The Year in Review – A Letter from Bob Henschen, FPA President

Foreign Policy Alliance, Inc.
P.O. Box 66234
Houston, Texas 77266-6234
832-495-4372, 832-369-0521 [fax]

Dear Friend of the Foreign Policy Alliance,

As we approach the new year, I’d like to review what the Foreign Policy Alliance has achieved in 2017 as we contemplate future goals.

But before I get into details, let me mention that what we have accomplished has been through a 100% volunteer effort working with a very small budget derived solely from the contributions of our most active supporters.

Please consider adding your financial support either online (click here) or by mail (please make your check payable to Foreign Policy Alliance, Inc., and mail it to our treasurer, Allan Vogel, at P.O. Box 25043, Houston, Texas 77265-5043).

With the Foreign Policy Alliance, we are developing a truly unique coalition of Democrats, Republicans, Conservatives, Liberals, Independents, Greens, and Libertarians, who realize that working together toward a common goal gives us the best opportunity to achieve a more realistic and more effective foreign policy for our country.

Here is a summary of some of the progress we have made this year in building that coalition and spreading our message.

ORGANIZATIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN 2017

Our board and steering committee has been meeting on a monthly basis for planning and organizing.  Our major achievements are:

  • The Foreign Policy Alliance is now incorporated as a non-profit in Texas;
  • We have elected our initial Board of Directors;
  • We have filed our application for federal 501(c)3 status;
  • We have enlarged and improved our website; and
  • We have produced a full-color organizational brochure.

PROGRAM DEVELOPMENT IN 2017

Our volunteers have been actively bringing our message to the general public through a variety of programs, including:

  • Our first speaker event featuring Dr. Lloyd Dumas from UT-Dallas was held at the University of St. Thomas in conjunction with the Center for International Studies;
  • We made presentations at all six campuses of Lone Star College;
  • Presentations were also made to the Rotary Club of Hermann Park, Great Decisions of West University, Bellaire-Braeswood Democrats, Covenant Baptist Church, and Belmont Village of Hunters Creek;
  • We made several radio and television appearances on KPFT FM 90 and Houston Media Source TV.
  • We assisted Zachary Neeley in publishing his op-ed on the US role in the Middle East in the Houston Chronicle (click here to view it) and the Foundation for Economic Education (click here to view it), and in being interviewed on KPFT FM 90;
  • The Foundation for Economic Education published an op-ed on North Korea authored by FPA Board member Allan Vogel (click here to view it);
  • The FPA brochure, including our Resolution, was sent by first-class mail to all members of Congress;
  • The FPA Resolution received endorsements from the National Republican Liberty Caucus, the National Libertarian Party, and the Green Party of Harris County;
  • The FPA Resolution received endorsements (in 2016 and 2017) from prominent academics including Dr. Gordon Adams, Colonel Andrew Bacevich, Dr. Elizabeth Cobbs, Dr. Jon Dorschner, Dr. Lloyd Dumas, Dr. Ivan Eland, Dr. Jacob Hornberger, Dr. Jason Sorens, Dr. David Vine, and Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson; and
  • The FPA Resolution received endorsements (in 2016 and 2017) from a total of 21 Senatorial and Congressional candidates, which included five Democrats, three Republicans, four Greens, six Libertarians, and three Independents.

I think you will agree that the Foreign Policy Alliance has made solid progress during the last year for a volunteer organization with very little funding.

We hope that you will give us the financial support we need to take this grass roots movement to new levels in 2018.  Now that we have laid the organizational framework, we can continue our outreach to the general public through presentations and media appearances and writing, and to the numerous political candidates who will be running for House and Senate seats in the 2018 elections.

Here are some ways you can help us develop a new consensus on American foreign policy:

  • Make a generous donation today at our website or by mail;
  • If you haven’t done so yet, you can endorse the FPA Resolution on our website;
  • Call and write and/or visit your two Senators and your Congressman and ask for their support; and
  • Ask for endorsements from family, friends, neighbors, and civic and business organizations.

Thank you in advance for your generous support.  And best wishes for a happy and safe 2018.

Sincerely,

Bob Henschen, President

FPA event attracts diverse audience at University of St. Thomas

Thanks to everyone who attended the Foreign Policy Alliance’s first public event on October 19, “Keeping the Peace Without Threatening War,” as well as our co-sponsor, the Center for International Studies at the University of St. Thomas.  Seventy people, including many students, listened to an insightful talk by Dr. Lloyd J. Dumas (UT-Dallas) on the advantages of constructing national security policy around economic relationships rather than military force.  Following the lecture, members of the audience engaged in a spirited Q&A with Professor Dumas for about an hour.  You can follow up further on this innovative foreign policy approach by clicking here to order his book, The Peacekeeping Economy (Yale University Press, 2011).

FPA’s Zach Neeley will be on KPFT, 90.1, this Thursday, July 27

Zach Neeley, the Strake Jesuit graduate and FPA Steering Committee member, will be interviewed by host Wally James on the Progressive Forum show this Thursday, 7 PM, on KPFT, 90.1 FM (listen online at http://kpft.org/listen).  He wrote a powerful op-ed in the Houston Chronicle recently, “US conflicts don’t stay abroad, they hit close to home,” questioning US military action in the Middle East in response to the killing of three US Green Berets last November, including an alumnus of Zach’s high school, Staff Sgt. James Moriarty, Jr.

U.S. conflicts don’t stay abroad; they hit close to home

By Zachary Neeley | July 8, 2017

One morning last November while I was in homeroom, there was an announcement over the intercom unlike any I had ever heard before – one of my high school’s graduates had just been killed in Jordan. His name: Staff Sgt. James Moriarty, an Army Green Beret serving in Jordan, and a 2007 graduate of Strake Jesuit College Preparatory.

When I heard the news of Sgt. Moriarty’s death, I was numb. It was not the first time I had heard about American soldiers dying in the Middle East; thousands of Americans have died there in the past 16 years. But even though I had never met or heard of him before, just a few years ago he had studied in the same classrooms, walked in the same hallways, perhaps had some of the same teachers.

I don’t know why, but Sgt. Moriarty’s death piqued my interest, so I did some research about his death. I was surprised at what I found, but I was also moved to reflect more deeply on what his death – and the deaths of so many other American soldiers – means to us back here at home.

Sgt. Moriarty and his team, stationed in Jordan, were on their way back from training a group of Syrian rebels when they were stopped in front of their base by a Jordanian soldier, 1st Sgt. Marik al-Tuwayha. Tragically, as news reports have confirmed, al-Tuwayha did not follow proper rules of engagement and opened fire on the American soldiers. Two died quickly, while Sgt. Moriarty returned fire before being gunned down as well. Al-Tuwayha was shot by the fourth American soldier, but survived.

Early reports of the incident suggested that it was an accident; the Jordanian government initially described it as a “tragic misunderstanding.” Then it was considered a potential act of terrorism. But an investigation of al-Tuwayha found no links to terrorism. In an abrupt change to the months of defending their soldier, Jordanian officials in April announced al-Tuwayha would be tried in a military court. Hearings on murder charges took place last week, according to a Washington Post report, and are set to continue Monday. Al-Tuwayha has pleaded not guilty.

We may never know with certainty just what precipitated the incident that took the lives of Sgt. Moriarty and his fellow soldiers. But a bigger question looms for us all: Why were they there in the first place?

According to news reports, they were part of a CIA program training Syrian rebels to fight against both the Syrian government and terrorist groups. After several years of training rebels to fight in a conflict that does not affect us, we are still involved there – apparently with no end in sight.

Our involvement in the Syrian civil war has been a puzzling situation. We have poured billions of dollars into funding rebel groups, but some of these rebels have aligned themselves with terror groups the U.S. is trying to defeat. At the same time, the Russians, aligned with the Syrian government, are reportedly attacking the U.S.-backed rebel groups.

The complex entanglement of alliances and factions involved in Syria, and the Middle East in general, makes it too easy for unfortunate incidents to occur, such as the one that took Sgt. Moriarty’s life.

And so I ask: Do those who call for continued U.S. military action in the Middle East fully understand the quagmire which we are sinking deeper into? They should see our troops as people, not tools to advance a political agenda. Every American soldier who dies in the Middle East is one more son, daughter, parent or sibling who doesn’t return home; one more family with one less person to share memories and spend holidays with; one more headstone standing prematurely in a graveyard among thousands for the same tragic reason.

I believe we need to ask some serious questions about U.S. foreign policy, which has created more instability and less safety in the world:

Why is it that we Americans must spend our blood and our money to police the world?

Why doesn’t our government place more emphasis on diplomacy first?

Why do we spend more than a quarter of the federal budget on war?

Why do we have to sacrifice our civil liberties for a foreign policy that does not make us any safer?

The tragic death of my fellow alumnus, Sgt. James Moriarty, is one more example of the growing human cost of the questionable wars we fight. Isn’t it time that we start debating why our government continues to involve us in endless war?

Neeley, a 2017 graduate of Strake Jesuit College Preparatory, will attend Trinity University in San Antonio in the fall.

This editorial appeared in the Houston Chronicle.  Click here to view it.

Statement on the President’s Use of Military Force

FPA Statement on the President’s Use of Military Force

April 25, 2017

Pursuant to the mission of the Foreign Policy Alliance, which calls for a reform of U.S. foreign policy emphasizing diplomacy, law, and cooperation, rather than the use of military force as a means of addressing international conflict, we oppose the recent unrestrained use of military force and the threat of force by the United States government. Under resolve statements number 1 and 7 of the Foreign Policy Alliance’s resolution, “A Call to Reform U.S. Foreign Policy,” we reject the “policeman of the world” foreign policy posture whereby the U.S. intervenes militarily in the affairs of other states. Further, authority to initiate military hostilities rests with the Congress, under Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution.

The recent U.S. attack on a Syrian air base was unconstitutional and could potentially drag the United States into becoming an active combatant in a civil war with regional and global implications. The insertion of U.S. military forces into Somalia expands America’s involvement in yet another civil war. The military posturing and threats of force in response to North Korean missile testing all point to a pattern of aggressive and reckless behavior by the President that must be subject to a full and transparent debate in Congress to determine if the use of force is in the vital interests of the United States, narrowly defined.