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Tag: America’s interests

U.S. Troops in Uganda? Blame Congress, Not Obama

Last October, when our President announced that the U.S. would be sending about 100 of our troops to Uganda, I heard a lot of people asking, “What is the President thinking?  How was this in U.S. interest?”

As easy as it is to find fault with our President, Obama was simply following the law.  That is right!  While Congress has not authorized the use of the U.S. military against Iran, Congress commanded the President to use military forces in Uganda as part of an effort to quash the Christian terrorist organization known as the Lord’s Resistance Army.

Thanks to Sen. Russ Feingold, Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry, the unanimous consent of the U.S. Senate, and an unrecorded voice vote in the U.S. House, the Congress directed the President to come up with a plan to use the U.S. military in Uganda (see the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009).

So if you have questions about why U.S. troops are in Uganda instead of Iran, I suggest that you pose those questions to your Senators, who gave unanimous agreement to this policy.

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Draft: Description for Discussion of The Foreign Policy of Self-Interest

Join us for a discussion of America’s interests in foreign policy. The book is The Foreign Policy of Self-Interest: A Moral Ideal for America by Peter Schwartz; only 61 pages to chew and savor.

The content of this ARI publication will be supplemented and contrasted with two brief official government statements on America’s interest, which are found in: (1) A National Security Strategy for a Global Age (White House, December 2000; pp. 4-5), and (2) Leading Through Civilian Power: The First Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR) (U.S. State Dept., 2010, pp. 9-10).

Objectivists, Democrats, and Republicans all agree that our foreign policy should be rooted in America’s interests, but we do not agree on what American interests and values are.

A recent example of different definitions for the same concepts subverting a public discussion on foreign policy would be the recent US involvement in Libya.  According the official articulation of America’s interests found in the QDDR, American intervention in Libya was consistent with American interests, even if President Obama failed to articulate why that was the case.

In the discussion, we will examine:

1) Schwartz’s articulation of self-interest as the basis for understanding America’s interests.

2) How does Schwartz’s position compare to the bipartisan understanding of America’s interest as found in the 2000 National Security Strategy with its hierarchy of vital, important, and other/humanitarian interests?

3) How does Schwartz’s position compare to the Obama Administration’s four fundamental American interests as found in the QDDR?

4) Does the Obama Administration’s four fundamental American interests represent a substantially different understanding of America interests when compared to the bipartisan hierarchy?

5) How could the Objectivist understanding of self-interest influence foreign policy discussions in the presidential election?

6) Is there an opportunity to influence future American foreign policy by correcting the official statement of America’s interests during the development of the 2nd QDDR, to be published in 2014?

DCOS member Jim Woods will be leading the discussion.

Previously savored copies of Schwartz’s The Foreign Policy of Self-Interest may be found on Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0962533661/ref=dp_olp_used?ie=UTF8&qid=1325380951&sr=8-1&condition=used

New copies of Schwarz are available at the Ayn Rand Bookstore:

http://www.aynrandbookstore2.com/prodinfo.asp?number=HS25B

A National Security Strategy for a Global Age (see section entitled “Guiding Principles of Engagement”) is available for free on-line at:

http://osdhistory.defense.gov/docs/nss2000.pdf

The QDDR is available for free on-line at:

http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/153142.pdf

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