January 8, 2019

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Open Board of Directors Meeting

Norton Regional Event Center
1601 E. Third St., Suite 138
San Bernardino, CA 92408


Present:   Deborah Barmack, Peter Barmack, Carole Beswick, Ann Bryan, Rachelle Bussell, Kevin Dyerly, Adam Eventov, Louis Goodwin, Richard Hart, Lowell King, Pam Langford, Bill Lemann, P.T. McEwen, John Mirau, Kevin Pulliam, Thomas Rice, Michael Rivera, Dan Roberts, Kristine Scott, Paul Shimoff, David VanVoorhis, Hassan Webb, and Ray Wolfe.

Guests: Behzad Bizhan, Lisa Cruz, Catherine Prichett, Arnold San Miguel, and Julie Silvio. 

Announcements: 1) Members were encouraged to complete and return the Washington, D.C. reservation form as soon as possible.  The advocacy trip will be March 11, 12, & 13, 2019. 2)  Next week Committees will have an opportunity to meet after the Annual Meeting.  Committees were reminded that issue papers for Washington, D.C. advocacy trip are due January 22, 2019.

M/S/P: Minutes from December 18, 2018

Paul Shimoff Introduced Dr. Graeme Auton, Professor, University of Redlands.

Dr. Auton discussed U.S. foreign policy and the effects of relationships with other countries.

Since the end of the Cold War, it has been widely believed in the West, that the United States should spread liberal democracy across the world.  The intention was to foster an open international economy, protect human rights, promote peace, build institutions and make the world safe for democracy.  Opening NATO’s door to new members, as outlined in Article 10 of the North Atlantic Treaty, was thought to advance that goal.

Russia however considers NATO’s expansion as a buildup of military potential.  Russia views this expansion of the alliance, and the location of its military infrastructure, now geographically close to Russian borders, as a threat to their national security. Having failed to prevent NATO’s enlargement through diplomatic means, Russia is more inclined to consider military intervention to advance Moscow’s aims. Russia’s 2008 war with Georgia and its 2014 intervention in Ukraine are two examples of Russia using military force to, among other objectives, derail any potential for NATO enlargement along its borders.

Relations with Russia and China have soured, the European Union is wobbling, nationalism and populism are on the rise.  The reality is that the United States has ended up as a highly militarized state, fighting wars that undermine peace, harm human rights, and threaten liberal values at home. The United States is stuck in costly and pointless “forever wars” like Iraq and Afghanistan that have cost trillions of dollars and undermined its influence around the world. Our foreign policy of liberal hegemony has been doomed to fail.

Donald Trump won the presidency ,in part promising to end misguided foreign policies and to pursue a wiser approach. But his erratic and impulsive style of governing, combined with a deeply flawed understanding of world politics, is making a bad situation worse.

The best alternative is a return to the realist strategy of “offshore balancing,” which eschews regime change, nation-building, and other forms of global social engineering. The American people would surely welcome a more restrained foreign policy, one that allowed greater attention to problems here at home. This long-overdue shift will require abandoning the futile quest for liberal hegemony and building a foreign policy establishment with a more realistic view of American power.

The process of removing troops in the Middle East will be painful, as promises have been made with Syria and will not be kept.  In Afghanistan, as democracy has not worked out, the Taliban will likely take over when the U.S. withdraws.  The problems in the Middle East contribute to the instability in Europe.

Brexit, driven in part by UK nationalism, will be very difficult to achieve as Prime Minister Theresa May does not have the votes needed to proceed.

Both China and Japan’s dependence on Russia for gas and oil continues to grow as Russia builds new pipelines and delivery systems.

Policy failures with North Korea continued with President’s Bush, Clinton and Obama.  Although mostly a staged photo op, President Trump was and is willing to engage with Kim Jong-un.  Many countries like Germany, Sweden and the UK have diplomatic relations with North Korea and we should too.  Now that North Korea has nuclear capabilities they are viewed as a world power and will not give up this status.  Rather than pressing for de-nuclearization the U.S. should move towards nuclear deterrents.  Sanctions against governments are rarely effective.  If North and South Korea would recognize each other as separate Countries, they could resolve many problems.

A Q & A period followed.
Meeting Adjourned 8:30 a.m.