April 5, 2008


The Passivist: Matthew Yglesias proves that doves, too, bury their heads in the sand: a review of Heads in the Sand: How the Republicans Screw Up Foreign Policy and Foreign Policy Screws Up the Democrats, by Matthew Yglesias (James Kirchick, City Journal)

In Yglesias’s estimation, the terrorist attacks of September 11 have not changed the world scene appreciably; thus, the U.S. should return to the foreign policy approach it took during the Clinton years. He asserts that this brand of foreign policy—a “liberal internationalism” that places its hopes in multilateralism, international institutions, and a restrained role for the United States in international affairs —“was working well in the 1990s.” Never mind that NATO’s war against Serbia (which Yglesias says he supported) had to be undertaken without the blessing of the United Nations, or that most Democrats in Congress opposed the Persian Gulf War despite the large international coalition that waged it. Nor does Yglesias mention the Rwandan genocide, a 100-day slaughter of nearly a million people that the U.N. did nothing to prevent. Moreover, Yglesias does not grapple with the problems presented by an important “liberal internationalist” institution of the nineties: the post–Gulf War sanctions regime in Iraq, which took an enormous toll on the Iraqi people while simultaneously being undermined by Saddam Hussein.

The far Right too believes that a few million dead Arabs and Africans aren't worth 4,000 dead American servicemen. Such is the calculus of nationalism.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 5, 2008 6:31 AM

Yglesias wants to return to the post WWI/WWII settlement where there were two superpower blocs balancing each other and international bodies created to give a showplace for the two rivals to preen and preach. Those days are gone and aren't coming back, instead we are back in Kipling's World, where regional powers thrust and parry at one another, frigates have to maintain the sea-lanes, and a punitive expedition to Lower Revoltia is setting out. A much more wild and wooly world than the elaborate drawing room sketches of the Post-War Settlements.

Posted by: Mikey [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 5, 2008 8:03 AM

Yglesias is always being portrayed as a sane lefty
blogger. Never seen much evidence of that being true.

Posted by: Bob at April 5, 2008 9:02 PM