Why Black America Needs An Independent Foreign Policy
American foreign policy is highly influenced by special interest groups. African Americans should start optimizing their own cultural and political interests at the foreign policy level.
Democrats desperately need the African American vote in 2020 and beyond. This vote shouldn’t come cheaply.
Powerful political, cultural, and financial groups have a history of materially influencing American foreign policy.
For decades, Cuban Americans have intelligently used their voting power in the influential swing state of Florida to express their hatred and opposition to the socialist Castro regime.
Jewish American groups have intelligently used their power and influence to influence American foreign policy in Israel.
Las Vegas billionaire Sheldon Adelson, a supporter of extremist Benjamin Netanyahu, routinely has powerful Washington politicians come kiss his ring. He exchanges political donations for foreign policy influence, particularly policy influence with Israel.
These groups have shown over and over again how to intelligently leverage their passion for their homeland, financial resources, and voting power. They don’t just vote for domestic issues here in the U.S. They also vote for what is in the best interest of their people back home.
When it comes to African Americans, there is no specific homeland, language, or people — largely due to the legacy of slavery.
African Americans don’t have a specific culture or state reference for their own foreign policy.
However, it is better to have a pro-pan-African foreign policy than no foreign policy at all — a policy that is optimized for the African American cultural group specifically.
“When we see that our problem is so complicated and so all-encompassing in its intent and content, then we realize that it is no longer a Negro problem, confined only to the American Negro; that it is no longer an American problem, confined only to America, but it is a problem for humanity.”
— Malcolm X
Increasingly, millions of Europeans within the E.U. have embraced the idea of being politically and culturally “European.” This growing sense of European-ness is in part behind some of the issues causing Brexit.
Many feel African Americans have been catching so much hell in the U.S. that there is little bandwidth and few resources to go beyond domestic battles.
However, this attitude must change. Black America must realize it has limited real power in the U.S. without embracing a strong cultural identity that is connected to a strong pan-African foreign policy.
Either Black America asserts itself on the global stage with its own foreign policy or Black Americans risk the continuation of being controlled by powerful special interest groups that influence America’s relationship with the world.
Let’s look at a few special interest groups that influence Washington’s foreign policy.
Big Oil: Halliburton, Exxon, Chevron, etc. These groups will lobby Washington to lift sanctions on specific countries so they can make more profit, or they may even promote war to open up new markets and partners.
Silicon Valley: In 2013, Balaji Srinivasan, a partner at at the venture-capital company Andreessen Horowitz, claimed Silicon Valley was more powerful than Wall Street and the U.S. government. Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Eric Schmidt and others have used their hard and soft power to mold Washington’s policy as much as possible into their own.
Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes is thought to have been instrumental in Barack Obama’s first election. It is no surprise that under Obama’s administration, Facebook gobbled up more and more internet real estate and promiscuously trampled on consumer privacy.
The Obama administration never lifted its voice on behalf of media companies, consumer, and privacy advocates. There was no curiosity about what it means if two companies control the U.S. advertising market. It is no surprise that Eric Holder is currently getting big checks from two Silicon Valley companies, Uber and Airbnb.
Obama may have been compromised by the power, influence, and a sense of political debt to Silicon Valley.
Margrethe Vestager is now doing the good police work that the compromised U.S. regulators should have been doing. As European commissioner for competition, Vestager regulates commercial activity across the E.U. She fined Google US $2.71 billion as part of the Google Shopping antitrust case.
Wall Street: Depending on where the profitable opportunities are at a given time, bankers will seek to change foreign regulations, immigration policies, or trade agreements based on their priorities. There are many reasons why Goldman Sachs paid Hillary Clinton $675,000 for a series of speeches in 2013. It wasn’t that her words were worth that much. They wanted something, something that could include favorable corporate treatment with whatever foreign policy she developed if she became president.
“If you’re trying to influence government policy on behalf of a corporate sector, it’s not better that you do it for the tech industry than for Goldman,” said Jeff Hauser from the Center for Economic Policy and Research in Washington.
There are many other special interest groups influencing and molding American foreign policy.
Either African Americans can continue to be on the receiving end of what everyone else is doing on behalf of their people (and their pocketbooks here) or start optimizing their own cultural and political interest at the foreign policy level.
Putting a strong pro-African policy on the Democratic Party platform
One place to start is by putting a strong pro-African policy on the Democratic Party platform and forcing the Democratic Party to commit to Africa.
There is no “African American” vote without the “African.” The Democrats desperately need the African American vote in 2020 and beyond and this vote shouldn’t come cheaply.
See how Israel is prioritized compared to the entire continent of Africa in the current DNC platform. After reading about the disparate level of support, you wouldn’t think approximately 40 million Americans have roots in Western Africa.
Here’s an excerpt from the 2016 Democratic Party platform, described by the DNC as its most progressive platform ever and a declaration of how it plans to move America forward:
A strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States because we share overarching strategic interests and the common values of democracy, equality, tolerance, and pluralism. That is why we will always support Israel’s right to defend itself, including by retaining its qualitative military edge, and oppose any effort to delegitimize Israel, including at the United Nations or through the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement.
We will continue to work toward a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict negotiated directly by the parties that guarantees Israel’s future as a secure and democratic Jewish state with recognized borders and provides the Palestinians with independence, sovereignty, and dignity. While Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations, it should remain the capital of Israel, an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths. Israelis deserve security, recognition, and a normal life free from terror and incitement. Palestinians should be free to govern themselves in their own viable state, in peace and dignity.
Africa is home to many of the fastest growing economies in the world. Democrats will strengthen our partnership and collaboration with the African Union, emphasizing trade while increasing development assistance to bolster the continent’s domestic economies. We will engage our African partners on the full range of global challenges and opportunities, and we will continue to strengthen democratic institutions and human rights, fair trade and investment, development, and global health. We will help our African partners improve their capacity to respond to crises and protect citizens, especially women and girls. And we will work to end the reign of terror promulgated by Boko Haram, al-Shabaab, AQIM, and ISIS.
Democrats applaud President Obama’s National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking, and his commitment to preserving the earth’s natural beauty for future generations. Democrats support science-based management of iconic wildlife in Africa, including stronger regulations banning the importation into the United States of hunting trophies that are not supported by current science-based evidence and are related to or funded by non-scientific special interests.
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