Crystal Ball: Kerry Foreign Policy

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Josh Marshall has an article coming in the next Atlantic 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 2000?the 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 networks?the 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 terror?in 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

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    gilschgilsch Posts: 1,995member
    Interesting stuff. Too tired to read all of it(and comment), but it will make great reading material for tomorrow's breakfast.
  • Reply 2 of 7
    giantgiant Posts: 6,041member
    What's interesting is that a kerry admin, as noted in the article, will likely follow a more in the realist tradition while fighting al-qaeda in a more rational and realistic manner. 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).
  • Reply 3 of 7
    fran441fran441 Posts: 3,715member
    Clark gave a speech on Foregin Policy yesterday in Manchester, NH. It was unfortunately overshadowed by the VP announcement but since he is going to be in Dayton with Edwards and Kerry, maybe it will get more press tomorrow.
  • Reply 4 of 7
    jimmacjimmac Posts: 11,898member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by giant

    What's interesting is that a kerry admin, as noted in the article, will likely follow a more in the realist tradition while fighting al-qaeda in a more rational and realistic manner. 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).



    After the unrealism we've been through it can't happen quick enough for me.
  • Reply 5 of 7
    giantgiant Posts: 6,041member
    Here's part one of the full Biden interview:



    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/arc..._27.php#003118
  • Reply 6 of 7
    aquaticaquatic Posts: 5,602member
    This stuff needs to be in ads and speeches because it is a stark contrast to Bush's house of company tools and Ivy League ideologue pompous windbags.
  • Reply 7 of 7
    neutrino23neutrino23 Posts: 1,522member
    A more centrist, less ideological foreign policy would be a breath of fresh air.
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