Thursday, May 15, 2008

"Liberal Internationalism"

There's an interesting discussion here over a short piece by Matt Yglesias, author of the recently released Heads in the Sand: How the Republicans Screw Up Foreign Policy and Foreign Policy Screws Up the Democrats, in which Yglesias argues for Democrats should embrace a "liberal internationalist" foreign policy. He argues that despite the Bush administration's international failings,
[Democrats] have not articulated a compelling account of why Bush is failing, or outlined a coherent alternative vision. Instead, Democrats' seem stuck in a futile effort to reduce national-security policy-making to personal characteristics like Barack Obama's vaunted "judgment" or Clinton's oft-mentioned "experience." These are supposed to contrast with Bush's original foreign-policy sin: incompetence. Years of disastrous governance have succeeded in convincing people of at least the last of these assertions, Bush is now the least-popular president ever, and Democrats have seized control of Congress. Yet, with Bush off the ballot, this kind of personalized critique will have little continuing salience and will not convince the public that liberals have the answers the country needs.
Responses to Yglesias are provided by David Rieff, senior fellow at the World Policy Institute and author of At the Point of a Gun: Democratic Dreams and Armed Intervention; Justin Logal, senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and National Review columnist; Derek Chollet, senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and co-author of America Between Wars: from 11/9 to 9/11; and Anne Marie Slaughter, Dean of Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.

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