Pivot to the U.S.

By ERNEST F. HOLLINGS, former U. S. senator


MAY 21, 2014 -- I heard on public radio this morning (5/9/14) the Secretary of State John Kerry declare: "Our friends in foreign countries are not worried about our presence but our absence." Our trouble is our inability to carry through on our presence.

We have so many troops in the Mid-East that we've proved Osama Bin Laden's case that our help for Israel is a Second Crusade against the Muslim world. We have troops in Kosovo, Turkey, Egypt, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the Persian Gulf and thousands more in Germany, Japan, South Korea and Afghanistan. Our drone killing at will in many countries causes worry about our presence.

President Obama loses credibility when he says he's for a two state solution for Israel-Palestine and then vetoes the U.N. Resolution for two states. He loses credibility when he says he's against settlements but when Israel continues the settlements, the U.S. does nothing. Three years ago, we said: "Assad must go". He's still there. We've made a mess in Iraq. Now, we are caught off base thousands of miles from home with the CIA, NATO and the National Endowment for Democracy all over the place. The U.S. had joined the European Union in its contest with Russia to have Ukraine join either's economic union. When Putin offered $15 billion in economic aid to Ukraine, Ukraine opted for Russia. Then we joined in the overthrow of the democratic elected President of Ukraine. Necessarily, Putin moved to protect Russia's interest in Ukraine. An election was held in Crimea and Crimea joined Russia.

Too long have we played the game of the Big Banks, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the Trilateral Commission by militarily "opening markets" under the cover of "spreading democracy". We learned in Vietnam, Iraq and now Afghanistan that you can't open markets spreading democracy; that the military can't change a country's culture.

Now President Obama pivots to Asia by deploying 2500 Marines to Australia. This only tells China that we're ready to challenge China militarily when we aren't ready to challenge China militarily. Any conflict with China threatens to go nuclear - must be avoided. President Obama's recent pledge to Japan to defend the Senkaku Islands is with a grain of salt. Everybody knows that Congress is not going to have G.I's killed defending uninhabited rock islands. The same for Taiwan.

Taiwan has invested billions in mainland China. Taiwanese have been establishing homes in mainland China and China awaits a peaceful merger. We can keep troops in South Korea to defend against North Korea. But Japan, Vietnam and the Philippines have to settle their own disputes with China. The Founding Father pointed the way. President Washington stated in his Farewell Address: "It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world." President Washington did not mean for the country to have no foreign policy but as Lord Palmerston stated: "Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests."

Twenty five years ago, after Tiananmen Square, the U.S. obtained a Resolution in the U.N. to investigate human rights in China. China went to its economic friends in Africa and the Pacific and there's never been a hearing on the Resolution. The U.S. has over 200,000 troops deployed overseas. China - none. Russia - none. We need to return to our Good Neighbor Policy for foreign policy. This depends on a strong economy, which today is being offshored.

We must limit the offshoring by making it profitable for Corporate America to produce in America. First replace the 35% Corporate Tax with a 7% Value Added Tax, releasing $2 trillion in offshore profits for Corporate America to repatriate tax free and create millions of jobs. This tax cut also produces billions to permit balancing the budget in two years rather than ten. Then, protect production vital to a strong economy. Enforce our trade laws against closed markets and predatory practices. Next, we need to rebuild our infrastructure.

President Obama must pivot to the United States.

Senator Hollings of South Carolina served 38 years in the United States Senate, and for many years was Chairman of the Commerce, Space, Science & Transportation Committee. He is the author of Making Government Work (University of South Carolina Press, 2008).

© 2014, Ernest F. Hollings. All rights reserved. Contact us for republication permission.

About Fritz Hollings

Ernest F. Hollings served the public for 56 years -- 38 years in the United States Senate and as South Carolina's governor, lieutenant governor and a member of the S.C. House of Representatives.

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