for member governments of a civilized world. The United States should start by getting its own house in order. A plan to balance the budget within four years is absolutely critical. This requires strategic planning, restructuring, consensus, and commitment. It is possible for the United States to produce adequate government services, expected and needed by the public, without ongoing bloated, duplicitous government programs. The creation of jobs in the Middle East and the world is a necessary ingredient for the recipe of peace. This requires that the United States manage its currency appropriately. It is not righteous for the United States to allow world interest rates to rise to a point that only it can afford. The world’s economic system is now global and interconnected. We must act responsibly.

We damage ourselves by only thinking of ourselves.  And we jeopardize our children’s future by not remaining committed to our founding principles.

These may be the times of complex determinants, but they do not defy logic. When sound, proven, eternal principles are applied unselfishly, conflicts and crises can be resolved. The United States has the moral imperative to lead this world in pursuit of confirming eternal principles.

My name is Marc Nuttle and this is what I believe.

What do you believe?