America’s foreign policy drowns at the water’s edge.
What follows is what I consider the main practical consideration for understanding the international predicament of the United States today. This analysis is largely drawn from my handbook, A Student’s Guide to International Relations, and my forthcoming book on the teachings of John Quincy Adams.
Here and now, more than usual, a nation’s relation with others flows less from choices about policy than it does from the character of its people and ruling class. Scarcely any foreign policy is possible for a people who hate one another. All but the most basic functions are beyond being supported by a population—of ever lower intellectual and moral capacity—that has lost confidence in its leaders. Today’s U.S. ruling class is thoroughly corrupt and absorbed in domestic revolution. No serious statesmen would display their own country’s internal divisions as does the U.S. by flying the LGBT flag. It is not reasonable to expect foreigners to take seriously American statesmen who do not take seriously their own country’s unity and interests.
Having witnessed the abandon with which the ruling class abstracted from reality to weaponize U.S. relations with Russia, it is impossible to imagine that it would refrain from doing the same with any other matter that it deemed convenient. U.S. relations with China depend on various Chinese interests’ outright purchase of practical allegiance up and down and throughout America’s political and social hierarchy. The opera buffa with regard to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline shouts that U.S. words and deeds are thin cover for actions actually driven by coincidences of U.S. and German personal interests. In that regard, the coziness between the U.S. and European ruling class simply reflects what concerns both equally, namely fighting off populist pressures against increasingly intolerable mal-government.