Earth Extraterrestrial Diplomatic Strategy
by Kim MacDermotRoe
The objectives of an Earth extraterrestrial policy are to protect the autonomy of Earth, the security and liberty of its people and to create mutually beneficial relationships with ET species. While Earth’s ET policy should be backed by strong military capabilities, war is an extremely undesirable last resort and is to be avoided if at all possible.
Fortunately, diplomacy provides a means by which a people may ensure their independence even in the face of stronger, more technologically advanced potential adversaries. Here, we will examine two cases from Earth history in which nations used diplomacy to protect their independence in the face of much stronger adversaries. Although each nation faced a unique challenge, their experiences provide Earth with useful lessons on how we may, not only, survive, but also, prosper in this new age.
Yugoslavia – Post World War II
At the end of World War II, Yugoslavia, a federation of several distinct ethnic groups, found itself caught between two expanding Great Powers – the United States and the Soviet Union. The United States consolidated its dominance in Western Europe through an alliance that became the North Atlantic Treaty Alliance while the Soviet Union established control over Eastern Europe and formed the Warsaw Pact to counter NATO.
From the Soviet Russian perspective, it was logical that their expanding Eastern European Empire should include Yugoslavia, their Slavic cousins to the south. In addition to its strategic position as an East West corridor, Yugoslavia could provide the Soviets with long sought Mediterranean ports. In order to prevent this development, the West, led by the United States, was determined to keep Yugoslavia out of the Soviet orbit.
That Yugoslavia maintained its independence for several decades after World War II was due to the skill of one man, Josip Broz Tito. Tito understood that that the way to preserve Yugoslavia’s independence was to steer a course between the two Great Powers while maintaining unity in his country
Tito had led Yugoslav partisan forces against the Germans during World War II defeating them with little help from the Red Army. A national hero and symbol of the country’s unity, he was elected to lead Yugoslavia, as well as, serve as Foreign Minister.
Yugoslavia’s position was geographically and politically precarious. Soon after the war, Yugoslavia found itself almost surrounded by Soviet satellites including Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and Romania. Yet, Tito, though a communist, defied the Soviets by rejecting their communist economic model and he distanced Yugoslavia from Cominform, the central organization of international communism, while pursuing a nationalist foreign policy.
Stalin, the Soviet leader, responded by expelling Yugoslavia from Cominform, threatening an invasion of Yugoslavia and attempting several times to assassinate Tito. However, when Tito refused to be intimidated, Stalin backed down.
Tito wasted no time in approaching the United States for assistance. Eager to expand its influence in the Balkans, the U.S. sent Yugoslavia aid similar to the Marshall Plan offered to Western Europe. Yet, unlike other U.S. aid recipients, Yugoslavia refused to align itself with the West.
Tito took advantage of Stalin’s death in 1953 to seek warmer relations with the Soviets. He even received economic assistance from COMECON, the Soviet’s response to the American Marshall Plan. Although the new Soviet leaders sought to repair their Yugoslav relations damaged by Stalin, Yugoslavia refused to tow their line. In the 1960’s Tito supported the Prague Spring, an attempt by Czechoslovakia to exit Soviet rule.
Tito’s greatest diplomatic success was to be a founder of the Non-Aligned Movement along with the leaders of India, Indonesia, Egypt and Ghana. As the first Secretary General of the organization, Tito substantially raised his international prestige and that of Yugoslavia as an advocate of neutrality in the Cold War.
And Tito followed through by establishing close ties with developing nations and by providing military aid to anti-colonial movements including the Algerian independence war against France. Tito, a pragmatist, maintained diplomatic relations with right wing governments like Paraguay and even gave military aid to the anti-communist government of Guatemala.
Domestically, Tito bolstered the economy by supporting a new “self-management” model for business. This model, distinctly different from centrally controlled Stalinism, converted state owned enterprises into employee run cooperative businesses with profit sharing. And unlike the Soviets and their allies, Tito adopted liberal travel laws for his own citizens and foreign visitors which led to important cultural exchanges.
Tito’s personal role as a symbol of national unity was bolstered by a constitutional system that gave a considerable degree of autonomy to the several republics and regions comprising the Yugoslav Federation. Support for his government was also underpinned by economic growth and a relatively liberal cultural environment that contrasted with the communist Eastern Bloc countries.
Nonetheless, it must be remembered that Tito was authoritarian. Though personally popular, he ensured the stability of his government by persecuting dissidents, especially Stalinists, and maintaining a secret police modeled on the Soviet KGB.
After Tito’s death in 1980, his successors could not hold together the various Yugoslav republics. Serbia, the largest federal republic, sought to expand into other regions of Yugoslavia. And with the end of the Cold War, there was no longer the fear of a Soviet invasion to unite people.
Even if Tito had been succeeded by a leader with his diplomatic talents, it would have been difficult to preserve Yugoslav unity and independence. The outbreak of the Yugoslav civil war, provided an opportunity for the United States, through NATO, to greatly expand its influence in the region through military intervention. At the conclusion of the war, the United States was able to militarily occupy the broken up Yugoslavia with a major installation, Camp Bondsteel, in Kosovo.
The American Revolution
America during its rebellion against Britain colonialism and during its first century as a Republic is another example of how to preserve autonomy through skillful diplomacy. As in the case of Yugoslavia, this diplomatic strategy involved, both, exploiting Great Power rivalry and maintaining neutrality in the rebellion’s aftermath.
In the summer of 1776, elected representatives of the thirteen British North American colonies proclaimed themselves to be an independent nation. When they did so, the new country had an inexperienced, poorly trained and equipped army, a severely outgunned navy, and a chronic shortage of funds.
In contrast, Britain, determined to bring the colonists to heel, possessed the most powerful military in the world. Its naval dominance enabled Britain to bring a sizeable army to America to suppress the rebellion and to close the colonies’ ports. And Britain’s financial resources allowed it to sustain a long war far from home.
In addition to its military and financial superiority, Britain exploited colonial vulnerabilities. Alliances with Native Americans dispossessed by the colonists allowed the British to create a second front on the colonies’ western frontier and offers of freedom to enslaved African Americans threatened to destabilize communities dependent on slave labor. Unfortunately, the rebels failed to address slavery out of fear of alienating southern colonies.
To compensate for its weakness, the fledgling nation launched a diplomatic effort focused on Britain’s principal adversaries, France and Spain. France, the dominant European power of the 17th century, was being overtaken by the British. Only a short time before the American Revolution, the British had defeated the French for control of, both, Canada and India. And Spain, an ally of France, had been a British enemy since Spain’s attempted invasion of Britain in 1588.
Although France and Spain were cautious about officially supporting the Revolution, early on they provided help in terms of weapons, ammunition, supplies and financing. This aid arranged by American diplomat Silas Deane was funneled through Roderigue Hortalez and Company, a private business created in 1775 to coordinate French and Spanish assistance. Additionally, the neutral Dutch, whose profit seeking desires trumped their politics, shipped the Americans massive amounts of armaments and supplies from their Caribbean colony St. Eustatius in exchange for valuable American exports such as tobacco and indigo.
While American diplomats secured unofficial commercial assistance for the Revolution, they, also, desired military support. To this end, the diplomatically shrewd and popular Benjamin Franklin was added to the American delegation in Paris.
Although individuals like the Marquis de Lafayette had joined the American Army, King Louis XVI was hesitant to commit his country without a good prospect for victory. His hesitation ended with the American success at Saratoga in 1779 when a large British force under Burgoyne surrendered to the rebels. With the subsequent entry of a large contingent of well-trained French soldiers and the rebuilt French navy to the American cause, the tide went in favor of the Americans. And the war effectively ended in the successful American/French siege of the British army at Yorktown in 1781.
And although Spain would not officially ally itself with America, it effectively entered the war through an alliance with France. The Spanish attacked the British on the Mississippi and along the Gulf Coast culminating in the capture of British West Florida. Through its port at New Orleans, Spain provided an indispensable alternative route for American supplies since the American ports were blockaded. Additionally, Spain financed the final act at Yorktown with gold and silver from Havana.
Although grateful for the European support in the Revolution, the new United States government under President George Washington and Secretary of State Thomas Jefferson pursued a policy of neutrality – avoiding foreign wars or even alliances while pursuing friendly relations with all nations.
The neutrality policy, followed by Washington’s successors for a century, enabled the U.S. to keep military spending modest while it focused on economic expansion. By the late 19th century, economic growth, aided by large scale infrastructure projects and a nationalist system of protective tariffs, made the United States one of the world’s leading economies.
Based upon these historical examples, Earth should address the following questions in order to be successful in Extra Terrestrial diplomacy:
1. What is the nature of each ET species and what are its objectives with regard to Earth?
2. What are the relationships between the various ETs?
3. What do we, Earth and ETs, have to offer each other that would establish a mutually beneficial relationship?
4. How do we maintain Earth unity in dealing with ETs?
While questions 1, 2 and 3 are straightforward, the last question is more complex. It requires Earth governments to address conditions, such as, vast economic and social inequality, human rights abuses and the despoilation of nature that could, not only, cause internal instability, but also, provide ETs with the moral justification for interfering with Earth’s internal affairs.
Finally, in protecting its autonomy Earth would be best served by a policy of neutrality. Earth should pursue friendly relations with all comers – encouraging trade and cultural exchange, while resisting restrictive alliances and tempting imperial adventures. Such a policy would, not only, help Earth stay independent, but also, provide the basis for human progress and Earth’s peaceful integration into the spacefaring community.
Kim MacDermotRoe, Princeton, B.A. History, Columbia, J.D., is the author of a series of articles on First Contact readiness. Other articles treat the perils of First Contact, the means of selecting an Earth spokesperson, and military defense strategy in an asymmetrical war with extraterrestrials.
Copyright: Kim MacDermotRoe 2021