Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Foreign Policy and the Church

Foreign Policy and treaty negotiations is really complex. In my experience back in the 1970s working on the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty with the then Soviets I learned that nothing is necessarily as it appears to be. Later while having one of my companies in Russia I was able to add some dimensions to that complexity. Now add to that the Iranian situation, I also had some folks there as well before the revolution, I could see that nothing is really what it may appear to be.

The main interests should be the security of US interests and furthermore a stable world situation is good for all. But we now have many wild cards. Iran is one and unfortunately so is Russia. China has its own games to play and it is not clear that having an unstable Middle East is good or bad for them.

Now add to the mix the US Bishops who for reasons known only to them have written Congress asking approval of a phantom deal. Nothing is in writing, and in fact what was oral was denied by the other side. But the Bishops write:

Despite the challenges, it is vital to continue to foster an environment in which all parties can build mutual confidence and trust in order to work towards a final accord that enhances peace. For this reason, our Committee continues to oppose Congressional efforts that seek to undermine the negotiation process or make a responsible multi-party agreement more difficult to achieve and implement. The alternative to an agreement leads toward armed conflict, an outcome of profound concern to the Church. We welcome the most recent step the United States and its international partners have taken with Iran and encourage our nation to continue down this path. Now is the time for dialogue and building bridges which foster peace and greater understanding. We urge Congress to support these efforts.

Nice but  I recall the days of Soviet nuclear threats and plans such as RISOP 9B, a total devastation of humanity by some insane nuclear power. As I had said in the late 1970s regarding the USSR and its positioning, one must be vary careful who to trust, even more so, trust but verify is perhaps not enough.

The old MAD, mutual assured destruction, plan of Kahn and the others in the 1960s made sense only if the other side wanted to survive. If on the other hand the other side is seeking total destruction as some religious salvation, then one may face a true dilemma. From Xerxes onwards we have been in a push and shove with Persia. Now add a religious element and it makes it ever so more threatening. This is not the distribution of loaves to the poor. This is a matter of the survival of civilization.