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U-N-I-T-Y

I'm surprised that David Adesnik is surprised by the lack of foreign policy unanimity among Democrats on display at the convention. Anyone who knows anything about the views of Republican elected officials will know that the extent of their agreement on substantive issues consists entirely of the two observations that George W. Bush is president of the United States and that George W. Bush is a Republican. When there was no GOP president, Republicans were all over the map on national security issues. Democrats are usually more fractious than Republicans so even once Kerry's in the White House they won't achieve GOP-like levels of pseudo-agreement on the issues, but there will be a lot of than you see right now. This is just the way foreign policy works in this country -- if Bush had decided to invade Somalia instead of Iraq, you wouldn't see 90 percent of registered Republicans complaining that he was ignoring the "grave and gathering threat" of Saddam Hussein -- they would have worried instead about the growth of terrorist groups in the Horn of Africa. If combat went smoothly, Democrats would support the Somali War as well, but if it went poorly they would accuse the administration of neglecting important issues like Iraq.

Outside of a very small community of foreign policy specialists, neither Americans nor American politicians have any real views on these issues except for an ability to identify the views of politicians they admire. It's no coincidence that Andrew Sullivan soured on Bush's conduct in Iraq after Bush endorsed the FMA -- suddenly he didn't seem like a leader worth following, "toughness" stopped being so important, and it became time for a break from the frenetic activity of the Bush years.

Unless you're in the grips of an extraordinarily rigid ideology (like this hyper-dogmatic view Mark Kleiman attributes to all libertarians) then there's not going to be any especially clear connection between your domestic policy views and your foreign policy views. America's parties, meanwhile, are interest group coalitions and the interests in question are overwhelmingly interested in domestic questions. So people sign up for the coalition they're most comfortable with and find themselves agreeing not at all about foreign policy questions except for the fact that you should (a) support the troops, and (b) call whatever it is you happen to be doing an effort to spread freedom/democracy/goodness through the world.

July 29, 2004 | Permalink

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Comments

Yeah, but almost all of the Republicans want to destroy the Islamofascists, whereas the Democrats want to co-host pot luck dinners with Al Qaeda.

Posted by: praktike | Jul 29, 2004 3:27:26 PM

Now I know where all the "cynical" flavored kool-aid went...

Not that I disagree with your general point...

Posted by: Bob | Jul 29, 2004 3:27:48 PM

praktike,
Is that because the dems are idiotarians or because they secretly hate america?

Posted by: theCoach | Jul 29, 2004 4:07:08 PM

"Unless you're in the grips of an extraordinarily rigid ideology (like this hyper-dogmatic view Mark Kleiman attributes to all libertarians) then there's not going to be any especially clear connection between your domestic policy views and your foreign policy views."

I think that statement only applies to America (and similarly isolationist in outlook countries). In most of the world you can fairly easily predict a person's foreign policy views based on their domestic policy views and parties are 90% united on particular issues. It doesn't always hold true, of course, but Iraq is far and away the most divisive issue (on the left) in a generation. And I'd still say there was a 75% correlation between left-wingedness and opposition to the war in Europe.

Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Jul 29, 2004 5:13:29 PM

The obersvation about bigtime Iraq supporters can't made strenuously enough. Well done.

Posted by: djw | Jul 29, 2004 5:19:33 PM

Actually, as I posted here the statement that Ginger Yellow refers to doesn't really apply in the US, either.

Posted by: Daniel Geffen | Jul 29, 2004 5:19:43 PM

"Lack of unanimity" among Democrats on foreign policy is an understatement, there doesn't seem to be any comprehensible foreign policy other than joining in chorus to bash the President. The first I've heard of anything related to the WOT was Edwards' "we will destroy them" line. It made my head spin. Did he mean that they will be destroyed, but only if they come back to New York? If Bush became the most-dangerous-man-in-the-world by invading Iraq in his prosecution of the WOT, why oh why would even the most gullible Democrat believe that Kerry would have the cookies to put American troops in another Islamic or third world country?

I look at Jimmy Carter and Michael Moore sharing prominent space at the convention with one eye and Messrs. Kerry and Edwards talking tough on national TV with the other. Putting these two in focus continues to elude me.

Posted by: Warthog | Jul 29, 2004 5:22:50 PM

The Democrats are united in their weakness and cowardice. The Republicans are united in their strength and resolve.

Posted by: Ed Gillespie | Jul 29, 2004 5:41:25 PM

Bush became the most-dangerous-man-in-the-world by invading Iraq in his prosecution of the WOT

To the contrary, Bush earned the world's contempt for his DERELICTION of the war on terror (i.e. the war against Al Qaeda) by invdading Iraq.

Posted by: blah | Jul 29, 2004 5:44:50 PM

Is that because the dems are idiotarians or because they secretly hate america?

Coach -

It's because the multiculturalist Left is in thrall to the Islamofascists; just as the environmentalists and aborto-philes worship extreme measures to limit population growth, so do the Islamists glorify death.

Posted by: praktike | Jul 29, 2004 6:07:26 PM

To the contrary, Bush earned the world's contempt for his DERELICTION of the war on terror (i.e. the war against Al Qaeda) by invdading Iraq.

That pretty much sums up why I hope we don't see a Dem in the WH for the next 100 years.

Posted by: Warthog | Jul 29, 2004 6:08:06 PM

Imagining the Democrats don't have a foreign-policy plan is just the kind of silliness that develops when the media are totally right-wing.

The Democratic plan is pretty much unchanged from the days of Woodrow Wilson- support international law, resolve international disputes in an international forum, and harness our domestic output for world markets by a system of Congressional treaties and domestic improvements.

But, you know how that goes- if the Democrats don't tell you what they're going to do, "They have no plan", if they do tell you, "It's a conspiracy".

Posted by: serial catowner | Jul 29, 2004 6:14:20 PM

OMG! I'm in thrall to an Islamofascist? How will I ever figure out which one it is?

Posted by: serial catowner | Jul 29, 2004 6:17:31 PM

resolve international disputes in an international forum

Great. We are going to sue Al Qaida. I feel safer already.

Posted by: Warthog | Jul 29, 2004 6:34:27 PM

That pretty much sums up why I hope we don't see a Dem in the WH for the next 100 years.

I am sorry to hear that you don't want to destroy Al Qaeda. You are seriously messed up.

Posted by: blah | Jul 29, 2004 7:07:42 PM

Berlin, Germany, Jul. 29 (UPI) -- German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has expressed concern about Tehran's decision to resume nuclear enrichment activity, Deutsche Welle said Thursday.

Fischer told private German news channel N-TV he had "great concern" over news Tehran broke seals placed on enrichment equipment by the International Atomic Energy Agency and threatened to resume the manufacture and assembly of centrifuges.

Under a deal brokered in October with Britain, France and Germany, Iran agreed to suspend sensitive uranium enrichment programs, stop making centrifuges, allow tougher inspections and file a complete declaration of its nuclear activities.

But an intelligence report circulated by diplomats this week alleges Iranian officials were caught negotiating with a Russian company over the procurement of a substance that can boost nuclear explosions in atomic weapons.

Iran denies it is developing nuclear arms and claims its nuclear program is solely intended for peaceful purposes. Washington Times

Bush has put American boots on the ground on two Iranian borders and placed every square inch of Iran within range of American fighter-bombers. Bush has made alliances with Muslim nations in the Caspian Basin which effectively surrounds and isolates Iran. Germany's Fischer is "concerned." Kerry has never even mentioned Iran.

Posted by: Warthog | Jul 29, 2004 7:10:59 PM

Bush has put American boots on the ground on two Iranian borders and placed every square inch of Iran within range of American fighter-bombers.

1. We do not have sufficient troops to invade Iran, so their presence on the border is not really much help.

2. With the development of modern aircraft carriers, every square inch of Iran has been within the range of American fighter bombers long before Bush took office. Nice try though.

Bush has made alliances with Muslim nations in the Caspian Basin which effectively surrounds and isolates Iran.

Ha ha! Please Turkmenistan, help us counter the Iranian nuclear threat.

Posted by: blah | Jul 29, 2004 7:18:39 PM

For starters I am not advocating an immediate invasion of Iran. Having the immediate capacity to do so, however, would help in convincing the mullahs to give up their nuclear weapons development, if indeed such a thing can be done by words alone.

Turkmenistan, so far as I know, will not sink if hit by a Silkworm. Seaborne invasions are immensely costly.

The most difficult aspects of large scale military maneuvers are not numbers of troops but transportation and the logistical infrastructure necessary to supply them. Those things have already been accomplished in Iraq and to a lesser extent in Afghanistan (landlocked) and in our Caspian allies. Avoiding months and months of delay and preparation strengthens our hand in the region.

American presence in Iraq makes more sense when viewed in the context of dealing with Iran.

Posted by: Warthog | Jul 29, 2004 7:37:02 PM

For starters I am not advocating an immediate invasion of Iran. Having the immediate capacity to do so, however, would help in convincing the mullahs to give up their nuclear weapons development.

Maybe, but like I said, we don't have the immediate capacity to invade Iran. We apparently don't have sufficient capacity to provide enough troops to stabilize Iraq.

Posted by: blah | Jul 29, 2004 7:43:39 PM

We have the logistical infrastructure in place to quickly move any number of troops we might need for the task.

In the meantime I am going to watch France, Britain and Germany talk around their failure to denuke the mullahs.

Posted by: Warthog | Jul 29, 2004 7:52:50 PM

There is an article at this site purported to be the Democratic foreign policy platform.

http://www.daneshjoo.org/generalnews/article/publish/article_7386.shtml

If this is correct, and Kerry becomes President. We're dead.

Posted by: Warthog | Jul 29, 2004 9:01:31 PM

Warthog, why not just post a link to the document itself, rather than rely on a report designed for internal consumption in a non-Western country?

If you want the real thing, and don't want to rely on Warthog's shrill hysteria, click here.

If this is correct, and Kerry becomes President. We're dead.

From the Platform:

"We must put in place a strategy to win - an approach that recognizes the many facets of this mortal challenge and uses all the tools at our disposal. Agents of terrorism work in the shadows of more than 60 nations on every continent. The only path to victory will be found in the company of others, not walking alone. With John Kerry as our Commander-in-Chief, we will never wait for a green light from abroad when our safety is at stake, but we must enlist those whose support we need for the ultimate victory."

Good use of the word 'purported'. It reminds me of the radio newscaster who was fired for broadcasting on an Easter Sunday:

"This morning, millions of Christians throughout the world are celebrating the alleged resurrection of Jesus Christ."

Posted by: The Dark Avenger | Jul 30, 2004 3:19:15 AM

Warthog: The most difficult aspects of large scale military maneuvers are not numbers of troops but transportation and the logistical infrastructure necessary to supply them. Those things have already been accomplished in Iraq and to a lesser extent in Afghanistan (landlocked) and in our Caspian allies. Avoiding months and months of delay and preparation strengthens our hand in the region.

So by invading Iraq, the US now has too few troops to invade Iran, but it has a good foothold to invade Iran, if only it had the troops.
I had a chicken, but I wanted to make chicken soup, so I sold the chicken to buy a soup pot, and now I can make chicken soup - if only I had a chicken.

Thank you, Warthog, for pointing out that Afghanistan is (landlocked). It also has (almost no roads), (barely two airports worth the name), (no rail grid), (no POL network), (virtually non-existent electricity, water and sewage treatment grids) and (huge numbers of heavily armed bandits, including neo-Taliban, Iranian-backed Heratis, and narcotraffickers). In short, anyone thinking they can stage a major land offensive out of western Afghanistan needs to (have their fucking head examined).

Posted by: ajay | Jul 30, 2004 10:18:40 AM

All those reasons you stated that make military operations in Afghanistan difficult are accurate. They were also used as reasons why the US would not succeed against the Taliban.

That we did is the best evidence that US military planners are capable of putting together both the chicken and the pot even if the critics are not.

Posted by: Warthog | Jul 30, 2004 12:00:37 PM

That would have argued towards leaving the troops free so that we could at least threaten Iran with invasion from Afghanistan. Now we've got no military leverage on them at all.

Posted by: fling93 | Jul 30, 2004 2:06:09 PM

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