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August 15, 2007

Rudy's Foreign Policy
Posted by Michael Cohen

Over at Washington Monthly, Kevin Drum has thrown down the gauntlet about Rudy Giuliani's foreign policy piece in this month's Foreign Affairs:

In a way, this essay is a test for the bipartisan foreign policy community that's taken so much abuse in the blogosphere lately. I mean, Rudy is plainly nuts. No one closer to the center than Charles Krauthammer should take this as anything more than the incoherent burblings of a national security naif. But will they say that? Or will it be considered a serious addition to the foreign policy discussion? Any bets?

Ok, I'm tanned, rested and ready. I am ready to take Kevin's challenge.

Now instead of trying to provide a full summary of the badness herein (we only have so much server space here at Democracy Arsenal) I am just going to look at one graf in this rather lengthy article. That's really all I need to point out the many fallacies undergirding Giuliani's foreign policy approach:

We cannot predict when our efforts (in Iraq) will be successful. (Well then obviously we need to stay forever).

But we can predict the consequences of failure: Afghanistan would revert to being a safe haven for terrorists, and Iraq would become another one -- larger, richer, and more strategically located. (Let's see, maybe Rudy should read his hometown paper, because it's already happening in Afghanistan or maybe the 9/11 report about the lack of Iraq-AQ connection before the war. What I'd like to see is policy recommendation for what we should do today to keep these nations from following further back into turmoil. Do I hear Churchillian rhetoric; yes that should do the trick!)

Parts of Iraq would undoubtedly fall under the sway of our enemies, particularly Iran, which would use its influence to direct even more terror at U.S. interests and U.S. allies than it does today. (Irony alert: Iran's growing influence is a direct result of our invasion or Iraq. But more to the point, would Iran be directing terror at the US if we weren't in Iraq today? This is a self-defeating argument. Rudy is saying we can't leave Iraq because it will embolden Iran, and yet it's our very presence, which has emboldened them in the first place. Ugh, my head hurts, I need a cold beverage.)

The balance of power in the Middle East would tip further toward terror, extremism, and repression. (Further? Apparently Rudy believes that the US presence in Iraq is a benign influence in the region).

America's influence and prestige -- not just in the Middle East but around the world -- would be dealt a shattering blow. (What's that line about Humpty Dumpty? Our influence and prestige has ALREADY been dealt a shattering blow. What's going to happen next, they're going to stomp on the shards? I wonder if Rudy sees a connection between Security Council recalcitrance over sanctions against Iran and America's weakened position in the organization - or is that just France being France? But what about America's image in the world? This from a recent testimony by Andrew Kohut of the Pew Global Attitudes Project:

  • December 2002 - America's image slips, although goodwill towards the U.S. remains
  • June 2003 - U.S. image plunges in the wake of the Iraq war
  • March 2004 - No improvement in U.S. image, some worsening in Europe
  • June 2005 - U.S. image improves slightly, although still negative in most places; and anti-Americanism is becoming increasingly entrenched
  • June 2006 - Show little further progress - in fact some back sliding. Even as the publics of the world concurred with the Americans on many global problems.

I wonder if this is what Rudy is talking about.

Our allies would conclude that we cannot back up our commitments with sustained action.  (Boy, it sure seems that Iraq and Afghanistan has proved that point rather nicely. Tora Bora ring any bells.)

Our enemies -- both terrorists and rogue states -- would be emboldened. (Where do I even start? How about the July NIE report on AQ, "The National Intelligence Estimate assessment indicates that the Islamic terrorist organization's rise has been bolstered by the Iraq war and the failure to counter extremism in Pakistan's tribal areas."  What was that part about backing up our commitments with sustained action?

They would see further opportunities to weaken the international state system that is the primary defense of civilization. (Is the international state system the primary defense of civilization? I don't know I never much thought about it, but I tend to think the UN Declaration on Human Rights, the UN Charter are pretty important as well. But honestly, I'm not sure what this means how does the anarchic and self-interested "state system" defend civilization? Doesn't nationalism occasionally have a corrosive impact? This isn't meant to bash nations (I happen to like the one I live in), but I'm not sure I see the connection here.

Much as our enemies in the 1990s concluded from our inconsistent response to terrorism then, our enemies today would conclude that America's will is weak and the civilization we pledged to defend is tired. (Did I miss the election where we pledged to defend civilization? But more to the point, hasn't our inconsistent response to AQ; letting OBL get away at Tora Bora; our failure to put enough troops on the ground in Iraq; our inability to maintain post-war order there; and the seeming image that we are losing this war to a ragtag group of insurgents weakened America just as dramatically as the supposed failures of the 1990s? I don't understand how Rudy and others only imagine our enemies being emboldened by our departure from Iraq, and don't see them being emboldened by our continued presence there.

Failure would be an invitation for more war, in even more difficult and dangerous circumstances. (More difficult and dangerous than Iraq? I don't even want to imagine that.)

That's just one graf! On and on it goes. Here's another graf that is astounding:

Another step in rebuilding a strong diplomacy will be to make changes in the State Department and the Foreign Service. The time has come to refine the diplomats' mission down to their core purpose: presenting U.S. policy to the rest of the world. .

Our ambassadors must clearly understand and clearly advocate for U.S. policies and be judged on the results. Too many people denounce our country or our policies simply because they are confident that they will not hear any serious refutation from our representatives. The American ideals of freedom and democracy deserve stronger advocacy. And the era of cost-free anti-Americanism must end.

That's right, people are angry at America, not because of our policies, but because they know they can criticize us with impunity. And this nugget is featured in a section titled "Determined Diplomacy."

Then there is this throwaway line about reforming NATO:

The new NATO should dedicate itself to confronting significant threats to the international system, from territorial aggression to terrorism. I hope that NATO members will see the wisdom in such changes. NATO must change with the times, and its members must always match their rhetorical commitment with action and investment.

Am I reading this correctly, but Guiliani calling for NATO to replace the UN in dealing with global threats? Since he says of the UN, it "has proved irrelevant to the resolution of almost every major dispute of the last 50 years," I think he is. That's a change that I'm sure countries like Czech Republic, Poland and Belgium will surely see the "wisdom" of.

This is what Bush's foreign policy would look like on steroids; it's what US foreign policy would look like under President Cheney, administered by Secretary of State John Bolton. It's recipe for more war and less diplomacy, more international division and less security for the United States. It's completely divorced from the reality of American power, influence and capabilities. In short, it's a recipe for disaster. 

And yes, Kevin, it's insane. Now, what do I win?


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Okay, I give up. All I can find on "graf" is (1) Steffi Graf, tennis player and (2) German nobility title.

As for Giuliani's foreign policy, and replacing the UN, let's not get all exercised about neocons only. This sort of policy is also being advocated by the "City on the Hill' types from the 'new progressive' community who are also calling for American hegemony, enlarged military, limiting the UN Security Council and a new 'Concert of Democracies".

One new progressive, Michael Signer, advocated 'exemplarism': "Exemplarism is a militarily strong and morally ambitious version of American exceptionalism, or the notion that the United States is unique among the world’s nations."

And the Truman Project, remembering Truman's words: "We completely defeated our enemies and made them surrender. And then we helped them to recover, to become democratic, and to rejoin the community of nations. Only America could have done that."

And Ann-Marie Slaughter's Concert of Democracies: One of the ideas in the report that has generated the most debate, Slaughter said, is a proposal for a new international body that would encompass "the world's liberal democracies" and be known as the "Concert of Democracies." The report argued that such a body would spur U.N. reform [i.e. eliminate the UNSC veto] and serve as a possible alternative to current forms of international governance.

And Will Marshall of the DLC/PPI: "Confronting global disorder by building enduring new international structures of economic and political freedom. . .It might mean somewhat higher defense budgets in the near future to kick the defense establishment into a higher transformational gear. . .Progressives believe that a strategy of robust internationalism is only sustainable if we ask Americans to share its costs and risks equitably. That is why we would repeal the tax cuts for the wealthiest among us and use part of the proceeds to invest in equipping, enlarging, and modernizing America's Armed Forces. And we would create new opportunities for young Americans to make contributions to our battle against terrorism, such as enlarging national service to assist with emergency preparedness."

don, "graf" means paragraph

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