October 13, 2008


The Empire Strikes Out: Interview: Soldier-scholar Andrew Bacevich talks about his hot new foreign policy book, a less-costly Afghanistan strategy, and why he's disappointed with both McCain and Obama. (Michael Mechanic, October 13, 2008, Mother Jones)

Mother Jones: In terms of foreign policy, do you think it matters who wins next month?

Andrew Bacevich: It matters, but not nearly as much as the candidates would have us believe. And this is a disappointment to me. I had hoped that an Obama candidacy would help to create conditions in which we would have a debate over the fundamentals of foreign policy and national security policy. I think what we're ending up with is a debate over operational priorities: McCain is arguing, "Elect me president and I will deliver victory in Iraq, which is the central front in the global war on terror." Obama says, "Elect me; I will send more troops to Afghanistan because that's a central front on the global war on terror." That difference is based on a consensus that the global war on terror provides the correct framework in which to think about US national security policy. [...]

MJ: During the first debate, Obama noted that China is active in Latin America, Asia, and Africa. He said, "The conspicuousness of their presence is only matched by our absence, because we've been focused on Iraq. We have weakened our capacity to project power around the world because we have viewed everything through this single lens." That struck me as an affirmation of our militaristic foreign policy.

AB: I think that you're correct. It's signaling his deference to a conception of America's role in the world. "Global power projection" is one of those cornerstone concepts that implies a big military establishment, high military spending, and a network of bases scattered around to support and sustain the projection of power.

Senator Obama is perceived as so weak on national defense and so featherweight on foreign policy that he'd be likely to have to use force far more quickly than a President McCain just to establish some credibility.

Posted by Orrin Judd at October 13, 2008 8:50 PM
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