The House impeachment hearings spotlighted a major problem with America's foreign policy: Bureaucrats believe they are in charge.
A string of them testified that President Donald Trump's actions have been contrary to U.S. foreign policy. They should have been grilled about who decides what that means.
Under our Constitution, authority over foreign policy is split between the president and the Congress.
Presidents appoint our ambassadors and extend formal recognition to countries by receiving their ambassadors. They negotiate treaties and enter into less-binding agreements which are not ratified by the Senate.
Even beyond the power to declare war, Congress has the power to "define and punish . . . offenses against the law of nations."
So why did the recent testimony of those foreign policy insiders — the bureaucrats — never point out that our Constitution puts elected officials in charge of foreign policy? In a word, it is because the foreign policy establishment is globalist. They consider themselves the true experts and dislike having foreign policy made by their inferiors, such as presidents and members of Congress.
This establishment, centered around the State Department, National Security Council, and intelligence community are the deepest of the deep state. They seek guidance from international bodies. Our State Department's website promotes the creation of NGO's (Non-Government Organizations) by the hundreds, often controlled by foreign interests, to influence American policy. (So why did impeachment hearings condemn the Trump administration for working through non-official channels?)
Often the foreign policy promoted by NGO's is endorsed by bureaucrats as the authority on what America's actions "should" be. The impact is that globalism is being promoted and constitutionalism (which is inherently nationalist) is being derided.
A recent example is the joining of former Obama officials and international NGO's to create the "Transatlantic Democracy Working Group" (TDWG) to denounce what it labels as the "backsliding" of democracy due to Trump's populist policies and due to the rise of European populism, which are both a backlash against open borders and unfettered immigration. Populists are thorns in the side of the European Union and its Brussels-centered workings. That leads TDWG to heap condemnation on Central Europe, which often challenges the EU's attempts to dictate to their governments.
It should surprise no one that TDWG has multiple connections with leftist multi-billionaire George Soros, nor that TDWG is making Hungary its major target of criticism. Instead of accepting that Soros is not beyond criticism, TDWG falsely equates anti-Soros opinion with being anti-Semitic. Opposition to his globalist and open border efforts is mislabeled as "authoritarian resurgence" and "backsliding" in commitment to democracy.
The head of TDWG, former Obama official Susan Corke, lambasted Hungary and its prime minister, Viktor Orban, in November testimony to a House subcommittee. She claimed that Central European governments (which challenge the EU) are "encouraged and supported by the Kremlin" and that Hungary "is no longer a democracy" but is an Orban-led autocracy. This claim that democracy is dead would surprise residents of Budapest, one of 11 Hungarian cities which this fall elected Orban's opponents into control of local government.
TDWG's real beef is with the people of Hungary and other countries which dislike the authoritarianism of the EU and the flood of illegal immigration which is changing the politics and culture of Europe. TDWG-linked articles are popping up in many media, echoing similar overblown claims against Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, and even Slovenia (birthplace of first lady Melania Trump).
We once spoke approvingly of a people's right to "self-determination." But that goal of self-determination today is wrongly condemned as nationalist (as if that word were the same as fascist) instead of recognizing that nationalism properly understood is simply the love for your country and its values, including the value of democracy.
Countries which threw off the yoke of communism and brought down the Iron Curtain deserve appreciation. Hungary (where my father's parents were born) was the first country which did so. Its people and leaders have no desire to return to being satellite states of Russia nor of the European Union.
Rather than name-calling and false accusations, advocates of globalism, open borders, United Nations taxing policy, or one-world government should present their visions openly. Personal attacks that falsely accuse foreign leaders of aspiring to be dictators are no better than false accusations against Trump or any other American leader.
Ernest Istook says he's "in recovery" from serving 14 years as a U.S. Congressman from Oklahoma and 25 years overall in public office. Istook now teaches political science at Utah Valley University, the largest college in that state. Istook was a Distinguished Fellow at The Heritage Foundation and a Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics. He also is founder and president of Americans for Less Regulation. Istook’s breadth of insights and experience include government spending, regulations, religious freedom, transportation, national defense, homeland security, healthcare, and everything in-between. Many of his abundant writings are available at his website, www.istook.com, and Istook holds a journalism degree from Baylor University and a law degree from Oklahoma City University. He is admitted to practice law in Oklahoma, Utah, the U.S. Supreme Court, and multiple other federal courts. He and his wife Judy have five children and 14 grandchildren. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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