RECONNECTING TO REALITY
We received a huge amount of mail responding to Sherle R. Schwenninger’s July 18/25 “Reconnecting to the World: A Foreign Policy for Democrats.” Because of our biweekly summer schedule, we are only now finding the space to print a sampling of the letters. –The Editors
Salt Lake City
I applaud the clear insights about our world situation throughout your publication, but especially in Sherle R. Schwenninger’s “Reconnecting to the World.” This kind of reasoning shows that humanity really has potential.
Sherle Schwenninger cogently presents ideas that have fermented in my own modest intellect for some time, although in my case it is more an inchoate uneasy sense that things are going terribly amiss, that historical mistakes of crucial importance are being repeated. I hope for all our sakes that a twenty-first-century version of FDR arises to reverse our lemminglike march back to the Harding-Coolidge era.
ROBERT K. SIMMS SR.
Schwenninger’s essay reconnects the American mind to reality and thus lays the groundwork for constructive US engagement with the world. Exporting what has worked in the past for America, middle-class development, is a perspicacious remedy; one that needs to be reapplied at home as well. Of course, this vision must overcome a Republican Administration and its red state adherents, who do not like New Deals of any kind, let alone one for a developing world. Let’s try anyway.
Sherle Schwenninger is on the right track. Getting our own house in order, rebuilding the middle class, limiting our foreign military adventures, stopping our preaching to other nations and finding our place as one prosperous country in the world should be the plan. Our success is largely due to our past setting of a good example as a world citizen, an image that has been tarnished a great deal in the past five years. But this isn’t a project for governments alone. It requires a balanced approach: government doing things only it does well and private enterprise doing things it does well. Governments and private enterprise must come to realize that they are on the same team. Only by cooperating and constraining our greed can all benefit.
I was stopped short by Sherle Schwenninger’s assertion that “traditionally, the overarching purpose of American foreign policy has been to shape a world order favorable to the American democratic way of life.” By “traditionally,” I understand him to refer to the cold war era, before the foreign policy dominance of the Democratic neoliberals and the Republican neoconservatives, the objects of his critique. But surely this “traditional” foreign policy included the wars in Korea and Vietnam, the sustained aggression against Nicaragua and Cuba, the bilateral support for South African apartheid, the creation and support of military dictatorships in Latin America, etc. Is Schwenninger asserting that war and intervention were intrinsically connected to sustaining our “democratic way of life”? We need to find a better model for the relationship between our foreign policy and our democracy at home.