Foreign Policy Changes
The world of international relations makes Hollywood gossip look simple.
The first preparation in foreign policy is understanding the cultural aspect I outlined. The second preparation is to understand the nature of war, the intersection of policy and strategy. The third preparation is to be strong- not muscular or decked out in superior technology, but rather to know that strength means protecting, caring for, and helping out others on their terms. With these three preparations made, the desire to protect country, family, and then self takes hold.
What I propose below are numerous foreign policy changes I would like to see implemented. They are, of course, more policy than strategy. It is impossible for me or any other candidate to give real details, fully fleshed out proposals, and concrete strategies to the American people because no candidate is privy to the real going ons of the world. We exist in the realm of second-hand media. None of us get national security briefs, updates on terrorist groups, insight on discussions between foreign leaders we may or may not hate, and more. I have an exceptional fondness for intelligence gathering, an incredible appreciation for how intelligence can build awareness which thins the fog of war. Regardless of my stance on privacy and national security (get warrants), know that I comprehend the need and recognize the important contribution intelligence plays. And I have no insight into what that intelligence really says. Hence the foreign policy proposals that are based in ideas influenced by books, TV, and other media instead of real, DoD gathered facts.
In no particular order-
More Personal Intelligence Gathering
I'm of the opinion that America's intelligence community has become too reliant upon technology to do their jobs. Technology is great and being able to use it for tactical advantage cannot be understated. At the same time, technology misses nuances life gives us. Human beings give off feelings and intentions that technology cannot (adequately) measure or even understand; yet, we innately understand these within ourselves. Such a connection was critical to US intelligence back in the day and I want to see it nurtured more in today's DoD operations. Lives might be put at greater risk because of these changes, but the correctness of the information, proper understanding of a situation's "feeling," and even possible influence of foreign criminal enterprises will give America an even greater advantage going forward.
Halt FBI-crafted Terrorist Plot Busting
The FBI has spent considerable time and resources working to combat terrorism. I applaud these efforts and wish them continued success. However, the vast majority of the "plots" which the FBI has publicly thwarted were plots of their own making.1 The agency relied heavily on informants to fetter out "possible threats" by devising plans, recruiting, and even going so far as to provide fake weaponry to conduct such terrorist attacks.2 These are people are being targeted based on perceived pre-dispositions. It's akin to going into an impoverished part of New York City, offering up "opportunities" to do bad things and, assuming the offer is great enough, getting those trying to get by to commit crimes. There are more effective ways for the FBI to spend its time and money in the fight against terrorism.
Stop Bad Trade Agreements
As I discussed in my thesis on trade agreements, the TPP, TTIP, and TAFTA might bring GDP growth to America and Europe, but there is no guarantee that growth will benefit Americans. After all, we can also grow our GDP by removing all taxes from corporations, eliminating Social Security, and eliminating Medicare. That would be stupid, but it would produce GDP growth. That is one of the reasons I dislike the trade agreements that both Democrats and Republicans seem to be pushing for.
Another major reason is the foreign policy implications. In the thesis I put forth, there was discussion from several European researchers (Americans aren't being given access, so we rely on Europe leaks) showing possible GDP changes for countries around the world if certain trade agreements passed. Researchers also showed that countries not in the trade agreements would suffer GDP and income losses. This includes Mexico and many African countries.3 If America were to embark on these deals, the economic pain inflicted upon countries that are not the wealthiest, countries that are trying to grow their economies, would be bad. Economic woes can lead to desperation; desperation can lead to criminal behavior. Remember that we are all human beings trying to maximize our unalienable Rights. That means we will do whatever it takes to help out those we love.
Consider as well the illegal immigration problem from Central America. Many of these immigrants come to America wanting a better life because the economic means are just not there in their home countries. With these trade agreements, you make it worse for more families south of the border. This could very well lead to more immigration, which in turn can lead to more illegals as the migrants overstay their visas. Thus a problem of our own making that could be entirely avoided.
And finally, contemplate the difficulty cooperation might become amongst all nations not part of the agreement if they know US trade agreements with other countries directly led to the dwindling of their economy. Do you think a foreign leader will be eager to help out American interests if America's trade agreements cause their GDP to drop 2-5%? Are Americans eager to work with China in the face of China's yuan devaluation? Exactly.
Increased Cooperation with Mexico
Mexico's problems with drugs and criminality are America's problems. Capitalism tells us supply follows demand and Americans, unfortunately, want drugs from Mexico (and elsewhere). I want to increase our cooperation with our neighbors to the south so that we might cut the problem off at the source. Drugs and money leads to violence and corruption, both of which Mexico has had its fair share of and both of which I wish to see curbed.
But drugs and corruption are not the only ways in which our two nations need to cooperate. We can work together to combat perceptions of social immobility and work on new economic partnerships that benefit both countries.4 Mexico offers free public education, but too few of the country's young population is going. An educated, eager young populace is critical to any nation's progress through the years. Opportunity awaits if we are willing to work together, not just for the rich in both countries but for the everyday man, themselves.
Increased Involvement in Central/South America
Not just Mexico, but all of the Western Hemisphere should benefit from increased American involvement. There is still much unrest, much tension in South America as various states deal with tenuous peace deals between toppled governments and rebels.5 Corruption also poses a threat to the region as government personnel- including heads of state- face allegations or charges relating to improper use of money.6
America needs to do more to ensure peace reigns in our side of the world. Peace rules while corruption has no place in civilized society. Justice must be dealt, order and faith restored. I would see more US aid given to countries in Central and South America- not necessarily money, but personnel and staff to help with negotiations and criminal investigations.
A Different Path with the UK
The United Kingdom is one of America's greatest allies. Our nations work well together and I would see our cooperation in many international matters continue.
At the same time, the government is the UK has been pushing some agendas that I don't agree with upon their own citizens, agendas inspired by American companies and federal government actions. The spying by the NSA has inspired the UK to produce a "snooper's charter surveillance bill" which has ridiculous data retention requirements such as 12 months of voice calls, SMS, browsing history, and more.7 There are also calls to shut down websites that don't implement effective age-restriction controls to keep kids from accessing online pornography.8 Hollywood and the music industry convinced their British counterparts that monopoly money from intellectual property is the best way to combat obsolescence as the UK high court has again made it illegal to rip your legally purchased DVD/Blu-Ray/CD for use on a computer, tablet, phone, or any other medium.9 Of course, privacy makes it more difficult to be "secure" and makes it more difficult to combat "online piracy," but I feel the UK is going too far in the wrong direction... mainly because of actions our government and corporations have promoted. When Prime Minister David Cameron says privacy is unsustainable, I cannot allow such a great friend and ally of America go down a path against liberty, even if the intentions are good.10
We've seen what happens when we as a nation stare into the abyss of hate and war manifest as a result of terrorism. It is scary as hell. Leaders around the world would see such horrors prevented. The problem is that freedom suffers as a result. Freedom is not easy. It requires sacrifice. We cannot live in a world of constant monitoring and censorship. Human nature won't change that way. America is slowly realizing that, but the UK seems to need some support in the matter. I will support the citizens in their desires of freedom and, hopefully, steer the British government towards a more wholesome, unobtrusive, and fair path.
Europe as a Whole
America's position with our friends in Europe as a whole was also tarnished by the actions of the NSA.11 Privacy violations and corporate violations by having EU companies share data with the US government are not to be taken lightly. Espionage in allied countries requires proper protocols to be followed. The US failed to respect those protocols and, as such, has both lost face and lost faith in the eyes of foreign businesses. There needs to be assurances that data is safe, that we are done with mass surveillance on everyone in the world regardless of their level of innocence. I plan on giving those assurances. The alternative could lead to a fractured internet, something problematic for all nations.12 I pray it doesn't come to that.
Immigration is also a major issue and concern with European countries. America's actions towards immigrants (especially illegals) doesn't help the situation. As the land of the free, we should be acting as the leader in worldly action. That means proper behavior, proper speech, proper effort, etc. The perception that you have to accept everyone or no one takes the immigration problem to the extremes. Surely a balance can be achieved both in America and in Europe.
As a practitioner and lover of martial arts, East Asia is near and dear to my heart. I've visited Japan many times since 2000, all trips to further myself in martial art study with Japanese instructors and with fellow practitioners from all over the world.
At the same time, I'm keenly aware of the happenings during World War II. I'm aware that Prime Minister Abe is pushing for changes to the Japanese Self-Defense Force charter.13 I'm aware of the reaction the Chinese have over the issue.14 I'm aware of North and South Korea's trepidation in the matter.15 More discussion between all parties involved need to occur. Japan and South Korea remain great friends and allies; more open communication amongst the people and leaders is deserved in this matter.
America's rivalry with China is also a point of contention. China took steps to devalue its currency, the yuan. It wishes to see it brought more in-line with market realities and even hopes to have it tracked by the International Monetary Fund as a reserve currency.16 This greatly helps China's own manufacturers because the weaker currency means it's easier to sell goods internationally. Playing games with currency for the sake of market advantage is dangerous. The IMF charter under Article IV Section I (iii) prohibits members from purposefully manipulating exchange rates to gain competitive advantage over other members.17
There also exist issues with China's cyber threats. Various system penetrations have occurred in the US because of Chinese hackers. Without access to classified DoD material, I can't say with 100% certainty that the Chinese government was involved in any of them; China certainly denies involvement. It's possible individuals and/or specific companies are involved in the cyber-attacks without government backing, but the point stands: numerous technical threats are emerging from China and our nations need to discuss ways to curb and/or counter this. I don't want to start a cyber-war. President Obama and President Xi discussed this and both agree to no state-sponsored acts of cyber-attacks or cyber-espionage.18 There is potential for cyber-information sharing initiatives, as China has previously suggested, which could combat cyber-threats and more accurately place "blame" on incidents that might occur.19
We also need to continue discussions with China in matters of local importance, like social mobility, greenhouse gases, the "smog" problem, and overall health of the Chinese population. More equality, more openness, more fairness to the billion people in China is required. This will bring China more in line with the global economy as such ideas of "fairness" translates into increased wages, less stress, more safety, better healthcare, and a better overall environment. The Chinese economy has faced some issues as of late due to the shift towards equality and fairness, but that's how capitalism and global market participation works. The alternative would be to keep its citizens in greater states of poverty, generating more anger towards the government. Balance is key. As the birthplace of Taoism, balance is part of China's history and its soul.
Increased discussions and cooperation with China can also lead to more efficient dealings with North Korea. Kim Jong Un seems more unstable than his father. That instability coupled with access to nuclear weapons makes North Korea a more dangerous threat than Iran in my mind. There is great humanitarian crisis in the region because of how Kim treats the populace. I wish to try and broker some easement to those tensions, using China for assistance. North Koreans listen to China; they are a necessary ally in bringing lasting peace to the area. The alternative is to hear Kim Jong Un threaten nuclear war unless aid is given every X months (the time between saber rattling varies). I dislike those threats, but would rather see diplomacy bring an end to threats than usher in war.
America also must remain committed to the peace in Southeast Asia- both on land and at sea. All sides (including America) must abide by established international law, first and foremost. We also need to improve communication and transparency in the region. Threats of force should be admonished by all; instead, diplomacy must be the first course of action. And all parties should have the foresight to notify others of any "security" moves they'll be making in the region. Only with this in mind can all nations in Southeast Asia ease themselves of suspicions. Openness and transparency breeds trust and trust breeds security.
Sub-Saharan Africa is going through tremendous change. Compared to the Africa I grew up with in the 90's, stabilization, security, and progress has been made in many countries. Admittedly, America has taken a very "hands-off" approach to Africa during the Obama Administration. The policy has been one of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" or, likely more accurately stated, "let's not mess up anything else."
Countries in the region still face violence and persecution. Boko Haram poses a threat, even amidst recent member surrenderings.20 Corruption occurs in developing nations, hindering social and economic growth of a middle class.21 The African Union fights this daily, taking responsibility and doing its best to promote safety, security, health, happiness, and growth. But America can help.
We need to reevaluate the peace keeping missions to determine whether existing strategies are effective. And, as much as Americans may be against the idea, we must consider sending contingents of troops to Africa to aid with peacekeeping missions. Forces of 10,000+ aren't needed, but a few hundred exceptionally trained men and women could go a long way. However, as I said in my thesis on war, troops and military action are physical means of forcing policy. I don't wish to exert force on anyone in Africa. Rather, I want to see more diplomatic and peace pushes. Boko Haram, for example, may be a terrorist organization, but there are sincere political realities that led to its emergence in Nigeria (whether the reason for existence today remains the same is a different discussion).22
And I want to lean more on the African Union than individual African nations. Financial and humanitarian aid can be directed through the AU as needed. What this does is create a more "together" African experience, one which takes into account the region as a whole. America can help stem corruption and be guided as necessary through a united African front. By letting Africa come together and grow as one, it can serve as a model for other parts of the world who feel that togetherness is more beneficial than "going it alone."
Dealing with Russia
President Putin is a man of strength. His character and fortitude based in a life of military operations and violence. Dealing with him requires similar strength, a strength that can be respected. It is universal amongst real warriors to respect those of skill. Russia's attitude towards the United States and the rest of the world needs to be reevaluated.
The Ukraine conflict is the biggest obstacle at the moment. It's polarizing in Russia and the rest of the world is unsure how to handle the situation. There is fear that Russia would resort to unspeakable methods- possibly the use of nuclear arms which could lead to World War III. This occurs in the face of a struggling Russian economy, partially due to sanctions by the West, partially due to the major drop in oil prices. When money becomes an issue, people and nations take uncommon action. It's how we are programmed as human beings- doing what we need to do in order to survive. Equality and fairness to the Russian people is important, but in a quasi-dictatorial regime like President Putin commands, the ability to freely speak out or protest without consequences remains an international problem. Change in a country's behavior requires an understanding and change in the culture of the populace.
President Obama's willingness to engage President Putin in diplomacy is a good first step. President Putin has long said Russia can be an ally in the fight against Islamic extremism.23 It's entirely possible Russia can be and we should welcome their cooperation. Of course, this needs to be handled with care as the recent Syria incursion shows. The reasons Russia is providing troops and aid to Syria are, most likely, multi-faceted. President Putin has a strategic mind. It's only natural to see that getting involved in Syria shows the West they want to fight terrorism, that they still consider Assad an ally, and that America is somehow weaker than it really is because of our lack of boots on the ground. Furthermore, we need to consider the physical Russian presence in Syria in relation to military plans in western Europe. There once was a plan to setup missile defenses and more in the Czech Republic and Poland, but those ideas have been back-burnered under the Obama Administration.
More dialogue is needed, for sure. I wish I could comment more on the grand scale of things, but when it comes to Russia, lack of insight from the intelligence community (ie, classified knowledge of what really is happening) makes formulating a "concrete" plan to deal with Russia difficult. Needless to say, as one martial artist (me) to another (President Putin, a judo practitioner), I wish to see more cooperation and more interactions between our nations. I feel this can be done without compromising the character and integrity of either of our countries.
Syria's Civil War
The civil war in Syria began in conjunction with the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011. President Assad's response to the protests was extreme and violent, apparently including kidnapping, torture, possible (very likely) use of chemical weapons, and more. We're now in the fourth year of the conflict with the situation only getting worse. It's the most recent case showing how violence is a bad answer to dealing with non-violent uprisings.
Based on my understanding of how things stand at the moment, I still maintain a plan of non-involvement with Syria from the perspective of boots on the ground. Airstrike effectiveness (or lack thereof) needs to be reevaluated. There are many players in the game now, between Assad's supporters, the rebels, Islamic State members, al-Qaeda/al-Nusra, and others. What started as a protest for sociopolitical reforms turned into a fight for the land, itself. Terrorist networks see the chaos and wish to takeover, Assad wishes to stay in power, and rebels want to both survive and see change brought to their country. Since 2011, millions of innocents have been affected by the war. President Assad's regime is also facing problems with the Syrian Army's dwindling ranks.24
I am ready to commit US troops to the Syrian conflict, but only under the guise of restoring peace to the Syrian people. This is a hefty goal and one that should have been done before terrorist organizations gained control. It requires Assad and the Syrian rebels- the real rebels, those Syrians who were fighting for reforms- to negotiate a new Constitution full of rules that allow for a more free Syria. It does not have to be a Constitution likes the US has- that would be an extreme culture shock- but it does need to provide for more opportunity, more fairness, and more equality. If a peace can be brokered amongst Assad and the rebels, then I would put boots on the ground to help Syria take back territory from terrorist groups and keep boots on the ground to ensure Assad and the rebels maintain the peace.
Without such negotiations, Syria remains too much of a chaotic mess for the US to get directly involved. Our geographical position makes anything more than air/naval strikes difficult and continually arming groups that have no good training in war, strategy, and tactics is a recipe for disaster. You don't want to give enemies the opportunity to restock or even upgrade their equipment with US gear taken from poorly trained fighters. But air/naval strikes pose problems due to the guerrilla nature to the civil war. Many innocents and civilians are in the way. I understand war brings about collateral damage, but also remember that collateral damage in the Mid East leads to increased hatred, increased anti-US sentiment, and increased fodder for recruiting possible terrorists. Without dedication to real changes from Assad, America's involvement would be one of unintended consequences that come back to haunt us, much like previous policies in the Mid East have done.25
Iran is the elephant in the room. As I write this, there is much debate over the Iran deal negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry. Iran currently is burdened by heavy sanctions imposed by the West. This has crippled the economy and hurt the populace. The Iran deal is meant to ease those sanctions in exchange for cutting off pathways to a nuclear weapon. The full text of the deal is available here. It is always best to read the original source in these matters rather than trust media (left or right). Once you read the deal, then you can look to media sources and determine using logic, reasoning, and critical thinking whether or not that media source is portraying the deal properly. It is 159 pages of details and jargon, but it's important to at least skim through it. Even simple ctrl+f "find" searches will help combat misunderstandings, such as the lack of IAEA inspections.26
Based on the terms of the deal, Iran will be cutoff from achieving nuclear weapons. The nuclear power used in the country will augment their existing solar energy push.27 Nuclear energy is a status symbol, a sign to the world that you are an advanced civilization. I have met a few Iranians during my international travels (never to Iran, unfortunately) and they have all been great. The kindness, politeness, and overall hospitality betrays the perception many Americans have of an Iran hellbent on destroying the world. I wish the world could see more of these types of people. They do not wish to destroy America or even Israel. They want to participate in the modern, global society. They want to work hard, see their kids grow up, to enjoy life and participate in the wonders of the world peacefully just like the vast majority of humanity wishes.
I support the Iran deal. Is it perfect? No. I would have much rather pushed for even more renewable energy sources, even going so far as to provide billions in infrastructure aid if they were to scrap the nuclear energy program. There still is a huge opportunity for Iran to become a portrait of renewable energy as a whole. But nuclear remains a status symbol. With the restrictions in place and knowing how easy it would be to sanction the nation in the future should they violate the terms of the deal (possibly stronger sanctions than before), I can accept this deal as a starting point for brokering further peace in the region. If America truly recognizes unalienable Rights in humanity, this includes the Iranian people suffering due to their own government's actions.
But what about terrorism that Iran supports? What about the "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" chants? What about labeling America "the great Satan?" Do I condone these? Of course not, but I understand in part. The "Death to America" and "Death to Israel" chants are a matter of culture, of regional (mis)understanding. It relates back to what I said about foreign policy in general. "Death" is not the physical obliteration of the United States and Israel. Rather, it is a poor translation from Farsi for Iran's stance against American and Israeli policy.
Iran has claimed numerous times that it does not want to kill all the Jews and does not want to kill every American. Ayatollah Khamenei went so far as to outline a plan to eliminate Israel that specifically says it doesn't mean massacre of the Jewish people of the region.28 Iran is home to many Jews and mandates Jews be included in parliament (with one seat, but at least it's included). The destruction of Jews shouldn't allow that, logically speaking. President Rouhani also wished Jews a happy new year at Rosh Hashana, citing the shared Abrahamic roots of both Judaism and Islam.29 When the term "Satan" is used by Iran, it's not in the sense of "devil" like "ruler of hell" but rather in the original meaning of the term, "adversary." America is perceived as a "Great Adversary" in this regard.
I understand this culture. I don't agree with it, but I understand it. My hope with Iran moving forward after the deal would be to engage in more diplomacy. More meetings, more discussions, more communication, and more clarification. Iran has a major role to play in bringing peace and stability to the Mid East. It's a nation full of rich culture and rich history like all nations in the Mid East. I see incredible potential for the future- even if it's 50 years down the line. More on this future further down in this thesis.
Israel and Palestine
Israel is one of America's greatest allies- not just in the Mid East, but in the whole world. As a Jew, I naturally support the state of Israel and the Jewish people in their faith and their livelihood. Israel is a cornerstone to my vision of Mid East peace, even if numerous Jews in Israel call into question my legitimacy.30
I am also incredibly sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinian youth. The young folks are stuck in a crappy spot. There are blockades preventing them from leaving, billions in aid promised to them has not materialized, and Hamas spent much money on fighting with Israel instead of helping the Palestinians.31 Palestine's youth wants to have jobs, wants food, stability, and a positive view of the future. But with Hamas and the PLO fighting Israel and each other,32 and with Iran cutting off financial aid, that view of the future looks more bleak, more grim by the day.33
With any case of humanitarian crisis (even in Syria and Iran), I am prepared to support the Palestinians with aid should ceasefires and peace come about. I also want to again pursue a two-state solution with Israel. It has been tried numerous times and failed, but we must never give up trying. Millions of lives depend on peace within the region. Every chance we get for peace discussions is a chance we must take. Violence only begets violence. Israel has a right to defend itself, but that defense can become "preemptive" which then leads to violence for the sake of "punishment." This then leads to Hamas retaliation and more violence.
At some point, the violence needs to stop. There needs to be real strength shown by both sides. Perseverance is required. Endurance in mind, body, and spirit is a necessity. I'm not naive enough to think peace negotiations can occur in a vacuum of violence; there are plenty of actors on both sides that need the violence to justify their actions, regardless of the impact on the rest of the populace. But even through that violence, attempts at peace must continue, must be condemned by both sides, and must be pursued with vigilance.
I promise the Palestinians this: should Hamas and the PLO display good faith efforts to actually improving the lives of their fellow Palestinians, should a lasting peace be struck, should a legitimate two state solution be reached, there are billions of dollars in US aid ready to help. Not only money, but manpower as well. I do not want to see Israeli and Palestinian youth grow up knowing violence and hate. That is something no leader should wish of their future.
Peace and the Mid East
The Mid East as a whole is extremely complicated to navigate. Tensions and hatred have been bred into the hearts of millions. Countries hate other countries over political and religious differences. Israel and Palestine are fighting, Iran is waging proxy wars in Syria, Iraq (against ISIS),34, and Yemen,35 and overall regional security is facing an uphill battle.
A large part of the conflict stems from religious disagreement. Shiite and Sunni Muslims have been fighting for centuries in a conflict too nuanced, detailed, and complicated for me to do it justice. It would be disrespectful to both sides for me to even try. But violence used to destabilize a region is a danger to all countries in the Mid East. Rebellions like in Yemen result in international proxy wars between countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia. Peace seems an impossibility.
I can't accept that. Peace is always possible. It has to be. We are all human beings, born with certain unalienable Rights. This transcends sectarian violence. God created us all, God put us all here. This is universal in religion. To me, attacking one human is to attack God's creation. That a religion as great and storied as Islam should succumb to this pains me greatly. But I will not give up.
An Arab League Summit already exists. This is where the nations of the Mid East and north Africa meet to discuss various happenings in the region. It's mainly Sunni driven, as Iran, Azerbaijan, and Assad's government are not represented. I support the Arab League in its desire to bring stability and peace to the region. However, that will not occur without the involvement of Iran. It will not occur without some reconciliation between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.
I'm proposing two different summits to be held bi-annually. The first would be a Mid East Religious Summit involving three clerics from each participating nation to meet and discuss their perspectives with each other.36 These clerics must be of different faiths, meaning two Sunni or two Shiite or two Jewish religious leaders from the same country will not be allowed but a Sunni, Sufi, and Jew would be. These clerics will meet and discuss their ideological sameness and ideological differences over the length of the summit. At the end, three nations will be required to summarize the current religious issues and present their findings to world leaders through the United Nations forum. World leaders can then act accordingly on the findings. As I said, understanding culture is of incredible importance when it comes to foreign policy and international relations. As a sign of good faith (plus I genuinely love discussing philosophy), the President of the United States (theoretically me and then whomever gets elected in the future) would also sit in, listen, and observe as crisis's allow.
Part of the problem with US/Mid East relations is the perception issue around Islam. By having the President attend, it's a sign of good faith showing that the US cares about and respects the religion of Islam as much as it does any other religion. America is to be the land of the free, of equality, and of unalienable Rights; that includes all Muslims, all Jews, all Christians, all Shintoists, all Taoists, all Hindi's, all Wiccans, and more. All cultures should be treated with respect. There are many ways to pray to God, many ways to recognize and respect His creation.
Thus, the second would be a bi-annual meeting between the UN Security Council and the leaders of all member states participating in the Mid East Religious Summit. This is built upon the Religious Summit previously mentioned. If the Mid East is to be a sectarian region, then world leaders need to treat it as such and adjust accordingly. Getting leaders of the region and leaders of the world on the same page is a step towards keeping peace and stability.
Make no mistake about it. My goal in foreign policy first and foremost- especially in the Mid East- is peace. Peace is harmony and harmony is Truth. Peace allows unalienable Rights to flourish, peace allows change to naturally take place as cultures evolve. I will support anyone and everyone wishing for peace and will admonish anyone and everyone who seeks a return to violence. Peace is paramount. It must be. If not for our generation, then for the next. Each generation is influenced by the actions and dialogue of the previous. If the next generation 30-50 years from now can see America as a force of good, as a force pushing strongly for peace, strongly for religious tolerance, and strongly for bringing aid to EVERYONE who supports peace, it pushes forth the cultural change the world needs for the future.
This is foreign policy based on culture, humanity, and our God-given unalienable Rights. It's not about now. It's about now and the future.
(1) See Mexican Thinking on Social Mobility.
(2) See Mexican Thinking on Social Mobility.
(3) The Obama Administration has worked to bring Mexico into the TPP agreement, but not the TTIP from what I can tell. See Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership - Who Benefits from a Free Trade Deal?.
(4) See Mexican Thinking on Social Mobility.
(5) See Colombia threatens to end peace talks with FARC rebels and Is El Salvador Heading to a Second Civil War? as examples.
(11) See NSA Spying Revelations Start To Cause Outrage In Europe; China Next? for some examples. More can be easily found.
(15) See In S. Korea, few favor expansion of Japan's self-defense roles and S. Korea has authority to reject Japan's self-defense forces: defense minister. North Korea hates anything that might possibly be a threat to them, hence my including them in this statement is trepidation.
(17) See Articles of Agreement of the International Monetary Fund. See also Currency Devaluation and Revaluation from the New York Fed for more info on valuations.
(21) See SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA: CORRUPTION STILL HURTS DAILY LIVES from Transparency International, based on its Corruption Perception Index. Perception plays a huge party in "creating" reality for mankind, hence the importance of this.
(23) See Vladimir Putin vows 'total annihilation' of terrorists after Volgograd bombings. Also Putin signs bill on ‘undesirable foreign groups’ into law. The bill also targets homosexuals, which is incredibly unfortunately. But we cannot conduct foreign policy on an "all or nothing" scale. It simply is not how the world works and any attempts at forcing that will be met with conflict.
(25) I refer to the Shah in Iran, the Iraq invasion, the handling of the Mubarak overthrow in Egypt, the problems with Israel and Palestine, etc.
(26) See Conservative Media Run With Flawed AP Report To Claim Iran Will Conduct Inspections On Its Own Facilities. See also page 39 of the deal discussing long-term IAEA inspector presence.
(30) I am a Reform Jew, which means I believe in God, I believe in the Torah, and I believe in Israel. But I do not follow every halakhah. I eat shellfish, "work" on the Sabbath, don't participate in a number of Jewish Holidays, and more. This makes many Jews view me in a less than flattering light, regardless of how faithful I may feel I am (which is to say, "a lot").
(32) See Hamas–Fatah conflict.
(36) I would keep this centralized around the Mid East region, thus the participating nations would be: Egypt, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen, and Afghanistan.