April 26, 2004

Berger's Vision: The Fisking XI

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 XI is below:

A Democratic administration will need to reaffirm the United States' willingness to use military power -- alone if necessary -- in defense of its vital interests. But it will have no more urgent task than to restore America's global moral and political authority, so that when we decide to act we can persuade others to join us. Achieving this reversal will require forging a new strategic bargain with our closest allies, particularly in Europe. To this end, Washington should begin with a simple statement of policy: that the United States will act in concert with its allies in meeting global threats as a first, not last, resort. When we ask our allies to join us in military action, or in nation-building efforts in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan, we should be ready to share not just the risks but also the decision-making. That is what we did when NATO went to war in Bosnia and Kosovo, and what the administration irresponsibly failed to do when NATO invoked its collective defense clause to offer aid to the United States in Afghanistan. The U.S. side of the bargain must also include a disciplined focus on our true global priorities, starting with the war on terrorism, undistracted by petty ideological disputes over issues such as Kyoto, the ICC, and the biological weapons convention.

I expect that the US will not have to repeat the methods and tactics that we used in Afghanistan and Iraq because these were an artifact of the shift from peace to war. The cross-border entanglements where major political players are compromised by dictators are going to come out, have started coming out. As the scandalous behavior of all too many becomes clear, what will also come clear is that such behavior, no matter how profitable in the short run, will be exposed and will destroy reputation and livelihood when it is uncovered. A virtuous circle is starting to form and will emerge over the next few years cleaning up the politics both at home and abroad and reducing the influence that such compromised figures have in our foreign policy decisions.

This requires no new strategic bargain, merely a recognition that they've cleaned up their act and are acting in their own interest and no longer as shills for dictators. When we are truly negotiating with our allies, we can give them all that Sandy Berger says we should. The disturbing thought is when we have allied governments bought and paid for by our enemies Berger would still have us share command, share all information, and give them heavy influence over our actions.

It's also instructive that Kyoto, a treaty embodying principles preemptively rejected 95-0 by the US Senate is included in a list of 'petty ideological disagreements'. If anything is passed 95-0 in the US Senate, you can be very sure that this issue is not a subject of mere petty ideological disagreement.

Posted by TMLutas at April 26, 2004 03:22 PM