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November 06, 2008

Historic Election
Posted by David Shorr

There are a few ways in which we are talking about this as a(n) historic election. This being America, the first is really important (he really gives new meaning to the term African-American doesn't he). But this being a forum for those hugely fascinated with foreign policy, the sense of a time of momentous challenges may be more pertinent. Every American who has been paying any attention has been saying to herself holy **** (or some less profame variant). Financial meltdown, global warming meltdown, energy insecurity, IraqAfghanistan, galloping unemployment, stagnating wages, skyrocketing health costs, foreclosures, Iran, North Korea, Israel-Palestine, Pakistan, etc.

So can we finally put to rest the fallacy of the terror threat as the mother of all foreign policy challenges? Wait, I think I hear the echo of a (barely) earlier time. Did he just say that terrorists aren't really a threat? No, I just said that we lost perspective on the terrorist threat -- which at one and the same time is quite serious but has been dominating and distorting our foreign policy agenda.

Now lest that sound like a faintly partisan point, let me share an excelent bipartisan consensus statement saying exactly that we need to put the terrorist into perspective for the sake of more effective counterterrorism and foreign policy overall. For some real fun, scan the signatures and see if you can spot two or three especially interesting names from the recent campaign. Getting down to bipartisan problem solving on the basis of common sense is within easy reach. The real call of the moment is for a more mature political culture.


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