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Tuesday, March 4, 2003

THE BUSH REVOLUTION IN US FOREIGN AND SECURITY POLICIES: Some Queries from Prof. Kent Douglas, and Buzzy Replies

Michael: I wonder if you could comment on the recently announced resignation from the U.S. Foreign Service of diplomat John Brady Kiesling, the political counselor to the U.S. embassy in Athens, and my related query.

In his letter, Kiesling states "The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible not only with American values but also with American interests. Our fervent pursuit of war with Iraq is driving us to squander the international legitimacy that has been America's most potent weapon of both offense and defense since the days of Woodrow Wilson. We have begun to dismantle the largest and most effective web of relationships the world has ever known. Our current course will bring instability and danger..." Kiesling's resignation was reported in the New York Times, and is cited in an anti-Bush diatribe by Robert Sheer in today's Los Angeles Times.

I myself, as a proponent of regime change in Iraq, am nevertheless intrigued (and a bit concerned) about the apparent dismantling of the postwar system of multilateral institutions. In the September 2002 Foreign Affairs, for instance, G. John Ikenberry reminded us that U.S. foreign policy after WWII took a realistic double track of balance-of-power alliance building combined with the creation of an international order of multilateral institutions in trade, finance, and diplomacy. Ikenberry, a neoliberal institutionalist, makes fairly compelling arguments regarding the value of maintaining this institutional architecture. As well, I would point out that as the war on terrorism proceeds, including our preventive war fighting strategy and the run-up in Iraq, we are witnessing a wholesale reconstruction of America's national security strategy, truly revolutionary in scope, and guaranteed to bring long-lasting changes to international relations -- with the NATO tussle just a whiff of things to come. It's an incredibly exciting time to be studying world politics. But how far can the U.S. go alone in international security -- if that's the consequence of an Iraqi invasion sans international support -- without risking the formation of a imperial or hegemonic over-expansion?


The Foreign Service Diplomat

Good queries, Kent --- to which I'll uncoil a few replies, some longer than others, especially regarding the crux issue: the Bush revolution in US foreign and security policies.

As for the views expressed by the resigned diplomat, I don't know any more about the case other than what the NY Times said. Generally, though, the State Dept. has been a reservoir of go-slow types, fearful of changing anything in the diplomatic status quo abroad --- including our relations with the double-dealing Saudis . . . the chief financial supporters of Wahhabi Isalmo-fascism in the world, some of which finance also ended up in the hands of Al Qaeda, possibly as protection money. Last year, recall, the State Dept consular division lied --- lied --- that it had changed its visa-express program for the Saudis after 9/11, when the murderous attacks carried out on American residents were led and manned by Saudis themselves. As it turned out, the consular division had done no such thing. The program continued for almost a year afterwards. As late as June, 2002, its head was lying to the public and Congress about the ongoing program, then tried to cover it up when a journalist with the National Review found out the truth, and altered it only when Congress threatened to take the entire visa program out of State's hands and give it to another agency.

Across the board, it seems --- anyway, to an extent an outsider can tell --- the professional training in State inclines its members toward such a conservative, don't-shake-the-status-quo stance. Nothing new.

Back in 1947, Truman encountered the same problem with State that Bush had last year at times. In particular, for moral and political reasons, Truman wanted to recognize the new state of Israel, a policy that was also supported by the Soviet bloc, the European democracies, and most of the developing world except for the Arab countries Filled with professionals who had contacts tied closely to the Arab oil states and oil companies, the State Department tried to torpedo Truman's policy. He called them "fancy-pants guys" and ignored their protests. This wasn't something new either. Earlier, in the interwar period as militarist Japan and the fascists in Europe were arming at a fast-paced secretive rate, some members of the Roosevelt administration wanted to create an intelligence agency to better monitor their arms spending and deployments. The answer of the Secretary of State? "Gentlemen don't spy on one another's mail."

That was even more disastrous than the Kellogg-Briand Pact of 1928, Kellogg our Secretary of State, Briand the French Foreign Secretary . . . a utopian scheme almost as flighty as the ICC, to which all the sovereign states of the world subscribed. Its thrust? A headlong rush from the status quo everywhere into a utopian fantasy --- specifically, outlawing war as an instrument of foreign policy. All the liberals celebrated; war, it seemed, was banished once and for all; constructivism --- discourse that changes realities, we're told by constructivist IR theoristsL: including state identites root and branch --- had triumphed. What ensued? Not utopia. Three years later, in 1931, Japan invaded Manchuria, and the League of Nations did nothing. Five years later, it invaded China; nothing. Hitler rearmed, militarized the Rhineland, annexed Austria in 1937; nothing. Mussolini invaded Ethiopia; discourse condemnation, nothing else. In March 1939, Hitler --- six months after the Munich Pact had given the world "peace in our times" according to Prime Minister Chamberlain --- invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia; nothing. WWII in Europe began six months later; the League didn't even take notice.

Almost as nutty, no? as having Libya, chair the UN Human Rights Commission, and Saddamite Iraq head its Disarmament Committe, with Iran the co-chairman. All realities recently . . . though the diplomat that the French send to advise Saddam on being nice in his diplomatic rhetoric (according to a report last December) convinced the mass-murdering megalomaniac to pass up the opportunity for PR reasons.

Not to worry though. We're told by the proponents of the International War Crimes Court --- at a time when the US has troops in dozens of countries --- to ignore such problems, thatthe ICC will be run by . . . well, exactly by who? Judges from Iraq, Iran, and Libya? Or sent by the hypocritical Schroeder German government, which went to war without UN Security Council approval over Kosovo in 1999 --- the Russians and Chinese threatened to veto any approval --- but now insists it won't support the US diplomatically even if the Security Council does approval war over Iraq. Or maybe from Paris, perhaps even a magistrate or two that Chirac has in his pocket, the investigating magistrates who tried for years to get to the bottom of his orgy of corruption --- almost as bad as in the socialist Mitterand years --- resigning in protest last year almost to the day, insisting that they had been stonewalled at every point in their investigations and that they had to conclude that in France there are two rules of law: one for ordinary Frenchmen, and the other for the politically powerful?

State Dept Hi-Jinx Over Saudi Arabia Clarified

It was only thanks to the investigative journalism and staying-power of a journalist with the National Review that State's consular activities were unmasked.

Here's what I wrote back in June when the scandal was unmasked --- and the link to the article by Joel Moawbry in the National Review:

This is the kind of investigative journalism that is always a delight to read --- revelations about the skullduggery and efforts at distorting truth that bureaucratic agencies engage often . . . at least as much as corporate executives. It's the press that helps keep them honest. In France, by contrast, Chirac -- the crook re-elected president running against a rabble-rousing demagogue with no experience in office (strange political system, that) --- no sooner got the results than he ordered the government to ferret out the handful of brave legal or police experts who fed the press info there. In the US, such an effort would lead to extensive Congressional investigations, bringing in the heads of the agencies and the various Secretaries in charge of the offices who would cooperate with a President ordering such a thing. In France, nothing of the sort will happen.

Here, again, the journalist who blew the loud whistle on State Dept's machinations regarding the klepto Saudi-run regime gets further leaks from dissident State Dept officials, including quotes from telegrams. He's the journalist who stayed after a press conference at State last week and was questioned sharply against his will (I hope he finds a way to sue). Congress will no doubt move ahead anyway and punish State by taking consular visa programs out of the hands of the Arab-philic State Dept --- which never saw a tyrant or autocrat or klepto-ridden government in the Middle East that it didn't think we should cozy up to and ear-stroke into moderation (read: serve US interests) --- and put them under the supervision of the Homeland Security Dept. Bureaucratic heads hate it --- are shocked -- when major programs of this sort are taken from them. It's like little kids crying when a toy has been held back by a parent for misbehavior.

Even the human rights inquiries and reports about foreign regimes, published annually by the US State Dept, was a program imposed on State by Congress back in the 1970s. Those annual required reports, by the way, make far more informative reading than any published by the UN Human Rights Commission, stonewalled as it is (roughly 50 member states) by a group of 15 systematic human rights abusers . . . some so egregious and brutal that they figure near the top of the State Dept's list.

Still, our EU chums assure us that the ICC -- the new Inter.Crimes Court -- will be different. Actually, I'm almost as scared of having some EU judges sit on the ICC, what their abominable behavior regarding politicized indictments like the one that singled out Pinochet, as those from developing countries thug-o-cratic regimes, where the very notion of a rule of law is understood in the same way as it is by the Mafiosos in THE SORPRANO: formal rigmarole to be exploited by bribes, intimidation, and killings. But then the EU governments don't seem to mind huge mad-crazy regulations being formulated by technocrats in Brussels, responsible in no solid democratic way to anybody, and applied to their own citizens in great detail . . . such as the 125 page memo, revealed by a journalist two months ago (I sent the report), that detailed the kinds of hinges needed on buses throughout the region. The memo warned that follow-up regulations would ensue.

Those time-on-their-hands madmen-regulators in Brussels have recently spelled out in verbose detail the shape bananas have to have to be sold in the EU and instituted a standard-size for all condoms.


Joel Mowbray:

July 16, 2002, 10:55 a.m. Visa Express, Expanded?

State wants to deputize travel agents around the world.

"After being detained at the State Department on Friday, several of my sources suggested to me that it was not surprising that State reacted as it did: The confidential cable I cited, though not sensitive from any security standpoint, was highly inconvenient for two simple reasons.The first, most immediate reason State wanted to prevent discussion of the cable was that it showed, in black and white, that travel agents are not, in fact, mere document collectors. But the far more disturbing reason is that State wants Visa Express to be implemented elsewhere around the world.

"State has always defended the deputization of private Saudi travel agents to handle the first step in the visa-collection process by arguing that the agencies do no more to applications than, say, Fed Ex would. But the cable, written by the U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, proves otherwise."Using the travel agents to assure that documentation is complete and in compliance with guidelines saved the consular officers from spending valuable time pre-interviewing applicants whose paperwork was not in order," the ambassador wrote.

"That's what State didn't want to get out: Travel agents are being used to "pre-interview" and to ensure "compliance," something Fed Ex would never do. As it has done repeatedly when confronted with a truth it would rather not face, State lied.At Friday's press briefing, top State press flack Richard Boucher brought up the contents of the now-infamous cable, characterizing it as a simple request for more resources. Yes, the ambassador did request more resources, but it was to make up, in part, for the extra work caused by eliminating the role of travel agents. (The remaining additional funds and personnel were requested so that all visa applicants could actually be interviewed — in other words, the ambassador wanted help so that he could end Visa Express in Saudi Arabia.) . . . "


Kent is right: what Bush and his team have done in the last two years --- trying to adapt US policies and our military posture to an entirely new world --- is revolutionary in scope and ambition . . . no less so than the radically restructuring of our policies in the Truman era after WWII and as the cold war broke out.

The backgroud of the Truman revolutions?

In those days, the mid-1940s, the always tense alliance between the two liberal powers, Britain and ourselves, and the Soviets broke down even as WWII was ending: no sooner had the fighting stopped than the Soviets were occupying all of East Europe and East Germany, and --- as Winston Churchill noted in early 1947 --- they put an "iron curtain" over what was soon becoming vassal Communist states everywhere the Red Army happened to be save in Finland. Note. All the initial diplomatic battles between the Russians and the West involved the British Labour government far more than the US, especially in Iran and Greece and Turkey and the rest of the Mediterranean. In the winter of 1947, London informed Washington that the British no longer had the economic or military base to defend the line in those areas against Soviet threats and pressures, including a Communist-supported civil war in Greece.

The Truman administration's response was prompt and radical in its implications: Marshall Aid, the Containment doctrine, Point-4 aid to developing countries, and the Truman doctrine (Communism everywhere was our enemy, no less unsettling to liberals and the radical left here and in Europe as Reagan's "evil empire" speech about the Soviets in the early 1980s and Bush's recent "evil axis" talk last year) . . . followed by the NATO alliance and the deployment of American military forces to West Europe in 1949, then rapid rearmament from our swift post-war rundown of our forces after the Korean War erupted (from 11 million in 1945 to well under a million by 1949). The National Security Council's Doctrine 68 spelled out in detail the military side of containment and, for the first time, deterrence in the nuclear age, which led to the creation of further alliances outside NATO and several air and sea-bases around the world suitable to a maritime island-continent, as with the British before as an insular power, that rang the periphery of the land-based Soviet empire and its Maoist ally in China after 1949. And all of this built on earlier efforts to develop multilateral institutions for organizing and managing a broken down global economic order, with the UN --- especially the Security Council until the cold war and China was convulsed in civil war won by the Communists --- now changed in American thinking to a clearly secondary role compared to our military alliances.

Those overall dramatic changes in US military and diplomatic policies were thoroughly new and far-reaching, a break with pre-WWII American diplomacy and security behavior. Their aim: as with the Bush policies the last two years, to adapt the US to the vast change in the global distribution of power (essentially bipolar), the new Soviet threat, the nuclear age --- the Soviets soon exploded a nuclear bomb in 1949 (later a hydrogen bomb in 1953 ahead of us) --- and the breakdown of European and Japanese empires in Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

Discord and Dissent in the Truman Era

There were always disputes at the time in the Truman administration about which of the policies --- conventional military or nuclear power, diplomacy vs. military uses, containing communism in the developing areas by ideology and economics or by armed intervention --- should be relied on . . . including the role of diplomacy and the State Department compared to the Pentagon and the National Security Council and the CIA . . . the latter three institutions also entirely new, creations of the post-WWII era.

The second-tier diplomat of ours in Greece quit in protest last week of the Bush policies? Fine. Nothing new. In 1950, our most famous diplomat --- George Kennan, the architect of containment and the first head of the new State Department Policy Planning Agency --- resigned after the Korean war broke out, claiming we were stressing military power too much and becoming too preoccupied with Communism, rather than the Soviet Union as a great power. Kennan continued his criticisms as an uncommonly gifted scholar for decades at Princeton, where he won several Pulitzer Prizes for his books, and in the 1980s he was an unsparing critic of the Reagan administration's policies in the 1980s.

Discord in the Reagan Era

In the end, ironically, the Reagan administration's initial assertive policies toward the Soviet Union --- including denouncing it as an evil empire, rearming the US after the Vietnam war and the setbacks in the Carter era, supporting anti-Communist guerrillas in Central America, Africa, and Asia, and the Star Wars declaration that has become the concrete anti-missile program of the Bush era --- were then adjusted quickly once Gorbachev came to power in the Soviet Union in 1985, who knew how weak the Soviet economy was, how technologically backward it happened to be, how backward too the Soviet military was as a result in developing new smart weapons, and how overstretched and over-extended it was globally, and who therefore tried to retrench and revitalize the Soviet Union. That necessitated a pull-back of Soviet power abroad, a new détente, economic restructuring at home (if possible: it wasn't), and some liberalization. Immediately, the Reagan administration --- despite big divisions --- responded, and Reagan and Gorbachev together helped steer the cold war to an end. What Gorbachev hadn't counted on occurred in 1991, a year later (and two years after Reagan had left office): a collapse and total disappearance of the Soviet empire and the Soviet Union itself, under the pressure of high-pulsating centrifugal forces that his half-reforms had set loose, polarizing the Soviet regime and leading radical reformers like Yeltsin to outmaneuver him in the middle and the diehards in the CP at the other extreme.

Kennan had all along conditioned containment on regime breakdown in the Soviet Union. He knew the country first-hand, having received his Ph.D. at a German university specializing in Russian studies, then serving as our number 2 man in the Kremlin during WWII, and learning to hate the regime and see it as riddled with contradictions that containment would accentuate over time and eventually lead to their eruption. Only . . . it took the far-more adapted mix of assertiveness and then flexibility of the Reagan administration to corner the Soviets and in effect hasten Gorbachev's ill-destined reforms to change what was a decadent, backward, irrational, and evil regime.


Which brings us back center-stage to the equally revolutionary and no less controversial policies being carried out by the present Bush administration --- all intended, as were the earlier Truman and later Reagan policies --- to meet the new challenges of the post cold-war era:

  1. A unipolar distribution of power that grates on certain other aspiring great powers --- France, maybe a French-German condominium to dominate the EU as a counter-bloc, China, possibly Russia ---but that we will, as the Bush manifesto delivered last September explicitly said, try to win over to cooperative relations through both diplomatic-military and economic means, including the common war against Islamo-fascism:

  2. The lack of adaptability of cold war alliances like NATO to retain the same significance militarily or diplomatically that they had in the cold war era (this may pertain to South Korea, by the way). State won't like this, but these alliances are bound to change, with NATO moving into a third phase of its development.

        NATO I was a hard military alliance, restricted to Europe, in the cold war. NATO II has been a post cold-war adaptation moving eastward to stabilize the Balkans and encourage democracy and market reforms. It isn't a hard military alliance, and its members besides the British can offer the US at best limited peace-keeping forces even if they do follow a US lead. NATO III is now emerging, thanks to Chirac and Schroeder: a group of 26 out of the 28 member states this year, all aligned with the US, who will have to find ways to deal with common threats without interference from the French or German Green-Socialist government. Its aim is mainly stage II and diplomatic support, plus peace-keeping help for the US.

  3. The new threats of a serious, potentially devastating sort that are interlocked and three in number: Islamo-fascist fundamentalism, Islamo-fascist terrorist groups that are increasingly involved with one another (Hezbollah, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Al Qaeda above all, plus spin-offs in Asia and elsewhere), and four rogue states pursuing WMD while being ruled by cruel, tyrannical regimes and supporting terrorism to one degree or another: clerical-fascist Iran, where the moderates have been killed off, intimidated, or jailed by the backlashing mullahs; fascist Stalinism of the Saddamite megalomaniac sort; and fascist Mafioso gangsterism in Syria. Plus of course North Korea, which --- a Stalinist system of the old Communist sort that is starving its regimented people --- has no export capacity whatsoever expect the ability to sell missiles and WMD to the most lucrative buyers. Guess who those might be in the future if we don't do something soon?

All three threats here overlap, just as the Soviet Union, Maoist China initially, and international communism did . . . despite the fact that they were never one and the same entirely, and that by the late 1950s the Soviets would withdraw from China and find China by the 1970s allied with the US for geopolitical reasons in the cold war.

Similarly, US policymakers probably did overreact to the Communist threat in Indochina, centered on North Vietnam, a blood-soaked Stalinist regime of the old hard-line sort, but one that could only be contained and defeated with its allies in the South if we were able to find a nationalist regime with popular support and above all efficient institutions, political and military, that could carry the brunt of the war. We failed in the process, and eventually China and Vietnam fought a war in 1979, as earlier Vietnam and Pol Pot's Cambodia did. That was the single biggest failure of US post-WWII policies, and we are still paying certain costs for our foolish efforts to substitute fire-power for political-military solutions that required nation-building far beyond what we were willing or able to do at the time. Those costs aren't diplomatic. If anything, the American intervention probably did help buy the rest of SE Asia some time. Rather, they are domestic in nature, reinforcing the radical backlash and cynicism that we find to one degree or another widespread in American life, especially in otherwise decent liberal circles.

The New Bush Security Doctrine: Peace, Regime-Change, Military Superiority, Diplomatic Entente and Partnership with Russia and China, and Pre-emption

That the triple-layered threats just set out here are intertwined, despite some ambiguities about the links --- for instance, the extent of Iraq's involvement with Al Qaeda --- is brought out effectively in the Bush doctrine as set out in his speech last September.

Specifically, Bush proclaimed three chief goals for US foreign policy in the 21st century: [1] "to defend the peace by fighting terrorists and tyrants," [2] "to preserve the peace by building good relations among the great powers", and [3] to extend the peace by encouraging free and open societies on every continent." Note that Bush explicitly went out of his way to stress that we would strive to build friendly relations with both Moscow and Beijing: And contrary to those who see China's economic development as a threat in the future, a potential great power rival, "We welcome the emergence of a strong, peaceful, and prosperous China." At the same time, he reaffirmed his belief that China needed to democratize and that we would defend Taiwan against any aggression.

To deal with terrorism and terrorist-supporting states, especially those that are building weapons of mass destruction --- but as also deterrents to any aggressive future great powers if we miscalculated their intentions --- Bush explicitly outlined what had been US policy in both the Bush Sr. and Clinton era, but without public proclamation save early in the 1990s: the US would seek to maintain our military supremacy as a deterrent to aggression and new terrorist attacks, including the use of nuclear weapons as a potential riposte. Earlier, and later, he also indicated that we would share our anti-ballistic missile technologies with other friendly countries --- now Russia's and NATO's official policy, I add --- and we would work with our NATO allies and others, including Russia and China, to combat common terrorist threats.


Which brings us to the most most controversial part of this doctrine, a pre-emptive stance: the US might not wait for countries building WMD to actually deploy them --- or possibly arm terrorists with them --- but instead, if disarmament through diplomacy fails --- launch pre-emptive strikes on their weaponry, labs, manufacturing sites, and command and control instruments.

That pre-emptive stance wasn't new either. What was new was making it explicit, and Bush made it clear that it was aimed at terrorists and rogue states, whose characteristics he defined in that speech. Is this a radical break in international law? Not really; not fully anyway. It always allowed for pre-emption, however ambiguous (compared to domestic law in most instances, almost all international law is ambiguous or lacks reinfed and ongoing judicial and legislative clarification and updating in detailed ways.) Specifically, as the efforts to win over the UN Security Council for disarming Iraq showed, Bush's policy hasn't been that of a trigger-happy cowboy. On the contrary, the US has gone to war only once since he was in office, and that was against Taliban Afghanistan, a decision that had the support of the NATO alliance. There has been no war otherwise. The notion of a trigger-happy President is simply a myth, spread by miscreants and ill-informed radicals, to say nothing of the ideologically charged EU media in the hands of politically correct journalists. Any other uses of American forces abroad have been strictly limited in nature and always at the behest of the local governments threatened by terrorists: in the Sudan, Yemen, Afghanistan since the rout of the Taliban, the Philippines, and Georgia.

I repeat: it is not only a myth, but in fact Bush has used force less often abroad than Clinton did. And it was Clinton and the NATO alliance --- including the French and the now sanctimonious and strangely turn-about Schroeder German government --- that went to war over Kosovo that led to the bombing of Yugoslavia for almost three months without any effort at all to win over the UN Security Council. The initial Clinton effort to bring in the Council --- a resolution on the table --- was quickly withdrawn when the Russians and the Chinese angrily retorted they would veto it. No moralizing squeaks came out of Berlin at the time, oddly. And German troops actually went into combat for the first time since 1945. Somehow, though, even Security Council approval of a war to disarm Iraq, according to Schroeder, won't bring about German support.

What could be more hypocritical? Apparently, our moralizing fickle ally will go to war without Security Council approval and send German troops into battle when a clear threat to German stability is perceived --- including the threat of more refugees out of the war-torn Balkans --- but not even diplomatically support its allies, Britain and the US, even if Security Council endorsement is given.

As for the French, Paris sees the US as a greater threat to its great-power aspirations, and the sudden conversion to the Security Council's role --- bypassed by Paris in 1999 too over Kosovo --- is a pretext, little more, for entangling the US in an institution where the French can exercise veto power. As for the overall problem of dealing with rogue states and terrorist recruitment, the Bush doctrine linked it explicitly to general peace and its extension. And in doing this, he revives Wilsonian liberalism and the half-hearted efforts of Clinton initially to push it: the need for the US, as after WWII and the early post cold-war period, for that matter after WWI in East Europe, to push for "a single sustainable model for national success: freedom, democracy, and free enterprise" That is WIlsonianism, pure and simple, in its domestic thrust --- now called regime change. As Bush noted, the history of the 20th century --- not least US involvement in major foreign wars in 1917, 1941-1945, and throughout the cold war era --- all underscores the need for such regime change, the only certain way to secure stability and peace.

THE THIRD AND MOST REVOLUTIONARY GOAL: REGIME CHANGE: Iraq and the Middle East in the War on Terrorism and Islamo-fundamentalism

All of these policies --- especially the third goal of expanding peace by expanding democracy --- come together in the Middle East, and especially Saddamite Iraq. A few critics, even those in the Bush camp like myself, would have liked to see the President do more to spell out these WIlsonian goals --- which he began to emphasize over Iraq only last week. For practical reasons, though, he was probably right not to push this theme too much . . . which after all amounts to a reconfiguration of the entire Middle East, politically and not just diplomatically. To have done more more would have probably alarmed the pro-American Arab states, even though most of them no doubt realize --- Prince Abdullah, the most promising reformer in the Saudi royal family as a succession-struggle begins, included --- what the fall of Iraq's bloody, fascist regime and its manically malicious megalomaniac in charge will mean.

Can we succeed? I think so, hard as the challenge is . . . provided we understand that we're talking about years and maybe decades of sustained change . . . all of a Wilsonian sort, not that many liberals these days appreciate this, many of them --- never mind their ill-informed, catcalling radical allies who see only imperialism and capitalist greed in every US initiative --- as frightened of new initiative in IR as a few of our half-hearted allies in West Europe happen to be. Especially the French, who know what those changes will mean for French aspirations to be the pivotal intermediary between the Arab world (even the whole developing world as grandiose thinking in Parisian circles has it) and the French-German dominated EU, with of course the moralizing clod-hopping Germans assumed to be easy prey for French cunning . . . to say nothing of tens of billions of dollars of French and German investments in Iraq and Iraq and Syria, all at stake now.

Some diplomats here won't like this challenge. Most in France and Germany appear frightened, as do the pc-infused media in the EU generally. As do, for different reasons, double-dealing liberals here who were willing to back Clinton when he and Congress called for regime change in Iraq explicitly --- that includes Michael Walzer in the latest issue of the New York Review of Books, who now opposes regime change in the Bush era but argued for it in just-war terms in 1999 --- but not when Bush is president and, unlike Clinton, is trying to get UN Security Council approval for disarming Iraq by toppling Saddam.

As for the pulpit-pounding, badly informed avant-garde radicals in our universities, if they want to charge imperialism and back a mass-murdering Islamo-fascist government still playing loose and fast with UN inspectors, backed by the Iraqi-supporting French and Russians (so far) for their own national reasons, they at least have shown their true inner selves: greater hostility to US efforts to destroy a dangerous and blood-splattered regime that has defied the UN for 12 years and through 17 resolutions, than to promoting change in the Middle East.

Replies: 1 Comment

Mr.(Prof.?) Gordon, I am one of Dr. Douglas's students at LBCC. He sorta encouraged me to post something on here.

-Your outline of Bush's Policies was quite impressive.

But I had a few comments, mainly, about your section on "The New Bush Security Doctrine: Peace, Regime-Change, Military Superiority, Diplomatic Entente and Partnership with Russia and China, and Pre-emption"

-Point [2] is wonderful, "to preserve the peace by building good relationships among the great powers." Obviously building a relationship with China is very important for both our near and distant futures. However,(this may also coinside with point [3]) I think a stronger emphasis on building solid relationships politically and economically with lesser "legitimate" powers(3rd world countries) in the middle east, Africa, South America, and also Asia and Indochina would greatly reduce many of the problems we are facing i.e. terrorism. I believe, if we are going to proclaim world hegemony and a war on terrorism we should fight terrorism at its base - weak state governments and economies. I find Afghanistan(so far) to be a poor example for nation re-building, especially since this is or second such promise to the Afghani people. American history has shown that we have a terrible record for nation building with Japan and Germany being the few exceptions(there may be a few more, im not sure)after WWII. I feel that Bush needs to work harder at nation building or re-building. Not because he has a poor record, because the US has a poor record. The US needs to be responsible and clean up its messes.

-Do you think we might take the fear of terrorism too far as we took the fear of a communist takeover too far during the Cold War? Most analysts say that the Vietnam War never needed to happen, that N. Vietnam wasn't really a threat to "Democracy." I've also heard arguements that the Korean War, also, did not need to take place. Your comments on this would be greatly appreciated.

- For the most part I see myself leaning towards an isolationist POV when it comes to "regime change." We might not be in this predicament if we hadn't of sold weapons to Saddam in the '80's during their war with Iran. There are many such supporting examples for this in the Middle East, especially Afghanistan.

-Josh Dobbs

Posted by Josh Dobbs @ 03/06/2003 06:01 PM PST