Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

The Parties and Foreign Policy

In the LA Times, Ronald Brownstein argues that the Bush proposal to reduce the numbers of U.S. troops in Europe and Asia, and Kerry’s stated opposition to that move, represent a switching of foreign policy positions between the two parties. Brownstein notes that the arguments the president has used in favor of his proposal are identical to those employed by Bill Clinton in 1992.

Well, maybe, but this assumes that one ought to take seriously anything that Clinton said regarding foreign affairs in 1992. It will be recalled that in that campaign he faulted the G.H.W. Bush administration for leaving Saddam Hussein in power and "appeasing" Red China. Of course, once in office Clinton pursued a foreign policy that was practically indistinguishable from that of his predecessor. The current president’s policy broke with this tradition, of course, but this was more the product of 9/11 than any natural predilection on Bush’s part. As I’ve said before, I would expect that in the event of a Kerry victory in November the current strategy would continue, in large part, to be followed, no matter what Kerry the candidate may say now.

Discussions - 2 Comments

The reason Don Rumsfeld was brought into this administration was, in large part, to make exactly these sorts of changes!

It was never thought he would be a wartime Secretary of Defense, but that he would reprise his old role of bureaucratic assassin in order to transform a Cold War DoD into something appropriate to today’s threats.

That he’s had to fight two wars (or one war, and more battles, depending on who one wants to play the semantics) while engaging in this reform is a testament to the man’s managerial abilities. You are right -- he is laying this blueprint out as policy, and it will be followed in large part by the next administration, whether it’s Bush or Kerry. He’ll deserve his country’s gratitude for the good work -- but most folks won’t even realize it. That’s Rumsfeld.

Brownstein can play Clinton apologist all he wants, but the truth is that his administration was incapable of dealing with post-Cold War DoD reform. So the only reform they engaged in was cutting the budget. No reform at all, really.

CIA personnel, civilians cited in abuse
By Tom Squitieri and Dave Moniz, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — More than two dozen U.S. military intelligence personnel and at least five civilian contractors will be implicated in the Army’s latest investigation of prisoner abuse in Iraq. (I don’t think your going to be able to stop this until it gets your hero of the people Donald Rumfeld.)

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