August 31, 2007


Hot Policy Wonks For The Democrats: The New Realists: See Ya, Dick Holbrooke! Neo-Liberalism Is Passé, Anti-Ideologues Surge (Jason Horowitz, August 14, 2007, NY Observer)

For years, top Democratic advisers on foreign policy have been drawn from the neoliberal or “Wilsonian” school. Its adherents at the Progressive Policy Institute, the Democratic Leadership Council and, of course, the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University advocate that a Democratic president project the country’s strength to spread American values. Most of the members of the school favor a careful withdrawal from Iraq, and they are, for the most part, committed multilateralists. But they also argue that the Iraq experience should not discourage future interventions or engagement in support of American values, especially in the Middle East. In an interdependent world, they argue, more democracy, liberty and rule of law will ultimately increase American security.

Ms. Flournoy, a 46-year-old former Department of Defense official in the Clinton administration, and her colleagues think the war in Iraq and the country’s plummeting reputation abroad changes the equation, and that the next president may have to reign in his or her ambitions when it comes to the projection of American power.

As Ms. Flournoy and CNAS co-founder Kurt Campbell wrote in an influential June policy paper called The Inheritance and the Way Forward, “First, U.S. strategy must be grounded in a common sense pragmatism rather than ideology. U.S. national security strategy must be based on a clear-eyed assessment of the challenges and opportunities of the new security environment as well as realistic objectives derived from our national interests.”

These self-styled realists feel chastened by the raft of problems inherited from the Iraq war and want to ratchet back direct American engagement, concentrate more on rebuilding America’s reputation and, not unlike the paleoconservatives who guided foreign policy under George H.W. Bush, let national interests be the nation’s guide.

While some of this is just a short term function of their becoming the reactionary party, in the longer it's hard to imagine a secular Darwinist party caring about the liberation of foreigners.

Odd Man Out: What Bayard Rustin Would Tell The Democrats (James Kirchick, 08.31.07, TNR Online)

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 31, 2007 7:29 AM

I saw somewhere the other day that Nixon revered Wilson.


Posted by: Ibid at August 31, 2007 8:43 AM

Odd Man Out is a must read article.

I'm forwarding it to my pacifist friends and their fellow travelers.

Posted by: genecis at August 31, 2007 11:07 AM

No time to read it but by 'reputation' she may just mean what her friends in other nations foreign ministry feel.

Our reputation is that we destroy dictatorships and are a great place to emigrate to. We have no motivating ideology, our enemies do in all their 'isms.'

Posted by: JAB at August 31, 2007 11:53 AM

Nope. can't get out of the trap: can't chew the Israel arm off.

Posted by: Lou Gots at August 31, 2007 7:14 PM