What do we export? This is a question we need to answer. For many years we have had foreign policies driven by our strategic needs in the Cold War. The success of policy was determined by measuring the influence of the Soviet Union. Effectively we were exporting US influence in the world. However, since the fall of the Berlin Wall our goals have been less focused, moving from critical event to critical event without a driving goal. Here is a list of a few of these events:
- Stepping in between Iraq & Kuwait
- Joining a UN effort in Somalia
- Going into Haiti to reinstall a democratically elected government
- Brokering a peace agreement in Bosnia
- Attacking Yugoslavia to stop actions in Kosovo
I am certain everyone reading this has an opinion about the success or failure of each action. Determining the success of the combination of these actions would be difficult at best. We need a new measuring stick to determine how effective our foreign policy really is. I suggest two basic units of measure, the first is an average standard of living (outside the US) and the second is the number of countries that give all their citizens the rights of free speech, free assembly, freedom of religion and due process. This allows us to measure our ability to export freedom and prosperity.
The Bush administration has made a good first step in this direction. After taking a close look at our foreign aid programs, they want to increase the total amount of aid granted. And, direct that aid only to governments moving toward freedom and economic prosperity. The next challenge is seeing how we can change other aid (i.e. military) and other foreign policies to also meet the same goals.
If we can create foreign policy that increases the standard of living and personal freedom worldwide we will benefit dramatically. This would create a more stable world facilitating free trade and exchanging ideas. These are the key elements that made the amazing prosperity of the 90’s possible. I for one would like to see us focus on making the future even brighter.
A Madman has spoken…