Last night’s presidential debate covered foreign policy and while current polls place the importance of foreign policy at the end of presidential priorities for most voters, it should not be understated—it is, after all, at the lion’s share of the President’s constitutional obligations.
The need for a principled, yet adaptable foreign policy has become a necessity of the modern presidential administration, especially as cross-cultural global relations become more interconnected, interdependent, and operate in the age of instant information. The effect of the emerging ‘globalized’ dynamic is that foreign policy has instantaneous international consequences, more-so today than at any other time in America’s history.
President Nixon demonstrated his understanding of the complexity and strategy necessary at the basis of an effective foreign policy in his far sighted article, “Asia After Viet Nam,” published by Foreign Affairs in 1967.
“Any American policy toward Asia must come urgently to grips with the reality of China. This does not mean, as many would simplistically have it, rushing to grant recognition to Peking, to admit it to the United Nations and to ply it with offers of trade—all of which would serve to confirm its rulers in their present course. It does mean recognizing the present and potential danger from Communist China, and taking measures designed to meet that danger. It also means distinguishing carefully between long-range and short-range policies, and fashioning shortrange programs so as to advance our long-range goals.
Taking the long view, we simply cannot afford to leave China forever outside the family of nations, there to nurture its fantasies, cherish its hates and threaten its neighbors. There is no place on this small planet for a billion of its potentially most able people to live in angry isolation. But we could go disastrously wrong if, in pursuing this long-range goal, we failed in the short range to read the lessons of history.”