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Crystal Ball: Kerry Foreign Policy

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
This was an article from the Atlantic (I posted it to AO in june*) going over the general trend we can expect out of Kerry's likely foreign policy team.

http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/2004/07/marshall.htm

It's especially interesting now that we've seen pretty definitively that, regardless of party issues, another group needs to come in. Some of the changes noted in the article seem to have passed under the radar with all of the focus on the Bush team and the subsequent incorrect belief that there is no clear alternative philosophy. The comparisons on approaches to particular issues really highlight the difference.

Anyway, some interesting little bits:
Quote:
Democratic foreign-policy hands tend to be less ideologically driven than Republican ones. Their strengths lean toward technocratic expertise and procedural competence rather than theories and grand visions. This lack of partisan edge is best illustrated by the fact that two of Kerry's top advisers served on Bush's National Security Council staff as recently as last year (Beers as senior director for counterterrorism, and Flynt Leverett as senior director for Middle East initiatives). The team that advised candidate Bush in 1999 and 2000the so-called "Vulcans"was practically the mirror opposite of the Kerry team. Though all its members had served at least one stint in government, most had held political appointments rather than working for decades in the security bureaucracy, as Beers did. And whereas Kerry's team is the embodiment of the nation's professional national-security apparatus, key members of Bush's team, such as Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz, had spent entire careers trying to overthrow it.

....


By the mid-1990s this had led the Clinton Administration to focus on terrorism, failed states, and weapons proliferation, and as it did, its foreign-policy outlook changed. The key threats to the United States came to be seen less in terms of traditional conflicts between states and more in terms of endemic regional turmoil of the sort found in the Balkans. "The Clinton Administration," says Jonathan Winer, "started out with a very traditional Democratic or even mainstream approach to foreign policy: big-power politics, Russia being in the most important role; a critical relationship with China; European cooperation; and some multilateralism." But over the years, he went on, "they moved much more to a failed-state, global-affairs kind of approach, recognizing that the trends established by globalization required you to think about foreign policy in a more synthetic and integrated fashion than nation-state to nation-state."

As Winer argues, the threats were less from Russia or China, or even from the rogue states, than from the breakdown of sovereignty and authority in a broad geographic arc that stretched from West Africa through the Middle East, down through the lands of Islam, and into Southeast Asia. In this part of the world poverty, disease, ignorance, fanaticism, and autocracy frequently combined in a self-reinforcing tangle, fostering constant turmoil. Home to many failed or failing states, this area bred money laundering, waves of refugees, drug production, gunrunning, and terrorist networksthe cancers of the twenty-first-century world order.

In the Balkans, Holbrooke, Clark, and other leading figures found themselves confronting problems that required not only American military force but also a careful synthesis of armed power, peacekeeping capacity, international institutions, and nongovernmental organizations to stabilize the region and maintain some kind of order. Though the former Yugoslavia has continued to experience strife, the settlement in the Balkans remains the most successful one in recent memory, and offers the model on which a Kerry Administration would probably build. As Holbrooke told me, the Bush Administration's actions in Iraq have shown that the Administration understands only the military component of this model: "Most of them don't have a real understanding of what it takes to do nation-building, which is an important part of the overall democratic process."

It also includes this nice retelling of a conversation between Biden and Rice:
Quote:
When I interviewed Joseph Biden in late March, he recounted a conversation he'd had with Condoleezza Rice in the spring of 2002 about the growing instability that had taken hold after the Taliban was defeated, in late 2001. Biden told Rice he believed that the United States was on the verge of squandering its military victory by allowing the country to slip back into the corruption, tyranny, and chaos that had originally paved the way for Taliban rule. Rice was uncomprehending. "What do you mean?" he remembers her asking. Biden pointed to the re-emergence in western Afghanistan of Ismail Khan, the pre-Taliban warlord in Herat who quickly reclaimed power after the American victory. He told me: "She said, 'Look, al-Qaeda's not there. The Taliban's not there. There's security there.' I said, 'You mean turning it over to the warlords?' She said, 'Yeah, it's always been that way.'"

Biden was seeking to illustrate the blind spot that Democratic foreign-policy types see in Bush officials like Rice, who believe that if a rogue state has been rid of its hostile government (in this case the Taliban), its threat has therefore been neutralized. Democrats see Afghanistan as an affirmation of their own view of modern terrorism. As Fareed Zakaria noted recently in Newsweek, the Taliban regime was not so much a state sponsoring and directing a terrorist organization (the Republican view) as a terrorist organization sponsoring, guiding, and even hijacking a state (the Democratic view). Overthrowing regimes like that is at best only the first step in denying safe haven to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Equally important is creating the institutional bases of stability and liberalization that will prevent another descent into lawlessness and terrorin a word, nation-building.

Also, in case you haven't seen Wesley Clark's critique of the primary mistake made by the clique currently formulating policy, check it out:

http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/fea...405.clark.html

What's interesting is that a kerry admin, as noted in the Atlantic article, will likely follow a more in the realist tradition while fighting al-qaeda with a more rational and realistic approach. We've seen clearly that the Bush admin can't get past the idea of state conflicts, thus fundamentally misunderstanding the nature of the real threat. This delusion is so far that it manifests as devotion to mylorie's conspiracy theories revolving around Iraq as the sole source of terrorism against the US (WTC 03, OKC).

*rather than bump the old thread in AO, I figured it would be best to just start a new PO thread on the foreign policy changes we'll see.
post #2 of 9
The three figures (Holbrooke, Clark, Biden) mentioned in your post are all very respectable, smart and proven leaders . . . it heartens me to see that they are each playing a role in Kerry's future . . . it would be good for America if these guys helped steer it in the future.

I remember when Clark first started in his prez campaign. His statements regarding the failings of the Bush admin with regards to the WOT were the only political statements that I heard, anywhere, that realized the extent of networked interdependencies, -including cultural, economic and political forces other than merely military - that contribute to make up an effective 'war' effort . . . especially of the new type against a de-centered, ideo-religious opponent.

I'm glad that Kerry seems to understand those ideas.
and, I think that the conversation with Rice clearly shows that the Bush admin, though many of the members are clearly 'edumacated', are either too ideological to care, or are too much the products of specialization, compartmentalization and an education system that fosters those traits to be able to grasp the dispersed nature of what needs to happen in this 'war': the fine but vast balancing act between interlocking forces, agencies, nations, ideologies, interests and alliances (and even aesthetics): they either don't care or they have their noses buried in the corners concerned about their area or their job.
"They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
--George W Bush

"Narrative is what starts to happen after eight minutes
--Franklin Miller.

"Nothing...

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"They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
--George W Bush

"Narrative is what starts to happen after eight minutes
--Franklin Miller.

"Nothing...

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post #3 of 9
It's odd, isn't it, that instead of the old "hawk and dove" dichotomy between republicans and democrats, we're seeing the emergence of an "ideologically driven and impervious to facts" vs. "competent and pragmatic" paradigm.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #4 of 9
BTW: I DARE any Conservative who frequents these boards to actually read the entire Clark essay posted above, and HERE


I dare you . . .


infantile? perhaps, but nonetheless . . .
"They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
--George W Bush

"Narrative is what starts to happen after eight minutes
--Franklin Miller.

"Nothing...

Reply
"They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
--George W Bush

"Narrative is what starts to happen after eight minutes
--Franklin Miller.

"Nothing...

Reply
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
From what I can tell, one of the biggest differences between the repubs and dems right now is that while both groups tell their whole game plan to intellectuals, the repubs are the only group that create an accompanying distorted, but simplified, narrative for the less informed, AKA, their base (including, but not limited to, the uninformed and ignorant wealthy).

The dems would do well if they could assign a couple people to put together a simplified (but honest, of course) version for easy digestion. It's a far better plan, after all, so it seems to me it could be presented to the rest of the public without any padding.
post #6 of 9
Quote:
Originally posted by pfflam
BTW: I DARE any Conservative who frequents these boards to actually read the entire Clark essay posted above, and HERE


I dare you . . .

No responces from the right on that essay?! I didn't think there would be.

Most telling thing I saw in the RNConvention was when Guiliani linked the WOT directly with the Cold War, 'same strategy same situation' etc
WHich is one of the best points about the Clark essay= it is NOT the same!!

AND THEN, when Guiliani said that the 'Christians' in the Sudan were getting killed!!!
What a blunder, I am surprised that nobody has picked that up: the Sudan is a Muslim-against-Muslim war -Arabs against Darker skinned Africans!!

His distorted view, perhaps, stems from an implicit notion that this WOT is really a war against Muslim Civilization by Christians . . . revealing the implied notion that what is happening is some kind of 'Crusade' -I hope that isn't true, however I fear that that is the unconscious motivating factor with many NeoCon Republicans

also . . . I agree Giant, a nice media savy package that portrays the Democratic notion of working with others and decidedly against terror would be wise
The problem is that the Democrats are the Party of "smarts" ie: the 'elite', and they tend to dislike the necessary distortion of such simplifications . . . oh well . . .
"They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
--George W Bush

"Narrative is what starts to happen after eight minutes
--Franklin Miller.

"Nothing...

Reply
"They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we."
--George W Bush

"Narrative is what starts to happen after eight minutes
--Franklin Miller.

"Nothing...

Reply
post #7 of 9
Quote:
Originally posted by pfflam
(....)
also . . . I agree Giant, a nice media savy package that portrays the Democratic notion of working with others and decidedly against terror would be wise
The problem is that the Democrats are the Party of "smarts" ie: the 'elite', and they tend to dislike the necessary distortion of such simplifications . . . oh well . . .

Yeah, I thought the same thing.

The trouble is the republican message starts out simplistically and goes cartoonish from there.

It boils down to "Us good, them bad, we smash bad, hooray for us! Amen"

There really isn't any equivalent message for the Dems, and saying "complex problems have complex solutions" just reads as "do-nothing intellectual" to a lot of Americans.
They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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They spoke of the sayings and doings of their commander, the grand duke, and told stories of his kindness and irascibility.
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post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
I still don't understand why they don't at least try to get this message out a little more. It seems to me that Iraq has a lot of people realizing that these situations are more complex than we've been treating them.

One mistake the Kerry campaign seems to be making right now is pretending foreign policy = iraq. Iraq is just one small part of it. It's more of an example of how the overall fight against terrorism has been so poorly conducted. IMO, recognizing al-qaeda as an organic, stateless enemy strongly contrasts the bush admin's focus on states and is a relatively easy concept to grasp. The problem right now is that Kerry's team is still campaigning within the faulty model created by the Bush administration. By introducing a new way of approaching the problem, the criticisms about lack of substance would be replaced with a new model that most people would be willing to try, particularly considering how bad the Bush admin's WOT is going now.
post #9 of 9
No one's paying attention because JOHN KERRY IS ORANGE!

Republicans will not talk about this. FLIP FLOP! FLIP FLOP!

They don't want to argue the merits of their policy. DID YOU HEAR WHAT TERESA SAID! FLIP FLOP! JOHN KERRY'S ORANGE!

Where's Osama! PUT ON YOUR PURPLE HEART BANDAIDS! FLIP FLOP! FLIP FLOP! HEY, DID YOU KNOW JOHN KERY'S ORANGE!

No discussions here. Just mock and ridicule.
"The selfishness of Ayn Rand capitalism is the equivalent of intellectual masturbation -- satisfying in an ego-stroking way, but an ethical void when it comes to our commonly shared humanity."
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"The selfishness of Ayn Rand capitalism is the equivalent of intellectual masturbation -- satisfying in an ego-stroking way, but an ethical void when it comes to our commonly shared humanity."
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