Monday, January 31, 2005


Get Ready for Gut Wrenching Diplomacy

Digby said go read this article, The Market Shall Set You Free, by Robert Wright. And so I did. This part jumped out at me:
In the wake of John Kerry's defeat, Democrats have been searching for a new foreign policy vision. But Mr. Clinton laid down as solid a template for post-9/11 policy as you could expect from a pre-9/11 president.

First, fight the spread of weapons of mass destruction, which means, among other things, making arms inspections innovatively intrusive, as in the landmark Chemical Weapons Convention that President Clinton signed (and that Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, et. al., opposed). Second, pursue terrorist networks overtly and covertly (something Mr. Clinton did more aggressively than the pre-9/11 Bush administration). Third, make America liked and respected abroad (as opposed to, say, loathed and reviled). Fourth, seek lasting peace in the Middle East (something Mr. Bush keeps putting off until after the next war).

And finally, help the world mature into a comprehensive community of nations - bound by economic interdependence and a commitment to liberty, and cooperating in the global struggle against terrorism and in law enforcement generally.

But in pursuing that last goal, respect and harness the forces in your favor. Give history some guidance, but resist the flattering delusion that you're its pilot. Don't take military and economic weapons off the table, but appreciate how sparingly you can use them when the architect of history is on your side. Have a little faith.

It struck me that when Barbara Boxer challenged Condi's candidness she was leading the charge against an administration that does not trust its citizens with the truth, does not trust in international conventions, and does not really give a damn what the rest of the world thinks of us. Rather, this Aministration sees itself as the champion of liberty, maybe even liberty itself, so those who dare oppose them are opposing liberty and freedom incarnate. It is a neat trick, that.

Boxer had the right to ask Rice when did she know that there were conflicting intelligence reports on Iraq's nuclear capabilities. I know she had that right because I, along with 6.9 million voters, gave her that right.

Rice's conduct as one of the lead salespeople for the war does not bode well for us all, or the credibility that she will need to repair our relations with other countries. Maybe if she had counseled the President to let the inspections continue, or had resisted the Pentagon's proposals to launch the war before the Summer season began, she might have gained some diplomatic stature. Instead we got the diplomacy of George W. Bush's gut (an area that I am tempted to say Condi is familiar with). So now she will be the official organ for relaying her, the President's foreign policy.

On one hand, I can grasp their predilection to use military might in order to solve the Islamic Gordian Knot. I also understand their lack of faith in our culture as the force to spread democracy. Didn't they just start a culture war here at home during the last election?

Upate: edited for clarity

Imagine going in to a job interview and treating the hiring committee with disdain, lying, and outwardly showing anger at the questions being asked, as Rice and Gonzales have. Hmmm...maybe that's what I've been doing wrong-think I'll try that approach at the next interview.
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