April 27, 2004

Berger's Vision: The Fisking XII

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 XII is below:

The Democratic approach to resolving disputes with Europe over treaties should be pragmatic, focused on improving flawed agreements rather than ripping them up. International law is not self-enforcing. It does not, by itself, solve anything. But when our goals are embodied in binding agreements, we can gain international support in enforcing them when they are violated. By the same token, nothing undermines U.S. authority more than the perception that the United States considers itself too powerful to be bound by the norms we preach to others.

A useful corollary might be not to sign things that can't get past the Senate. Kyoto would still be under negotiation if it were not for Sandy Berger's old boss Bill Clinton signing away what he knew would have to be unsigned. Signing treaties that you know are unacceptable to the national interest is a good way to set up talking points in the next election but is highly deleterious to our nation's standing. It is a poor principle that no matter what is signed at the 11th hour, no agreement is too lopsided, unfair, or unworkable to deserve repudiation by the next government. Truly adopting such an idea would be a step backwards for our system of government as we went back to the old style of transitions where hostility reigned and damn the national interest.

Posted by TMLutas at April 27, 2004 02:02 AM