Abstention is the key to an America First foreign policy

“The external politics of the United States is eminently expectant; it consists much more in abstaining than in doing.”

Alexis de Tocqueville (1)

The U.S. abstention on the UN Security Council’s resolution condemning Israel’s building of settlements in the West Bank was absolutely the right action, but it was taken for wrong, sophomoric, and really rather dastardly reasons.

The motivation for the abstention was not a clear view of genuine U.S. national security interests — which do, on this issue and many others, including UN membership, benefit from permanent abstention — but rather it came from Obama’s hatred for Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, the arrogant and colossal error that Netanyahu, the Republicans, and Israel First made in staging the former’s address to a joint session of Congress on the Iran deal; and Obama’s all-too-appropriate anger at Mr. Trump’s all-too-inappropriate intervention in his conduct of foreign policy. (NB: One must be careful here, as Mr. Trump, not being a dumb-head, certainly knew that the thin-skinned, arrogant Obama would press ahead and abstain. Could that be what Trump wanted when he spouted off?)

But not unlike the arrival of newborns, most correct and praiseworthy foreign-policy decisions come into the world in an orderly, intended, and legitimate manner, while some others arrive haphazardly as bastards. Obama’s abstention clearly is a bastard, but perhaps it is a quite wonderful bastard, and the first step toward a sane, America First foreign policy in the Middle East.

The point for Americans here is not that Israel is the bad guy and that the Palestinians are the good guys, or vice versa. The point is that neither party, nor their respective actions, make a lick of difference to the republic’s genuine national security interests as long as the U.S. national government stays out of the affairs of of each. If Israel drives all the Palestinians from the West Bank and builds an only-for-Jews metropolis there, or if the Palestinians find a way to kill Israelis in numbers like those of the Palestinians killed by Israelis, it amounts to precisely nothing that impacts the life-and-death interests of America and nearly all of its citizenry. The exceptions being, of course, those elite Jewish-Americans who prefer the survival of Israel to the welfare and survival of their fellow countrymen, and, who, after all, are expendable citizens who pose nothing but a threat to the republic’s survival. They are worthy only of being ostracized.

The truth is that any chance of a two-state solution in the Israel-Palestine conflict is a decade dead, and only more violence and perhaps war will be forthcoming over the issue of what each side considers its and its faith’s territory. Why would the United States want to stay involved in the bloody business that will ensue as the two states are left to work out their own problems and fanaticism? If the rest of the world lines up on the side of the Israelis or that of the Palestinians, and want to play in this nearly 70-year old, cruel but childish war, let them do so and pay and bleed as America has done for far too long.

Again, Obama, his team of juvenile diplomats, their gangsterish mother hen Hillary Clinton, and now the ketchup-king John Kerry are a reprehensible lot, who for eight years have conducted themselves as if it is still the malodorous 1960s, acting as if they are noble, Che-like agents who are duty-bound to make penitent amends for the supposed sins of colonialism and imperialism, while forcibly imposing the far worse sins of globalism, which will require global fascism to maintain. These people are war-causing imbeciles who were Ivy-League educated (indoctrinated?) with ideas, aspirations, and modes of behavior that reward the violent; cannonize the deviant, libertine, anti-religious, non-white, and subversive; and seek to destroy all the West has created since Athens and the Roman republic were pups.

In less than 25 days these lamentable creatures will be a nothing but a mostly annoying memory. But Obama’s abstention at the UN and then Kerry’s attack on Israel’s absolute right to self-defense via settlement building gives the Trump administration a base on which to begin to build an America-serving, non-interventionist foreign policy, though giving Mr. Trump that chance was not the motivation of either act.

After all, abstention or just plain silence on overseas issues and events that are none of the republic’s concern — such as, in this case, a two-state solution or an end to Israeli-Palestinian violence — always has been the key to the fullest possible preservation of the republic’s independence, security, sovereignty, and domestic liberties. Wars, necessary and unnecessary, are the enemies of each of those properties, and a foreign policy championing abstract ideas leads to both kinds of war. Today, as has been the case since 1941, such fatuous slogans as “permanent allies,” “the four freedoms,” “special relationships,” “exceptionalism,” “human rights,” “the right to exist,” “humanitarian intervention,” “democracy expansion,” and “the responsibility to protect” remain popular among adolescent politicians, and serve as sturdy obstacles to an accurate determination of America’s very few life-and-death national interests. Just note the rhetorical and weepy reactions of leading political and media figures as they damn Obama’s abstention and Kerry’s interventionist speech by littering their statements with slogans pertinent to those worthless and damnably war-causing abstractions.

It is always the U.S. national government’s absolute obligation to abstain from intervening, via words, funds, or deeds, in other peoples’ wars, tribal/religious/political/ethnic spats, domestic political arrangements, or any other matter that might wound the delicate sensibilities and foreign loyalties of some U.S. citizens, but threaten no genuine American interest. Sadly, our bipartisan governing elite is addicted to abstractions and delighted to get our soldiers and Marines killed and maimed fighting for the unattainable goals they encompass, most especially when they can be voiced in defense of anything and everything Israel and Israel First want done.

John Kerry’s slogan-filled speech on 28 December 2016 is a fine example of mindless U.S. interventionism, a policy that has long displayed a vast ignorance of how a world of nation-states must work. Kerry’s blithe dismissal of the argument that asserts Israel needs more settlements in Palestinian territory to strengthen its national security may be true. That, however, is not what the Israeli government believes, and, as it is that government that must manage Israel’s absolute right of self-defense. Israel’s cabinet would have to be a gang of morons to heed the interventionist words of the hapless Kerry or any other U.S. politician.

Might more Jewish settlements mean more war between Israel and Muslims? Without a shadow of a doubt, but that is a risk Israel is willing and has an unquestionable right to take in defense of its survival. The important thing is not that settlements might cause more war; after all, no one who dies or is maimed, looses or wins such a fight will adversely impact U.S. security or prosperity. The important things here are (a) that the United States not be involved in deciding how Israel is to defend itself, or, for that matter, how the Palestinians intend to defend themselves, and (b) to make crystal clear that the U.S. military is not coming to the rescue of any party in that worthless-to-America sandpit lying at the eastern end of the Mediterranean.

So while Obama’s team correctly abstained from vetoing the UN resolution on Israel, it did so not because it was irrefutably none of America’s business, but because of that adolescent gang’s life-long love affair with violent and anti-Western Third Worlders. Their abstention was the act of self-centered scoundrels, but be that as it may, on the day of Mr. Trump’s inauguration the UN-approved resolution will be nearly a month old and will have had zero impact on anything even remotely important to the United States. And if the resolution stands for the next thirty years its impact on genuine U.S. interests will be precisely the same.

But you would never now that fact from hysterical and anti-U.S.-national-security reaction of the grandees of Israeli Firstism to the abstention, and then to Kerry’s speech. Jewish-Americans like Elliott Cohen, Daniel Kurtzer, Charles Krauthamer, and Alan Dershowitz; most members of both houses of the AIPAC-owned Congress, and one brain-dead announcer on FOX News last Sunday (25Dec16) — whose name I missed — who confidently identified Israel as “America’s greatest ally,” are all on the verge of apoplexy, deathly afraid of missing the chance to give away more tens of billions to Israel and to get more American military personnel killed and maimed in wars that are either waged on Israel’s behalf, or are waged against America, in part, because of the republic’s shameful status as Israel’s indentured servant.

That the reactions of the individuals noted in the foregoing paragraph show how correct the U.S. abstention was is clear, but, tragically, it names only a few of the many hundreds of U.S. citizens, perhaps the many thousands, who are self-confessed, Israel-First enemies of the republic’s security and survival. The comment about Israel being the republic’s “greatest ally,” however, merits a bit more notice.

This great ally deliberately attacked and nearly sank a U.S. naval ship, and killed, wounded, and maimed scores of U.S. sailors in the process. It has transferred U.S. technology to America’s enemies, has suborned U.S. citizens to spy on their government, and has refused U.S. requests to use its airspace in wartime. It has tried to force the national government into a war with Iran and other of the nation-state enemies Israel cultivates. Its U.S. citizen supporters have ruined the careers of dozens of intelligent and loyal citizens who have cited and fought the destructive impact of Israel First’s unrelenting intervention in and corruption of the U.S. political system, Congress, media, and federal civil service. Israel and its U.S. citizen supporters are not America’s allies, they are its nemesis, willing grave diggers, and endlessly greedy beneficiaries. Indeed, the sorts of activity in which Jewish-American Israel Firsters engage can only be described as the work of parasites and traitors.

America’s true allies are few, and none are named Israel. Britain, Australia, and Canada — until a teenager became the latter’s prime minister — fought valiantly with U.S. forces in the necessary Afghan war, but, like our own troops, they were shackled and made targets by political leaders who did not intend to win the war. Poland’s brave soldiers also were strong wartime allies, as was their and other Eastern European governments. Even General Pervez Musharraf’s Pakistan aided the United States with more substantive military assistance — that cost thousands of dead and wounded military personnel — than did most of the NATO countries put together.

But where was Israel — our “greatest ally,” per FOX News and most of the media — over the last two decades of military disasters? Certainly, it was nowhere near America’s battlefields, save by geographical proximity. Why? Well, first, because any visible Israeli military participation in a U.S.-led war waged on Muslim land would further unite the Islamic world in their loathing for both the U.S. government and Israel; draw tens of thousands of additional mujahideen to the theaters of war; and stimulate a flow of untold billions of Gulf-Arab dollars as donations with which to arm and support those fighters.

That reality, in turn, would quickly expose almost every post-1996 American president, senator, and congressman, and every NATO political leader, for the devious and cynical liars they are. Since Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda declared war on the United States in 1996 — citing U.S. support/subservience to Israel, and Israel’s maltreatment of the Palestinians as principle motivations — the political elites in North America and Europe have told their citizens that the West’s unquestioning support for Israel had absolutely nothing to do with motivating the Islamists to wage war against the West. The Islamists’ only motivation, the Atlantic world’s governing elite’s asinine assessment claims, is fanatic hatred for freedom, liberty, hooch, democracy, and the West’s countless numbers of sluttily dressed and behaving females. But this crackpot analysis would never again hold water if Israeli military units were seen serving in U.S.-led coalitions, and helping to kill Islamists and Muslim civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere.

As noted above, Israel’s military participation on the side of the republic and its few genuine allies would have generated a much more intense, united, geographically dispersed, and murderous Islamist war effort. But much more lethal would have been its impact on the ability of Israel and Israel-First to continue to buy the national government’s slavish support and to extort enormous amounts of U.S. taxpayers’ dollars; most recently, $38 billion dollars, which one — even Mr. Trump — might think would be better and more morally spent at home, say in cancer research, road building, or veterans’ health care. Israeli military participation with American, Canadian, British, Polish, Pakistani, and other forces would have shredded the thin gauze Western leaders have used to cover their lie that neither the West’s actions in the Muslim world nor its support for Israel were main motivators in the Islamists’ war that for decades has been killing and maiming the soldier-children of North American and European parents.

If this hard, but long-true fact became apparent to U.S. and Western citizens, not even such bastardly, Israel-First-enslaved liars as Senators McCain, Graham, and Schumer would be able to persuade or — their trademark — rhetorically bully U.S. parents into silently acquiescing in their government sending their children to get killed fighting in wars to protect a nation that is irrelevant to U.S. security interests, lives on a dole funded by U.S. taxpayers, and cultivates treasonous behavior among some Americans.

Again, the Obama administration’s ego-satisfying and vengeful abstention from voting on the UN Security Council resolution condemning Israeli settlements is a mark of its terminal ignorance about the proper America-centric goals of U.S. foreign policy. But, as noted, the abstention did produce a marvelous bastard of an offspring, one that gives Americans an opportunity to think about how in the world Israel’s nil worth as the republic’s ally can reasonably justify the pointless expenditure of tax dollars and human lives, an endless war with Islam, and unnecessary involvement in irrelevant overseas issues. All of these, at this point, can only distract the new administration from a campaign to repair the widespread economic, political, and social wreckage that is the signal and only achievement of Obama and his party.

On reflection, Americans — especially those who elected Mr. Trump — might well conclude, as did de Tocqueville, that for the good of themselves, their families, their republic, and their posterity, U.S. foreign policy from here on out ought to be one that “consists much more in abstaining than in doing.”


  1. Mansfield and Winthrop (Eds. and Trans). Alexis de Tocqueville. Democracy in America. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2002, p. 219.

Author: Michael F. Scheuer

Michael F. Scheuer worked at the CIA as an intelligence officer for 22 years. He was the first chief of its Osama bin Laden unit, and helped create its rendition program, which he ran for 40 months. He is an American blogger, historian, foreign policy critic, and political analyst.