« Beldar on BlogTalkRadio | Main | On the Rutgers' player's defamation case against Imus »

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Giuliani in Foreign Affairs: "Stay the Course ver. 2.0"

I was prepared in my guest role in OTB's BlogTalkRadio broadcast tonight to also discuss Rudy Giuliani's article in Foreign Affairs entitled "Toward a Realistic Peace." My host there, probably not alone among conservatives and certainly with vast numbers of liberals, have reacted with outright derision; Dr. Joyner's post, for example, is entitled Rudy Giuliani’s Dangerously Stupid Foreign Policy Vision. And at least his co-blogger Alex Knapp was prepared to agree; I'm not sure about Steve Verdon. So I was prepared for a spirited discussion in which I'd be heavily outnumbered. Alas, we ran out of time. (The others may think I filibustered to achieve that result, but I didn't intend to!)

I've left a couple of comments on Dr. Joyner's post already that I won't repeat here, but for those of you whose other commitments as such that you can't spare time to read the roughly 6000 words in Rudy's piece, I'll give you my take here.

The article's own summary is kind of bland, although generally accurate:

The next U.S. president will face three key foreign policy challenges: setting a course for victory in the terrorists' war on global order, strengthening the international system the terrorists seek to destroy, and extending the system's benefits. With a stronger defense, a determined diplomacy, and greater U.S. economic and cultural influence, the next president can start to build a lasting, realistic peace.

The key big-picture paragraph is at the end:

After the attacks of 9/11, President Bush put America on the offensive against terrorists, orchestrating the most fundamental change in U.S. strategy since President Harry Truman reoriented American foreign and defense policy at the outset of the Cold War. But times and challenges change, and our nation must be flexible. President Dwight Eisenhower and his successors accepted Truman's framework, but they corrected course to fit the specific challenges of their own times. America's next president must also craft polices to fit the needs of the decade ahead, even as the nation stays on the offensive against the terrorist threat.

Giuliani is prepared to be Ike to Dubya's Truman, in other words (except for Ike's defense spending cuts). But he's still going to be somewhere between 178 and 182 degrees directly opposite the course that Sen. Clinton or Sen. Obama would take. (If you want to bring John Edwards, Dennis Kucinich, or Ron Paul into the comparison, we're going to need to extend the metaphor into at least four dimensions, and my math isn't that good.) This is traditional Daddy-party Republicanism, and Daddy's wearing a tie, but he also is wearing a belt and he sometimes has a short temper, so don't make him come back there. And if there's an over-riding theme to the entire piece, it's that we should play to our strongest points, not stand pat on them or let them degrade.

Another shorthand description: Giuliani's talking a continuation of the Wilsonian/Neocon approach rather than a Brent Scowcroft/James A. Baker III "realism" approach. "Idealism should define our ultimate goals; realism must help us recognize the road we must travel to achieve them." I read that to mean: "If possible, I'll be 'realistic' enough to keep us out of any new specific engagements that will require longer commitments than the American attention span is suited for. (But no guarantees.)"

One major revision between ver. 1 and ver. 2: No more Pollyanna. Rudy promises to tell it grim when it looks grim.

If Afghanistan and Iraq can get "accountable, functioning governments that can serve the needs of their populations, reduce violence within their borders, and eliminate the export of terror," that's a win there in Rudy's book. He's pretty clearly thinking South Vietnam circa 1972 as the model, where our ground forces are mostly out, our young allies can stand up mostly on their own, but we're still actively backing them as necessary with air and naval power, intelligence, and economic and military aid until they can grow to look more like South Korea does now.

More defense spending, and a bigger military, starting with 10 new combat brigades. (I interpret this to mean Stryker-type forces for counter-insurgency operations.) Tanker aircraft, subs (probably rigged to drop SEALs and gear), and long-range bombers, all of which I again read (contra Dr. Joyner) to be intended jointly for strategic and counter-insurgency use. Star Wars ver. 2.0 to shoot down a North Korean nuke or the like.

Re-evaluate NATO and foreign basing. Don't talk to enemies just for the sake of talking; be willing to menace silently, glower, and manipulate with gusto whenever appropriate. (Those are of course my blunt paraphrases, since they'd be undiplomatic for him to write.) Teddy Roosevelt "speak softly/carry a big stick" diplomacy, in other words. Ad hoc coalitions as need be, regionally or otherwise (special hat tips to Britain, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and India). A vigorous slap for the U.N., which "can be useful for some humanitarian and peacekeeping functions, but we should not expect much more of it." And this will pucker some orifices in one particular balmy Caribbean "people's paradise": America "must stand ready to help the Cuban people reclaim their liberty and resist any step that allows a decrepit, corrupt regime from consolidating its power under Raúl Castro." (Apparently the 1962 missile crisis deal expires when Fidel does, the Soviet Union having already preceded him to Hell.) Similarly: Get really righteous with us on terrorism if you ever want to see that Palestinian state, y'all over in Gaza and the West Bank; in the meantime, we're standing in Israel's corner.

Finally: Giuliani's "respect yourself enough to insist on fixing the damned broken windows every time they get broken" theory writ global: Use capitalism aggressively to win everywhere long term around the world. Make have-not countries into stakeholders in civilization. Private direct investment, not foreign aid. Cultural exchanges between the U.S. and "Muslim countries that we hope to plug into the global economy."

That's about it. I like it. This is meat and potatoes for the GOP base. I'll be surprised, though, if the other major GOP candidates have much more or different to say on these same foreign policy topics. The question is: Can they say the same stuff as convincingly as Rudy does?

Posted by Beldar at 11:55 PM in Global War on Terror, Politics (2007) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Giuliani in Foreign Affairs: "Stay the Course ver. 2.0" and sent a trackback ping are listed here:


(1) stan made the following comment | Aug 17, 2007 12:29:00 PM | Permalink


Why does everyone focus on democracy in Iraq as the goal? The goal is to convince as many Muslims as possible that the terror model is a bad idea. Democracy in Iraq is just a means to the bigger goal.

Now we see that Muslims around the world in general and in Iraq specifically are getting fed up with the terrorists. That means we are winning!

We have stayed in Iraq long enough to start convincing the Muslim world that the terrorists are the bad guys. We need to continue to stay until we can conclude that our presence is no longer useful. I suspect that will require some large changes in Iran.

Iran is at war with us. I'd rather be fighting them in Iraq and Afghanistan than here.

The comments to this entry are closed.