April 25, 2004

Berger's Vision: The Fisking III

Sandy Berger was commissioned by Foreign Affairs to produce a foreign policy essay for the next president from a Democrat perspective.

This is much too long to analyze in one shot, thus the numbered title, Part III is below:

Such negative feelings result in part from a natural resentment of U.S. military, economic, and cultural might, about which we can do little and for which we need not apologize. But they have been accentuated by the manner in which the Bush administration has pursued its goals. The administration's high-handed style and its gratuitous unilateralism have embittered even those most likely to embrace American values and invited opposition even from those with most to gain from American successes. All around the world, fewer and fewer people accept that any connection exists between their aspirations and the principles Washington preaches.

We are just starting to find out how many nations had prominent politicians bribed into supporting Saddam. In such an environment there was no realistic chance of either exposing the bribe takers or getting any sort of traditional coalition assembled against Saddam. Too many people were feeding on oil-for-food money, selling their souls for oil contracts.

The practicalities of such a situation are that you have to gather who you can so you can turn over the rock and expose the ugliness hidden underneath. Once that is done, you trace the threads back and find out who the corrupt were who went along with starving children to line their own pockets.

But Iraq is not unique. This nasty little scenario repeats in tyranny after tyranny. Our hands are not 100% clean either. There are forces in this country that have established interests in tyrannical, disconnected regimes and they shill for dictators to protect their financial interests.

The practical effect of not being high handed and unilateral is inaction, gridlock, and talk as a substitute for results. That might have been acceptable in the Clinton administration when we refused to recognize that the Islamists had declared war on the US but in wartime this is unacceptable.

Posted by TMLutas at April 25, 2004 08:08 AM