Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Returning to Old Question: Dumbest Decision in US Foreign Policy

While blogging today and thinking about the twitterfight club, I was thinking about running a tourney here at the Spew: Dumbest Decision in US Foreign Policy.  I have posted before about this topic while spewing about the decision to disband the Iraq military and got a few good suggestions:
  • The invasion of Iraq itself
  • The conduct of the Korean war--approaching the Chinese border
  • Not joining the League of Nations
  • Arms control in the 1970's
  • Sending too few troops to Iraq
Right now, I would like to take additional nominees.  The key here is dumbest (unless enough respondents really want to do the worst decision), which means the decision that the knowledge of the time would have suggested was a bad idea.   A gamble is not necessarily dumb in the sense that playing the odds can be a decent idea if one knows and appreciates that there is an upside and a downside and the relatively probabilities of each.  A dumb policy is one that goes against existing understandings of efficacy/efficiency/etc.

If I can get enough ideas, I will put together a bracket and then run a tourney.  If not, well, I will declare the disbanding of the Iraqi military as the winner.  Up to you, the readers.


Steve Saideman said...

Steve Metz (!/steven_metz/) has tweeted a bunch of suggestions, including: supporting the Shah, how we got out of Vietnam, not resolving our addiction to oil, Karzai, Pakistan, drug war. What say you?

LB said...

Forbidding the military from giving air support to South Vietnam in 1975 was pretty dumb.

Chris C. said...

Couple from the Reagan years: Iran-Contra (if you count that as a FP decision) and leaving the Marines sitting ducks in Lebanon.

Earlier, you could point to declaring war on Britain in the War of 1812, trying to capture Quebec in the American Revolution, the Ostend Manifesto, and the Aguinaldo conflict in the Philippines.

Out of all of those, I'd probably take the War of 1812. New nations should not declare wars on world superpowers that are fully armed and mobilized for war.