Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Realists Not Welcome in the Republican Party?

An interesting anecdote from Dan Drezner, who was a speaker at UCLA's "U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Rogue States: Engage, Isolate or Strike?" conference:

"The most amusing moment for me was when AEI's Danielle Pletka accused me of being on the far left -- because I suggested some realpolitik approaches to foreign policy (like prioritizing counterproliferation over democracy promotion). When informed of my party status later, Pletka replied, "well, he's not like any Republican I know!" Apparently, Brent Scowcroft, George H.W. Bush, George Schultz, and Henry Kissinger are now barred from entering AEI."

However, because that's also been a policy prescription outlined by Amitai Etzioni, perhaps the source of the confusion on Pletka's part (and perhaps a point of reconciliation between Dan and Amitai too?)

Danielle Pletka has not demonstrated intellectual depth, political acumen, or moral fiber in her analysis pieces. She is, at best, a propagandist for proto-fascism in US. For indeed this what US conservatism has become.

If I were Drfenzer I would consider her attack as a badge of honor.
The title of this gathering at UCLA's, "U.S. Foreign Policy Toward Rogue States: Engage, Isolate or Strike”, is quite telling and symptomatic of US conceptualizations of the World.

It uses the designation “Rouge States”, i.e. a moral judgment rendered by a moral authority. So who has died and made US the moral authority in the world? This is arrogance.

Or are they rouge because they dare not to be intimidated by US and pursue their own agenda?

The title also contains the world “Strike”; thus implying hubris. What is US now, God Almighty? With an infinite margin of error in pursuing her foreign policy objectives?

The whole conceptual framework is unproductive. May I suggest using costs vs. objectives as the framework? Conflating some sort of jingoistic moralization with foreign policy is only going to obfuscate what the achievable objectives could be and increase the cost.

This is plain foolish.
It also assumes that the US is still the driving actor. Hard to say that is the case now with North Korea or Iran, where other countries have more influence--unless the US just decides to do a kamikaze strike of its own.
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