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January 19, 2007

Glad to be here
Posted by Rosa Brooks

Hello-- I'm taking over from David as a guest blogger for a little while, and am grateful to the Democracy Arsenal crew (and to Suzanne's new baby) for giving me the opportunity to join in here for a bit. As some of you know, my usual venue for wisecracks and occasional policy commentary is over here.

I'll post a bit more later, but here's my thought for the day: David's quite right to say that we need a new conceptual framework for democracy promotion. But we also need to brace ourselves for the emerging backlash against democracy promotion-- and rule of law promotion, and human rights promotion, and humanitarian interventions. My fear? All of these are now so closely associated with the Bush Administration's rhetoric that they've been badly discredited, both internationally and here in the US. Never mind that many of us would say that the Administration's version of all these things was distorted and/or incomptent and/or arrogant and/or insincere-- the fact remains that for many people, they're all now linked to the Bush Administration's agenda. Can we rescue them? And if not, what happens? Isolationism, enthusiastically embraced by Democrats and Republican moderates alike?

More on this later.


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"Isolationism" frequently comes up these days as a name for the nightmare under the bed of foreign policy dreamers. Yet I have never met one of these monsters who truly wants to isolate the US from the rest of the world. (Maybe there are a few living in one of those compunds out in Idaho.) Could we get some sort of a definition of what a truly isolationist foreign policy would be, or is imagined to be?

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