The difference between theory and practice

Political science professor, proud neoconservative and foreign policy blogger extraordinaire Donald Douglas gas noted the possible changes coming from te Obama Administration concerning American foreign policy:

Shocker! Obama Pentagon to Bury Bush Doctrine

If there’s one thing leftists hate more than anything else about the foreign policy of George W. Bush, it was the administration’s bold willingness to use force in defense of American interests.So as the Pentagon prepares for its Quadrennial Defense Review, leftists are getting a chance to demonize the previous administration once more (see, “Bush Preemptive Strike Doctrine Under Review, May Be Discarded“). While it’s almost comical that this strategic assessment is being framed as a way to revise U.S. doctrine on preemptive war (since President Obama is the personification of exactly the opposite), you’ve got to love how Daily Kos

represents the Bush administration’s foreign policy:

 

Preemption, that is, initiating a first strike against another nation that appears to be preparing an imminent attack or is already in the process of launching one is not particularly controversial. It’s self-defense. And every nation has the right to it. Supporters of preventive war, on the other hand, argue for strategically attacking nations which may, someday, pose a military threat. Preventive war cannot, therefore, be distinguished from a war of aggression, a violation of the most fundamental international law ….

It’s this kind of thinking which says it’s not only OK but downright prudent to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities to prevent that country from ever building its own nuclear weapons. Moral issues aside, from a strictly utilitarian point of view, such thinking is no different from saying that torturing an enemy soldier is OK: It lets that enemy or a future enemy justify the torture of one’s own soldiers. If it’s all right for the U.S. to strike preventively at Iran, why isn’t it all right for the same to be done by Iran – which during the Cheney-Bush administration had good reason to believe it was under threat of attack?

But let’s be blunt about practicality here: President Obama, in one of his better foreign policy decisions, concluded last March that Islamic extremism/Talibanism was a single problem in both Afghanistan and Pakistan; while there could be be different responses to it in the different countries, it was all the same problem. The supposed international border between those two nations means a lot more to diplomats at the United Nations than it does to the people who live in the region.

In that, our policy under President Obama has been to go after both al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan; because Pakistan has atomic weapons, the possibility of Pakistan falling to the Taliban is simply not acceptable. Whether President Obama and his foreign policy team officially dumps the Bush Doctrine, in practice, where it counts the most, the Obama Administration, at least for the present, is continuing the Bush Doctrine in this most critical of areas.

Dr Douglas concluded:

But what’s especially bothersome is the Daily Kos passage above suggesting “the perniciousness of American exceptionalism.” This concept is fundamentally at issue in leftist foreign policy in Washington, and it’s the current administration’s abandonment of America’s foundational uniqueness that is placing Americans and citizens of the world at greater risk than in other other time in decades.

As I’ve said many times before, it won’t be too soon when American voters reject Barack Neville Hussein and his Democratic (Socialist) Party at the ballot box. In the meanwhile, conservatives can gather strength in the increasing indicators showing that the current administration’s days are indeed numbered.

I share Dr Douglas’ concern about the direction in which our friends on the left would take American foreign policy, but, at least in this one situation, the President has not (yet) surrendered to Islamic fascism.

11 Comments

  1. Douglas the neocon opines: “But what’s especially bothersome is the Daily Kos passage above suggesting “the perniciousness of American exceptionalism.” This concept is fundamentally at issue in leftist foreign policy in Washington, and it’s the current administration’s abandonment of America’s foundational uniqueness that is placing Americans and citizens of the world at greater risk than in other other time in decades.”

    No, not “the current administration’s abandonment”, but the neocon’s abandonment of “America’s foundational uniqueness” that is placing people “at greater risk than in [any] other time in decades”.

    I think that this neocon philosophy actually dates back to the Korean War and McCarthyism, together with the beginnings of the military-industrial complex in that same period. We saw ourselves as exceptional, and we were in some ways then, like the Marshall Plan in Europe and MacArthur in Japan. But then, MacArthur was about to move on from Korea into Manchuria with bombs, until Truman pulled him back. MacArthur was an indicator of times to come, in which we became willing to initiate wars of choice on foreign lands, like Vietnam, like Iraq, and now like Afghanistan.

    Now neocon Douglas wishes us to do the same, while using pejoratives such as “Barack Neville Hussein Obama” and “Democratic (Socialist) Party”. That kind of rhetoric raises a red flag. As an aside, Mr. Douglas should be asked about his position on the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. It all goes together, folks!

    Let’s use a little reasoning here. Knowing that al-Qaeda can find safe haven in a multitude of locations globally, as well as can readily find funding sources, what will we gain by continuing the fight in Afghanistan? This is a crucial question!

    We have made a commitment in Afghanistan, not to fight, but to build, so let us transition from the fighting to the nation building, training police and army, rebuilding destroyed infrastructure, supporting educational and cultural institutions, while providing security where needed in a more passive manner. We must also support the formation of a legitimate government there, past the flawed election to a run-off vote, and to the uprooting of the massive corruption that exists in their government. In addition, militarily, I support the Biden approach of scaling back to surgical strikes and special forces activities, backed by good intel, to root out the terrorists.

    Regarding al-Qaeda, they are holed up in Pakistan, who along with the Taliban are wreaking havoc and further destabilizing that country. Therefore we must support the legitimate government there to the extent that we can, without directly interfering with their internal affairs, a tricky tightrope there for us to walk.

    So enough with the neocons, enough with Mr. Douglas, because all they are pushing is the same approach that has bogged us down for decades upon decades. I am hopeful that Obama does not get suckered in to repeating these mistakes.

  2. So if we want Obama to do the right thing regarding pre-emption we need to make sure every nation has nukes that way there will be plenty of incentive, as with Pakistan. I’d say Obama is well on his way to reaching this goal.

  3. We have made a commitment in Afghanistan, not to fight, but to build, so let us transition from the fighting to the nation building, training police and army, rebuilding destroyed infrastructure, supporting educational and cultural institutions, while providing security where needed in a more passive manner.

    Passive is just going to encourage the Taliban and Al Qaida to go back to taking over Afghanistan.

    You don’t win a football game by only playing defense, even if your defense is very good. Eventually, the enemy will find a way to score …

  4. Eric, put yourself in the place of these Afghan civilians, and see how you would feel about the originators of those bullets.

    And sad as well was the American officer who tried to blame the killings on the insurgents. I guess to survive mentally, the perpetrator has to slink to these rationalizations.

  5. And sad as well was the American officer who tried to blame the killings on the insurgents. I guess to survive mentally, the perpetrator has to slink to these rationalizations.

    What does that have to do with the fact that the commanding general in Afghanistan has been requesting 40,000 troops to get the job done? Presumably, like Petraeus in Iraq, he knows what he’s talking about. Obama should quit playing like Hamlet, make a decision, and give the general what he wants. This dither-dather accomplishes nothing, and if he keeps it up, he’ll go down as another Jimmy Carter.

  6. How can you even post that? Abandoning Bush foreign policy will not put more Americans at risk, it will do the opposite. United States has been, through CIA, screwing the rest of the developing world over and over again. Humanitarian reasons do not drive our foreign policy, economics do.

    In that past if it was beneficial for America to suppress democratic movement and install dictators who will be favorable to us. Having our soldiers in those countries does not make us safer, it gives the people an enemy to hate and unite against. Place yourself in a position of an Iraqi man. Have they suffered any less than what they suffered under Saddam? Are we as a nation better of after invading Iraq?

  7. Golden Arple wrote: Place yourself in a position of an Iraqi man. Have they suffered any less than what they suffered under Saddam?

    According to my daughter, Iraqis have thanked the US military and the Coalition forces for being there. And all that video of Iraqi men and women proudly showing their inked-up fingers strongly suggest the same thing. The fact Saddam was paying families of suicide-bombers 25k each and isn’t anymore says free nations are indeed better off.

  8. United States has been, through CIA, screwing the rest of the developing world over and over again.

    What a load of left wing cynical horse shit. The Left hates America, so they spew out this nonsense every chance they get.

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