excellent decision on Libya

The U.S. State Department evacuated its embassy in Libya and recommended all American citizens leave the country following clashes between militias near its offices in Tripoli.

Finally a smart foreign policy decision from the State Department. The downside is that Neo-cons will not have someone to blame for US losses such as those in Benghazi. Those deaths were not a result of “the administration’s” bungling a defense of Americans overseas. They were because Stevens and the others were there; plain and simple. Would we blame a drowning on someone’s failure to throw a life preserver when someone else pushed the victim into the water, knowing they could not swim?

In the age of instant communication there is no reason for any embassies. There is no reason for Americans to be saddled with the responsibility of protecting Americans abroad. They should do it on their own dime if they choose to go there so our Defense Department can defend Americans within its jurisdiction and do it well.

Here’s the story on Libya today: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-07-26/u-s-evacuates-embassy-staff-in-libya-to-tunisia-due-to-violence.html

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9 responses to “excellent decision on Libya

  1. At the time of Benghazi attack, that was the location of a U.S. “diplomatic compound,” not a U.S. Embassy. The U.S. Embassy was in Tripoli, as it is now. I don’t recall an attack on the official Tripoli U.S. Embassy, even though there were U.S. citizens, aka “people,” there, do you? The people killed in Benghazi were there to conduct a bit of covert and dastardly shenanigans, like illegally brokering arms sales to the rebels in Syria.

    I think embassies in foreign countries, theoretically, serve a useful purpose. For example, not all foreign countries have the communication technology on a par with the United States. Thus, whether you’ve lost your passport, need to evacuate the country, or someone back in the U.S. needs to get in touch with you, a U.S. Embassy will be your best point of contact for assistance in many different situations. Or, during an in-country natural disaster, political upheaval, or other emergency, consular officers can assist American citizens with transportation, evacuation, and generally keeping them safe. And if one gets him-herself into serious legal, medical, or financial trouble, the U.S. Embassy has a variety of services available. Help is also provided in areas such as health emergencies, medication needs, arrests, deaths, missing persons, notarizing documents, crimes against American citizens, etc.; the types of issues, or situations, in which a phone call, a cryptic hashtag message, an email, or a Skype communication won’t be of much value.

    I do think there is an argument that can be made as to the legitimacy and wisdom of an embassy being a front for clandestine activities in the foreign country in which it is located; where intelligence agency operatives disguise themselves as diplomatic bureaucrats and engage in furtive, and likely illicit or locally illegal, behavior. Agencies like the CIA, the DIA, the NSA, etc. don’t appear to do much good anyway, especially in adversarial countries, like those in the Middle East, where the ability to gather human intelligence is a quite rare outcome of any spying endeavors.

    Otherwise, I think, if utilized in the best interests of American visitors and/or ex-patriots living in the foreign country, I see more benefits than downsides to U.S. Embassy activities.

    • I remember when I’d had enough of the stupid Libertarian Party. They added to their platform the US gov. was responsible for the safety of Americans abroad. What does that have to do with individual rights? The same thing as a right to healthcare, education and lumber grading. Nothing.

      We went to Dumont tonight to visit a dying friend. As I drove I thought of these benefits of embassies. The benefits are to the users of the service. Travelers, businessmen ect. So to exclude those who don’t use the service I thought, how about a tax on passports to fund an embassy system? I’ll stay home and spend the extra money on beer.

      On Sun, Jul 27, 2014 at 12:50 PM, alternativebyfritz wrote:

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      • Gee. I thought libertarians were absolutely against increases in taxes and certainly against any new taxes. What would a tax on passports accomplish? More revenue to encourage illegal immigration of so-called “refugee” children? Passports are valid for a ten-year period. How much of a tax would there have to be to discourage travel out of the country, given a passport’s longevity?

        And the likelihood is that only a tiny percentage of travelers ever have a need to use the services offered by a U.S. Embassy. But, not mentioned in my earlier comment, and probably most important of all of an embassy’s activities, is the fact that U.S. Embassies assist in facilitating the efficient flow of commerce to-and-from the United States and other countries. This is also one of the few justified uses of a national military, beyond defending the country from attack and protecting a country’s borders (ha! ha!), that is, safeguarding a country’s productive flow of commerce.

        Before we close embassies, which engage in activities that can often provide beneficial services, let’s close all of the U.S. military bases in other countries around the world and stop the recurring foreign aid payments that seldom reach the intended recipients.

      • The tax I propose would fund the embassies directly and general revenue funds would be returned to citizens who prefer to stay in Iowa and Arizona. If the passport tax cost travelers too much they should stay home. I’m not interested in discouraging or encouraging travel with tax bait. Taxes shouldn’t be used to direct activity, only to fund the things necessary for that activity. And I f I choose not to participate I shouldn’t have to fund it. As far as facilitating commerce, those who do it should fund that too. If it costs too much to pass on to consumers without public funding then it costs too much to do. On your last paragraph, I’m with you there. Do it all in any order you like. Just so you do it all. The far reaching consequences, less enemies, more domestic capital, more able workers and consumers would compound the wealth created with the initial reduction in government.

        On Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 12:10 PM, alternativebyfritz wrote:

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  2. You missed another reason why the embassies are not needed. If a country wants U$ to vi$it, they will make sure we are safe. And we don’t need foreign military
    bases – a couple carrier groups in an area makes a perfect mobile base.
    The third step we should take is drop out of the UN, “invite” it to leave our land, and sell the current UN facilities to reduce the debt. Probably have to have Terminix debug it first.

    • I think I mentioned that closing the U.S. military foreign bases would be a good thing. But what do U.S. Embassies have to do with the military bases? It isn’t in a job description of an embassy to keep U.S. visitors or ex-patriots safe. The embassy is there to act after-the-fact, when a traveler is already in trouble or in need of assistance. Nor, for that matter, are U.S. military bases in foreign countries there to protect U.S. visitors, businesses, or U.S. citizens living in the country. In fact, there really is no defensible need for the great majority of U.S. military bases in foreign countries.

      Stop the useless clandestine (CIA, DIA, NSA, etc.) activities of U.S. Embassies and the services they provide to ex-patriots and U.S. visitors in need, and the benefits in facilitating the flow of commerce between the U.S. and the specific country combine to outweigh any downsides related to U.S. Embassies. How the costs to build and maintain an active embassy are financed is for a separate discussion or debate.

      • You mean a US company representative can’t negotiate deals abroad without going through an embassy?

        On Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 9:18 AM, alternativebyfritz wrote:

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      • No, that’s not what I wrote. “Facilitate” means to assist, if needed. Of course not all foreign business partnerships or joint ventures need an embassy to assist in the business relationship. But an embassy’s staff should know the culture and language of the locale and could aid in bridging, or helping to avoid, some looming pitfalls of a burgeoning relationship. They aren’t a necessity, but more of an assist. How a U.S. embassy in a foreign country is financed is another, separate discussion topic.

        For example, for three years, I was on a task force for General Foods wherein the company wanted to develop partnerships, or joint ventures, in Taiwan, Mainland China, Singapore and Hong Kong. We toured many food manufacturing operations and talked with many company (so called) “principals,” but never were able to put together a deal. The biggest reason was that the Chinese (including the ROC and Singapore businesses) typically make business side deals that are honored with only a handshake — nothing about the agreement, or arrangement, is documented. This was such a prevalent method utilized by a business that needed to borrow money or form a strategic alliance that General Foods just couldn’t ever discover all the rocks that needed to be turned-over to discover who the “silent” principals might be and how many might exist. Had General Foods, perhaps, had a U.S. Embassy or Consulate from which to obtain some direction, a lot of travel expense might have been avoided.

      • A lot of travel expense could have been shifted to US taxpayers. And the work done by government employees. There might be exceptions; we are isolated here, but government employees are never my first choice. The Franklin County road crew is my primary example.

        On Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 8:36 AM, alternativebyfritz wrote:

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