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Sun Oct 13, 2019, 02:29 PM

W O W - "never been more ashamed of US foreign policy than I am now."

David Rothkopf
I want to say I have never been more ashamed of US foreign policy than I am now. But I was during Bush's war in Iraq. And I was when Obama failed to take action to stop the slaughter in Syria. And I was when Clinton failed to stop the genocide in Rwanda.

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I want to say I have never been more ashamed of US foreign policy than I am now. But I was during Bush's war in Iraq. And I was when Obama failed to take action to stop the slaughter in Syria. And I was when Clinton failed to stop the genocide in Rwanda.

I was during the chaos and squalor of Iran Contra. And I was during the ineptitude and weakness of our response to the Iranian hostage crisis. I certainly was during Vietnam. In fact, for all of my adult life, there've been moments when I was disgusted and embarrassed...

by U.S. foreign policy. And candidly, watching the institutionalized racism and sexism and corruption of American domestic politics from the days of George Wallace and Lester Maddox to today, I've also felt the same revulsion from time to time.

So, I ask myself, what makes this moment different. And I realize it is because throughout my life, even in those moments of realization that the United States was deeply flawed, I felt like there always was, at least someplace at least an aspiration to do right.

There was always some awareness of right and wrong. There was at least a pretense of recognition that there was a higher purpose to the country and its government and throughout all those years, there was progress to offset the misdeeds and the profound flaws in our system.

Obama may have faltered in Syria but he did so for understandable reasons and he did great good elsewhere and his character or his commitment to trying to do what was right was never questioned. There were those surrounding Bush and Cheney who struggled with their missteps.

Bill Clinton was a deeply flawed man but he went into politics to try to make the world a better place, he devoted his life to service, he accomplished much to help promote peace and prosperity. The same could be said of Reagan, Carter, Ford, and even Nixon.

It can't be said of Donald Trump and his inner circle. I look at what is going on in Syria today and I see a US that has switched sides. We are now an active part of the Axis of Evil. We are aligned with dictators and murderers and thieves and enemies of our own country.

We have a president who defends those who attack us--like Russia--and goes further, he serves them. He defends murderers like Mohammed bin Salman in Saudi Arabia and sends him troops--or rents our military out to the highest bidder.

He talks of love letters with brutal autocrats like Kim Jong Un. He embraces neo-fascists from Bolsonaro to Duterte. He joins with men like Putin in attacks on our Intelligence Community and our FBI. He and those close to him are so corrupt...

that the vast army of people in the civil service, the Foreign Service, and others who have devoted their lives to serving our country feel compelled to put their careers at risk to help protect us from our own leaders.

Trump and Pence and Pompeo and Barr and McConnell and McCarthy and Graham and Rubio and the rest piously speak of their devotion to the Bible and God and then spend each and every day revealing that they have a Bible-shaped hole in their characters.

They invoke God not to make themselves or us better, to remind us of higher purpose or virtue, but to cover up their service to themselves, their corruption, their willingness to not just tolerate evil but to embrace it if it serves them and their masters and benefactors.

Our nation has never been perfect. But it was created by men fully aware of our flaws and its greatness--like that of the Constitution that is its foundation--lies in its ability and commitment to perfect itself. Bad leaders were expected by our founders.

But it was always expected the rest of the system could hold them in check and remove them. We are at a juncture now when so much of the government is controlled by this corrupt, dangerous, valueless mob that it is no longer certain that the system will prevail.

When the president has coopted the system of justice in conjunction with his attorney general, when the Senate is led by men who are willing to see the nation falter if they themselves prosper, when the courts are packed with no-nothings and toadies, we are in grave danger.

It is inspiring to see a stirring of resistance among whistleblowers and leaders in the House of Representatives. It is a hopeful sign that some courts are trying to hold the lawlessness and the immorality in check. But it is far from clear they must prevail.

Make no mistake, this is a critical moment in our history. That is not hyperbole, not the temporal narcissism that makes every generation feel they are living at the greatest of all moments to be alive. We will decide in the next few weeks and months whether...

the American experiment succeeds or fails. We will decide, knowing full well of our flaws and failures, whether we are a nation that struggles to better ourselves in spite of those weaknesses or whether we are one that gives in to them and consumed by our worst selves.

While I am hopeful because history shows we have stood up to great challenges before, I am far from certain. This is a moment we all must step up & find ways to make our voices heard & to support those who are in a position to save us from the twisted mob who are now in power.

We must recognize that this is a battle--just as real as any fought on any battlefield--for the soul of the country, for the very ideals on which it was founded. But to win we must not only remove Trump and his thugs from their positions of power and influence...

we must fix what is broken in our system that allowed them to rise. That means addressing the sense of disenfranchisement and inequality that led some to support them. It means we must address racism and corruption head on and deny them the chance to do further damage.

It means we must recognize what is broken in our system--from how we elect officials to cultural flaws that allow the embrace of untruths and attacks on science, history and facts. We must do this by placing aspirations ahead of ambition, inclusion ahead of division...

and hope ahead of fear. We will never be perfect or even what we promote ourselves to be. But we can return to struggling to improve rather than giving in to the temptation to be evil as have our leaders today.

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