After America’s triumph in the Cold War, elated Western leaders were imbued with “the notion that liberal capitalism would reign supreme in perpetuity — a conclusion directly contradicted by centuries of real-world experience. Armed with this false premise, U.S. foreign policymakers on both sides of the aisle made a [series] of disastrous blunders.”
Radio talk show host, best-selling author and conservative political commentator Laura Ingraham describes some of them:
• They believed that the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) would promote better relations in North America, and reduce concerns over illegal immigration. They were wrong. Instead, illegal immigration from Mexico to the United States surged, while relations between all three NAFTA countries have generally deteriorated. By 2008, even Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were calling for NAFTA to be re-negotiated — but of course, that was just another empty promise.
• They believed that the World Trade Organization (WTO) would serve as a bastion of support for market economies, and would encourage countries like Japan to give up their mercantilist practices. They were wrong. Instead, the United States has become the main target of the WTO’s dispute settlement system, as our trading partners regularly treat us as a punching bag, winning disputes and forcing us to change our laws to better suit their preferences. This year, the globalists in the Obama administration blocked an appointment to the WTO’s Appellate Body — because even they are tired of losing so many cases there.
• They believed that facilitating the rise of China — by giving the Chinese practically unlimited access to Western markets and technology — would lead to a freer and safer world. They were wrong. The relentless dictators in China are using their newfound wealth to consolidate their power, both inside China and around the world. If current trends continue, we will soon be driven from Asia, and a Communist dictatorship will replace the United States as the world’s largest economy.
• They believed that a weakened Russia could do little to challenge the West. They were wrong. Vladimir Putin’s government, despite an economy smaller than that of Canada, has tied Western policymakers in knots — making them look feckless and weak, and undermining NATO.
• They believed that spreading democracy in the Middle East would lead to more stable and peaceful governments in that part of the world. They were wrong. The disastrous wars and other mistakes of the last 15 years have created a Middle East that appears to be more violent and dangerous than ever. Furthermore, the Middle East is now flooding the West with refugees and terrorists, who are creating huge political problems in the United States and Western Europe.
• They believed that cramming most of the historic nations of Europe into a single union with a shared currency would lead to peace and prosperity. They were wrong. Europe’s economy has been staggering for years, and the voters of the United Kingdom grew so disgusted with the European Union that they voted to leave it altogether — another development our elites failed to anticipate.
• They believed that Angela Merkel, the chancellor of Germany, was a force of calm and stability within the Western alliance. They were wrong. She has proven to be an unyielding fanatic whose absolute refusal to change course — no matter how bad that course may be — has not only damaged the economies of southern Europe, and driven Britain from the E.U., but has destabilized Germany itself by opening that country to a surge of Middle Eastern refugees for which the German people, and their government, were not ready.
• They believed that giving away our manufacturing base and welcoming illegal immigrants from around the world would lead to a happier and more prosperous America. They were wrong. The U.S. economy has performed so poorly that experts like Larry Summers now suggest we have entered a period of permanent “secular stagnation.” Meanwhile, U.S. politics are riven by the utter mistrust that many voters feel for the elites who govern them — and by the contempt many of those elites feel for those voters.
• They believed that as secretary of state, Hillary Clinton — a donor-controlled hack who may be the least persuasive person ever to hold high public office in this country — could help resolve the significant foreign policy problems that were already becoming obvious by 2009. Instead, she failed at that job, and the world is now less stable and more dangerous than when she went to Foggy Bottom.
I could go on, but surely these examples are more than sufficient to prove that our leaders have committed blunder after blunder since the end of the Cold War. History is not kind to fools, and the United States is paying an enormous price for throwing away the strategic advantages it enjoyed after the collapse of the Soviet Union.