War and diplomacy are two of the major issues for a nation’s security and progress. They are connected to each other, even though war is a term of separation and destruction, and diplomacy is a term of international relations. Fineman wisely discussed about the pros and cons of “war and diplomacy” in chapter eleven. He started the chapter by saying that “the roots of the war lay in the garden of the Texas governor’s mansion in Austin” (Fineman 195). He mentioned the place because in November 1999, Governor George W. Bush was sitting in that mansion and talking about the view of the world and history. Fineman described about his (Bush’s) view of foreign policy, by saying that “on foreign policy he was, for the most part, a blank slate” (Fineman 195). The only strategy that Bush followed to develop and protect the nation, was taking the side of war. But the argument over the war and foreign policy is not about whether we should declare a war or make a new alliance. As Fineman says, “it is about why and how we should use government power (military, diplomatic, informational) to protect our way of life and even our conscience” (Fineman 198).
As the nation and the people are protected by the oceans, isolation could be possible in the era of seventeenth and eighteenth century. But the oceans were the open gates to enter in to this land from anywhere in the world. There were no such ways to stop people to enter by the seas. This nation created with the immigrants, seaborne trades and a large number of slaves. According to Fineman, the American Argument of isolation was about whether we should engage with the world but rather why and how to use our resources to protect our interests. Because the American leaders and the people knew that they have to learn and understand the world. The early American leaders spoke of their isolation but did not believe in isolationism; they preached instead, detachment.
The question raises that, “do we need to change the world to survive in it?” (Fineman 198). Fineman says the answer is based on the five forces that he claims to shape our society in fundamental ways. The first force is “the market” which only cares about ready access to materials and customers. The second force is “faith” which divides into secular and religious, urges us to insist on freedom for every soul in the service of democracy and salvation. The third force is “tribes” which are Poles, Germans, Jews, Hispanics, Arabs and others. The fourth one is “science” which tells us that planetary survival depends on new forms of diplomacy. And the last one is “the state” where its goals are survival and the accumulation of bureaucratic power in the twilight of endless war. When these five forces come together, it can result “a military industrial complex,” as Ike warned us. Ike was right because in 2007a congressional analysts scoured the federal budget for everything the government was spending on “defense” was about one trillion dollars.
However, our current president Obama has answered the root question “do we need to change the world to survive in it?” In 2008, Obama has vowed that he will “change the world” even as he urged his supporters to guard against complacency. Obama said on an event in Londonderry, New Hampshire that “we are 19 days away from changing this country. Nineteen days away. But for those who are getting a little cocky. I’ve got two words for you: New Hampshire” ( Londonderry). After winning the presidential election to present time, Obama tried to maintain his given words. Recently he unveiled a major executive action on immigration policy, offering temporary legal status to millions of illegal immigrants; along with an indefinite reprieve from deportation (Washington Post) which is similar to what the Bush administration proposed. To make a point in this act, John Avlon wrote in an article that “the ghost of George W. Bush is haunting President Obama’s immigration-reform push.” War and diplomacy are not only related with each other, but also related with the presidents. In future, we hope for a president, who will make balance in these two terms and take the nation bound to the progress.
Avlon, John. The Daily Beast. Newsweek/Daily Beast. Web. 7 Dec. 2014. <http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/01/31/immigration-reform-proposal-shows-similar-ideas-betweeen-bush-and-obama.html>.
Fineman, Howard. “Chapter Eleven: War and Diplomacy” The Thirteen American Arguments. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2009. 194 – 211. Print.
Londonderry, Toby. “Barack Obama Vows to ‘change the World'” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 17 Oct. 2008. Web. 7 Dec. 2014. <http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/barackobama/3219308/Barack-Obama-vows-to-change-the-world.html>.
“Your Complete Guide to Obama’s Immigration Executive Action.” Washington Post. The Washington Post. Web. 7 Dec. 2014. <http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/11/19/your-complete-guide-to-obamas-immigration-order/>.