Nicolas J S Davies

A collection of published articles and letters to policymakers regarding the crisis in United States foreign policy by Nicolas J S Davies.

Location: North Miami, Florida, United States

Saturday, January 04, 2003

Letter of Introduction to Congressman Meek

The Hon. Kendrick Meek
1039 Longworth House Office Building
Washington DC 20515

Saturday, January 4th, 2003

Dear Kendrick,

Congratulations on your election to Congress! You have represented us so well in Tallahassee that I am sure you will accomplish great things for us and for our country in Washington. I am a naturalized American; I was born in Sri Lanka when my father was a doctor in the British Royal Navy, and I grew up mostly in the U.K. My wife, Debby, and I have lived in Miami since 1979 and raised our family here. I am very concerned about the overall direction of U.S. foreign policy and I have exchanged letters with your mother about these concerns, and this letter is essentially a reprint of one of the last letters I sent her before her retirement.

I would like to express some thoughts on the broad question of U.S. national security in the post-cold war world. I believe it is time for all of us in this country, and, by default, Democrats in particular, to start to re-examine the primarily military definition of national security that currently predominates. After September 11th, President Bush’s initial military response was at least minimally appropriate, and did succeed in destroying the Al Quaeda camps in Afghanistan. However, the continuation of his aggressive military foreign policy is undermining the most basic foundation of the security of our nation, which is the respect and goodwill of ordinary people all over the world.

While we are spending $400 billion per year on defense, we spend less than $10 billion on non-military foreign aid. No objective person could look at this and conclude that our goals are genuinely altruistic. The end of the Cold War presented us with an opportunity to work towards disarmament and peace, and we instead set out to make our country into an impregnable fortress, protected by unchallengeable military superiority and high-tech weapons. This policy was driven by our own insecurity and by a vested interest in our Cold War defense infrastructure, and it was understandable and hopefully forgivable, but it is time to admit that we have not succeeded and that this policy is morally and practically flawed.

The realistic successful outcome of our present policy would be a world armed to the teeth and always on the brink of war, with actual wars breaking out frequently and unpredictably and with ever-increasing technological ferocity. And we would be responsible for much of this violence; we sell more weapons to developing countries than all of our competitors combined, we promote their use by our own reliance on military force, and we have undermined all international efforts to place limits on the arms trade. The notion that our country can remain safe and untouched by the destructive forces we unleash on the rest of the world is morally bankrupt, besides being simply foolish. If it were not Al Quaeda, someone else would make the point. Ultimately, we are on a collision course with the entire international community, who will sooner or later have the economic leverage to demand that we change our behavior. But even if we could succeed in such a Faustian policy, is this really the world we want?

I believe that this entire policy has been morally flawed from its inception in the first Bush administration and that its practical flaws are now becoming apparent. I also believe that it is not too late to formulate a new policy that leads our country and the world towards real peace and gradual disarmament through mutual understanding and multilateralism. People all over the world have always respected and supported our country whenever it has stood up for the best in human nature, from its founding on that very principle to its stand against twentieth century totalitarianism. It is time for us to take another stand.

To translate this commitment into actual policy, we must commit ourselves to working with the international community on a wide range of issues; aid to the developing world; the International Criminal Court; weapons proliferation and disarmament; fair trade practices; the Middle East and other regional crises; as well as terrorism, whose root causes would finally be addressed by such policies. The domestic political and economic interests that would initially resist such a change would ultimately benefit from the “peace dividend” (remember the 90’s?). Our government could turn its attention and its resources to the needs of our people (such as health-care), and our companies could expand their business in a more peaceful and prosperous world.

Is it only a dream? That’s up to you and your colleagues in the Democratic Party.

Yours sincerely


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