December 30, 2003

Reestablishing Foreign Policy Consensus

A society that has a regular changeover of governments both within a party and between parties is handicapped in foreign affairs if there is no consensus between all major parties on certain basic features of foreign policy. This solution has traditionally been adopted in the US but currently seems horribly broken. George W. Bush has broken the prior consensus in his declaration of war on terrorism and the Democrat party has refused to go with him, with most of the candidates for the nomination stuck in one form or another of implacable hostility to President Bush's new direction after 9/11.

But we will have to remake our consensus if we are to succeed, no matter what form that consensus takes ultimately. Here is an interesting article that hints that there is a considerable portion of the Democrat party that is on board with the War on Terror and will withhold votes until the Democrat party gets on board too.

This has got to be an awfully hard time for foreign analysts of the US. There is no consensus, asking what the US will do radically depends on the electoral shifts of the 2004 campaign. The US cannot be depended on to maintain its commitments until the consensus is reforged so everybody, friends, enemies, neutrals, has to work extra hard to hedge and consider, what ifs. Of course, with so much at stake and in delicate flux, the temptation arises to try to influence the elections in the US to be more congenial to some outside interest or another. It's a temptation that would be foolish to give in to.

Posted by TMLutas at December 30, 2003 03:53 PM