Thursday, September 26, 2013

ObamaCare: Good Foreign Policy

Yes, I know, what does The Affordable Care Act possibly have to do with foreign policy?

In the sense that a substantial amount of foreign policy is involved with projecting a good image to the rest of the people of the world, it has a lot to do with it.

Remember that our reputation has in general been severely stained and strained over the past decade or so (see e.g. Decline of U.S. Reputation - Why?, U.S. Scholars & Statesmen Reap Scorn, and Ye Olde Gunboat Diplomacy Rides Again).

Think about the reality that the U.S.A. was the only major nation to not have some form of public health care:
Germany has the world's oldest national social health insurance system, with origins dating back to Otto von Bismarck's social legislation, which included the Health Insurance Bill of 1883, Accident Insurance Bill of 1884, and Old Age and Disability Insurance Bill of 1889. In Britain, the National Insurance Act 1911 included national social health insurance for primary care (not specialist or hospital care), initially for about one third of the population—employed working class wage earners, but not their dependents. This system of health insurance continued in force until the creation of the National Health Service in 1948 which created a universal service, funded out of general taxation rather than on an insurance basis, and providing health services to all legal residents. Most other countries' national health insurance systems were implemented in the period following the Second World War as a process of deliberate healthcare reform, intended to make health care affordable to all, in the spirit of Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 by nations which had adopted the declaration as signatories. The US did not ratify the social and economic rights sections, including Article 25's right to health.
(Wikipedia, emphasis added). Think about the raised eyebrows that policy causes when we pontificate at The United Nations ("I believe America is exceptional") that our form of government is exceptional because it is "of the people, by the people, and for the people" (i.e. for the public good).

Think about very recent events where Britain, our number one pal and partner in our war-infested misadventures of recent history, could not resist the public outcry over there against our planned bombing of Syria.

They publicly and loudly declined to join us in our senseless gunboat diplomacy (Syria War “Coalition” Dissolves).

Think about the snubbing and worldwide disgust exhibited towards us when it was revealed that our military NSA was snooping on the privacy of the rest of the world, and on our own citizens too:
It's worth remembering that as the US and UK run around the world protesting the hacking activities of others and warning of the dangers of cyber-attacks, that duo is one of the most aggressive and malicious, if not the most aggressive and malicious, perpetrators of those attacks of anyone on the planet. As Slate's Ryan Gallagher put it in a typically excellent analysis of this report:
"The disclosures are yet another illustration of the extremely aggressive scope of the clandestine spy operations that have been conducted by ... the United States. Infiltration of computer networks is usually more commonly associated with Russian and Chinese government hackers, but the ... Americans are at it, too, even targeting their own allies' communications. The surveillance tactics appear to have few limits, and while government officials have played up the necessity of the spying for counter-terrorism, it is evident that the snooping is often highly political in nature."
Nobody hacks as prolifically and aggressively as the two countries who most vocally warn of the dangers of hacking.
(Greenwald @Guardian; see also ACLU vs. Clapper). And don't forget that the president of a nation of over 201 million people, Brazil, canceled a state visit to the U.S. because of that illegal spying.

Later, during a recent speech at the United Nations, the Brazilian president even condemned U.S. spying on other democracies (Brazilian President Calls U.S. Spying 'Meddling').

So, in that context ObamaCare is positive for our national image in the world today, as is our new-found participation in diplomacy and United Nations activities.

We should continue such policies for our reputation's sake if nothing else.

The next post in this series is here.

1 comment:

  1. The poverty and inequality of opportunity in the U.S.A. is also very obvious to the rest of the world. Link