“The voting public cannot understand foreign policy, so the electorate cannot hold the government accountable in any meaningful way. That being the situation, what are the incentives for a democratically elected government to conduct a foreign policy beneficial for the nation? Who should hold the government accountable in matters of foreign policy? And how?”
This post is in response to the above and other comments to the previous AMA post. In Prabhu Desai‘s response, he noted that government is an abstraction and not a real entity which has goals and incentives. In reality what we call the government is just a bunch of people, and people have various goals and motivations. The people who constitute the government can be broadly classified as politicians (who are periodically elected) and bureaucrats (who are unelected and enjoy lengthy tenures.)
The politicians, as Prabhu Desai noted, do what they have to do to get re-elected. They may care about the general welfare of the country but that concern comes a distant second to their self-interest. Expecting them to be self-sacrificing for some greater good of the nation is delusional idiocy.
The same goes for the bureaucrats; their first concern is how to expand their budgets and their power over the fiefdoms they ruthlessly rule. Practically nothing they do is ever beneficial and most of the time they inflict immense harm.
Instead of “First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers,” (Shakespeare in Henry IV) it should have been “first thing we do, let’s kill all the bureaucrats.”
By the by, do watch Yes, Minister and Yes, Prime Minister to get a pretty good picture of how government bureaucracies work.
Democracy is the other great delusion suffered by a fairly large proportion of humanity. People think that because they get to vote, somehow they are in control of the government and therefore the government (remember what that word actually means) is accountable to the people.
I cannot resist quoting the inimitable H.L. Mencken: “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”
Getting back to the point: what can the voting public do to motivate the government choose good foreign policy? Nothing other than hope and pray that when sh*t hits the fan, the fallout is not catastrophic. Americans have generally paid trillions for the government’s foreign policy. The military misadventures were made possible by the military-industrial complex. Warmongering appears to be the top priority of both American political parties. A plague on both the houses. Moving on.
“What explains widespread love for Russia in India and hate for US? I have heard so many Indian commentators who favor Russia in this ongoing conflict. It boggles the mind!!”
Envy of the rich and successful is a common human failing. The US is rich and powerful. That makes it a target of envy and hate.
I understand that the US favored Pakistan in India’s wars with Pakistan. But India (note: India is an abstraction and does not have goals and motivations; only the people who control India do) rejected the US first and therefore pushed it to favor Pakistan. Nehru and his idiotic non-alignment nonsense. He and Indira were really retarded.
Despite all that, the US saved India’s sorry ass when Indians were on the verge of starvation. Search “India PL-480” and go read about the Food for Peace program.
“The Food for Peace program of the United States has provided food assistance around the world for more than 60 years. Approximately 3 billion people in 150 countries have benefited directly from U.S. food assistance.”
“There seems to be a co-ordinated worldwide push for CBDCs, while demonising bitcoin – an incorruptible free market money.
“In a time of nonstop psy-ops on the masses aided by internet mass media platforms, do you see a tipping point when the central planner’s narratives crumble and the price signals in the market ushers in a mass non compliance?”
I have been a big fan of private currency and of course now that the technology is mature for cryptocurrencies, I favor them. But I think Bitcoin is a Ponzi scheme that will eventually collapse. It will end badly for most people except those who got in early and bailed out before the end.
Central bank digital currency is bound to happen. I would guess in less than 10 years. Will central banks and central planners give up their game and will there be massive “non-compliance”? Nope. People are sheep. They dutifully go to their slaughter.
The government is ultimately a reflection of the soul of the people. If the people are morally and ethically weak, they will suffer morally and ethically bad governments.
 This quote about killing all the lawyers is generally misunderstood because the context is missing.
“One of the most misunderstood literary phrases of all time came from Shakespeare’s “Henry VI.” Shakespeare’s character, Dick the Butcher, was a follower of Jack Cade. Cade was the head of an army of rabble who wanted to overthrow the British government so Cade would become king. Dick said to Jack Cade, “First thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” Cade agreed.
“At first glance, those words might seem to reflect today’s popular sentiment since lawyer bashing seems to be common sport, except when one needs a lawyer. Yet, Shakespeare was actually giving a great compliment to a profession that is the front line defense of democracy and the protector of our individual rights. Cade and Dick knew that only if they killed all the lawyers, they could destroy the law and impose their own will on the people.” [Source.]
 I may as well go the whole hog and quote more Mencken.
- Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.
- A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.
- A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground.
- Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.
- Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses.
- Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.
- Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.
- Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.
- If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.
- The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.
- As democracy is perfected, the office of the president (Ed: replace prime minister, in India’s case) represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. We move toward a lofty ideal. On some great and glorious day, the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House (Ed: replace 12 Race Course Road, in India’s case) will be adorned by a downright moron.