Wednesday, May 13, 2009

I Don't See It

My colleague Jacob Heilbrunn posted an essay earlier this week about the lack of vision from the Republican party on foreign policy. I have no arguments with him there. He then asked hypothetically what would be the likely reaction if/when the Obama Administration improves relations with Russia and Iran? How would Republicans reactto this:
Any modus vivendi, particularly on the issue of nuclear arms, will require patience, but what if Obama ends up next year in Tehran, feted by adoring crowds, much as Richard M. Nixon headed to China?
Problem from my end is I don't see it happening. Not unless there is some major catastrophe in Pakistan that creates a World War II style alliance of convenience (perhaps bringing together Moscow, New Delhi and Tehran together with Washington).

The more urgent question is the vision of the Democratic party on foreign policy, since they are the party currently in power.

It is very hard to see the utility of even a modest surge in Afghanistan (the very notion seems so dated now) having much value if the situation in Pakistan continues to deteriorate.

Rather than an analogy with Nixon in China, I wonder if we could be approaching a Nixon in Cambodia situation, in which (as in Cambodia after 1970) our forces begin more aggressive incursions into Pakistan with the acquiescence of a no-longer neutral government there. The risks are obvious and scary.
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