April 29, 2004

Berger's Vision: The Fisking XXIII

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 XXIII is below:

What Democrats must offer is a sense of realism: when the United States goes to war it had better be prepared to stay where it has fought, to fix what it has broken, and to work with allies for years, if necessary, to consolidate its victories. We must demonstrate staying power, not just firepower, whether in the Balkans or Afghanistan or Iraq.

It just amazes me that a member of the administration that ran home from Somalia with its tail between its legs after one horrific incident (Black Hawk Down) can write the above paragraph and not even tangentially address the credibility chasm that Democrats bring to the table on the issue of sticking out reverses and staying the course in foreign interventions. But it's worse than ignoring Somalia and the other examples of Democrat ADHD (yes, there are Republican examples too but President Bush has already made it clear that they were a mistake, something that's lacking on the Democrat side). One of the scary features about our political system is that governments change regularly for domestic political reasons. If there is no consensus on foreign policy, the US will never manage to stay the course because the incoming party will have an entirely different course in mind and foreign partners and opponents will develop an entirely unhealthy interest in US domestic politics. They will have to in order to arrange their own affairs.

So where is the commitment to forging bipartisan consensus across party changeovers? It's nowhere to be found which means that we're likely to continue to get nasty last minute transition surprises when we go from Democrat to Republican administrations for the foreseeable future.

Posted by TMLutas at April 29, 2004 01:34 PM