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Foreign Policy Issues Don't Belong in Expenditure Bills, Not Even Defense Bills

Political infighting over foreign policy has slowed a defense bill that includes pay raises for troops and money for military construction, ships and aircraft.
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Defense Bill's Main Obstacle

The WSJ reports Defense Bill Slowed by Fights Over Uyghur, Nord Stream 2 Policy Amendments.

An annual defense-policy bill that typically passes Congress with broad bipartisan support has been slowed in the Senate by a handful of controversial policy issues regarding Russia and China, as well as the pressures of the year-end Senate calendar.


  • Sen. Jim Risch (R., Idaho) added a sanction against the owner of Nord Stream 2, a pipeline built to deliver Russian natural gas to Germany 
  • Sen. Bob Menendez (D., N.J.) also filed a Russia-sanctions amendment for the NDAA. His would allow the president to sanction Nord Stream 2 AG only if Russia initiates an invasion or overthrow of Ukraine.
  • Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) that language from the bipartisan Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act be added to the NDAA. That bill aims to ensure that products made by the forced labor of Uyghur Muslims, and others, in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, don’t enter the U.S. market.

Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act

Senate Democratic leaders don’t object to the substance of the Rubio amendment, but say that the language in the NDAA would violate the constitutional requirement that revenue measures originate in the House, not the Senate. 

I would like to see the exact wording because the amendment appears to have nothing to do with revenue. 

That's not the key issue anyway.

Nord Stream 2

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is completely finished despite Trump sanctions. Trump managed to delay not defeat the pipeline. 

In the process, Russian workers not EU workers completed the project, to the benefit of Russia.

The fundamental problem is that Nord Stream is an EU issue. The US has no business meddling. 

It is only because of the SWIFT payment system of routing money that the US can get away with such nonsense.

Once there is an easy way around the current payment system (hint central bank digital currencies), US ability to globally set sanctions will end, and that will be a good thing. 

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Should We Accept There are Problems in the World the US Cannot Solve?

On November 19, I asked Should We Accept There are Problems in the World the US Cannot Solve?

Failure to correctly answer that question led to the US losing two wars. The first was Vietnam, the second in Afghanistan.

Neither was our issue and ultimately US voters turned against each war.

But problems go far beyond absurd wars based on lies.

Trump placed sanctions on Russia and European companies over Nord Stream 2. The result was that Nord Stream was completed anyway, by Russia with help from Merkel.

If Germany wants to cut a deal with Russia over natural gas, that's their call, not ours. 

Whose battle is it?

Trump threatened to cut funding for NATO. He also said he would pull all troops from Afghanistan. 

He should have. But he was all talk and no show. 

We made a mess in the Ukraine by foolishly attempting to convert it into a NATO country.

The wars in Vietnam and Afghanistan speak for themselves. ISIS was a direct result of a foolish attack on Iraq.

None of this meddling ever did the US any good. 

Correct Focus

Whether a problem is solvable or not is actually not the correct focus.

Let's state the issue in correct terms.

The EU and the US both need to admit there are problems beyond their control in which meddling is likely to make matters worse.

For starters, the US cannot afford to be the world's policeman and should not even try.

The answers are obvious but don't expect anyone to listen.

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