April 28, 2004

Berger's Vision: The Fisking XIV

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 XIV is below:

As we re-engage in the peace process and rebuild frayed ties with our allies, what should a Democratic president ask of our allies in return? First and foremost, we should ask for a real commitment of troops and money to Afghanistan and Iraq. Now that NATO has finally agreed to lead an expanded peacekeeping mission in Afghanistan, there is a desperate need for European forces to augment the existing U.S. military presence in the country, to ensure that it does not return to a state of chaos that threatens our interests. Afghanistan, with Pakistan, remains a frontline battleground in the war on terrorism. But given the state of transatlantic relations, there is little support in Europe for sending troops on dangerous missions there. A new administration will have to overcome this challenge if it is to restore security to Afghanistan and relieve the burden on U.S. forces.

This section denies the idea that transatlantic issues are anything more than one presidential administration's pique. If it weren't for that darn prickly George W Bush, France would not be talking about a multipolar world, trying to create a European Union that is a counterweight to the US. There would be no talk about an EU army competing with NATO. There would be no stereotypes of ugly americans floating around. But of course all this occurred during the Clinton administration too so it's very hard to tell where Berger is getting this idea that the only thing that has fundamentally changed has happened in the past few years and is exclusively on this side of the Atlantic.

Certainly the Bush administration is guilty of refusing to paper over differences and they did start off their relationship by stomping on the lit bags of feces left by the Clinton Administration (ICC & Kyoto). That didn't make things any better. But would smiling and playing nice, ignoring the ankle biting have improved things? Or would it just have worsened the US position. Without a frank recognition that the causes of friction exist on both sides of the relationship, it's impossible to even address the question. This is embarrassing for a senior diplomatic voice to offer up in a serious piece for a magazine like Foreign Affairs.

Posted by TMLutas at April 28, 2004 12:21 AM