December 22, 2003

What's Mainstream

Howard Dean is right when he brings up the question of what is mainstream in US foreign policy. The answer he gives, sadly for Democrat electoral chances, is wrong.

George Bush's foreign policy is a departure from 60 years of bipartisan foreign policy. It is a radical shift and to pretend otherwise is to not be a serious analyst of the situation. But is it out of the mainstream? Or is it more correct to say that the bipartisan foreign policy limits and rituals of the cold war era have been abandoned by the mainstream in an astonishing display of presidential leadership with Howard Dean being the standard bearer of a liberal reactionary impulse to stick with the past.

The fundamental question is whether 'everything changed' after 9/11. For those who think that it did, sticking with the old bipartisan consensus looks and sounds as foolish as delivering goods with a horse drawn wagon in the age of the internal combustion engine.

But is this undeniably radical current in the US the new mainstream? I'm sure that there is frequent polling done on this by both major parties and the answer is in doubt, thus the clear choice of foreign policy solutions in a Bush v. Dean major party contest.

Is our foreign policy framework a virtual Augean stables requiring a herculean effort to make ready for a new age? Or is our traditional foreign policy consensus from 1945-2001 still the right long-term framework for handling today's challenges?

My answer to that is clear. A Dean administration based on the same old, same old principles he currently advocates would be a disaster of the first order for the United States. Whether that view, or its polar opposite is the prevailing sentiment of voters in November is very much up for grabs.

Posted by TMLutas at December 22, 2003 12:10 PM