April 26, 2004

Berger's Vision: The Fisking VI

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 VI is below:

The real "clash of civilizations" is taking place within Washington. Considering the open differences between Secretary of State Colin Powell and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, it is even playing out within the Bush administration itself. It is not really a clash over discrete policy issues -- the merits of the war in Iraq, the costs of the Kyoto Protocol, or the level of spending on foreign aid, for example -- but between diametrically opposed conceptions of America's role in the world. It is a battle fought between liberal internationalists in both parties who believe that our strength is usually greatest when we work in concert with allies in defense of shared values and interests, versus those who seem to believe that the United States should go it alone -- or not go it at all.

This is simply misstating the situation at hand. Yes there are fights but they are fights of action versus inaction. Nobody has made a single speech, opinion piece, or policy paper advocating going it alone rather than with more allies as a preferential strategy. The question is whether the loss of any ally should cause us to stop our fight when we can bear the burden and achieve victory alone. Sure, going it alone is more risky and carries a greater burden in both blood and treasure. That is not the same as "go it alone -- or not go it at all."

Why would someone who has served at the highest level of government in our diplomatic service make such an obvious blunder? They wouldn't and that makes this partisan spin, not honest policy prescription. The real dividing line is who are the essential allies who may, by their real or threatened withdrawal, extract any concession in a coalition in order that the operation may go forward at all? If such allies exist, they should be named. Berger never does name them because to do so would expose the utter bankruptcy of the position. The greatest power in the world would be revealed as a horse and we would know the identities of the riders.

From a political viewpoint, it is much better to just saddle up and let our betters choose the rider of the day. Is that what serious Democrat foreign policy has come to in this century?

Posted by TMLutas at April 26, 2004 08:45 AM