Foreign policy has switched from party to party not because it’s pandemonium, maybe it’s due to a lack of care in the electorate. Does anyone go to the voting booth and vote with foreign policy in mind? Foreign policy is political, too. It’s not always pragmatic. But foreign policy should be ongoing and a continually updated national conversation piece; not something brings tempers to a boil at the dinner table. As a result, we end up with short-sighted decisions based on emotion, not strategic thought – without asking, what’s next?
It’s within our nature to want to go abroad and fix things for others. When we finally vote, the information is so distorted and confusing. We have serious defensive shortcomings. I think significant thought and effort should be put forward towards cyber warfare in our defense apparatus. In the private sector of life that is – just because you aren’t a government employee does not excuse you from the burden of thinking about these problems in a meaningful way.
There’s a palpable disconnect between foreign policy decision makers and the public. Our security apparatus is filled with individuals immersed in niche and complex problems. As a result, extensive, eclectic data is sent to policy makers who make relatively informed decisions. But a lot of thoughts and ideas that are taken for granted in national security are lost and unknown to the greater public. A more informed public might mean a better-informed Congress and, in turn, fewer narrow-minded and short-sighted funding projects.
According to Foreign Affairs, elites and the public view foreign policy differently. There are too many foreign policy concerns that should inflame voters than I can list. No one is truly an expert across the board. In the arena, everyone is in five feet of water in an enormous pool when it comes to policy makers. It’s the people who are driving research and thought who are creating the data, but it’s invisible to the public eye. Some of it because it is classified, but that’s the finer points of the work, and the rest because no one seems to care. This might be why foreign policy seems not to be uniform between political parties.
Many in the electorate are concerned that the current Democratic nominee is too hawkish, a trait that has characterized the right in recent memory. Many noted this year that the DNC appeared to be the more patriotic between the parties. Some have pointed out that the Democratic presidential platform’s foreign policy has a Republican identity. That represents a pendulum swing, and yet, the party personnel haven’t changed. Perhaps foreign policy is interchangeable because by the end of an election – it doesn’t matter – because most aren’t voting for foreign policy. The severity and depth of the pendulum are up for debate, but swing nonetheless.
Which is a shame because in an increasingly globalized and interwoven international scene foreign policy is arguably the most important function of a modern president. Still, it seems to be used to rally voters and influence others as any issue is when politicized.
Foreign policy only becomes an issue during an election with it’s made into a political issue. Foreign Policy should be a constant and almost casual part of the national debate concerning the American way of life.
Featured image courtesy of www.doomsteaddiner.net.