Monday, January 24, 2005

More On The Inaugural Address - Updated 

It appears to me that Katie, over at A Constrained Vision, may need some glasses of her own. It looks like she is of the opinion that the President's foreign policy approach, as explained in his second inaugural address, will somehow lead to a new utopia in which the United States is taking out bad foreign leaders and only dealing with those nations that support our values. I think his doctrine will only lead to Iraq II, Iraq III, Iraq IV, and so on.

But please, don't just listen to me. In today's Washington Post, the President of the Council on Foreign Relations Richard Haass says that the promotion of freedom and liberty does not equate to a foreign policy. He is as sarcastic as I am about the whole thing:

What is critical is that the new Palestinian leaders do everything in their power to shut down terrorists. Holding off final-status negotiations until the residents of Nablus and Hebron are reading the Federalist Papers in Arabic will only frustrate young men and women and prompt them to give up on traditional politics and turn to terrorism.

Mr. Haass brings us back to reality by summarizing the foreign policy approach the United States has consistently followed, even if it has meant supporting some pretty ruthless regimes:

Trade-offs for the United States are unavoidable. President Bush's statement Thursday that "America's vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one" doesn't hold up to careful scrutiny. The United States has a vital interest in China helping to eliminate the North Korean nuclear program, in Russia helping to eliminate the Iranian one, in Pakistan going after al Qaeda, in Israelis and Palestinians making peace. We may prefer that China, Russia, Pakistan and Palestine also be democratic, but a preference is something markedly less than a vital interest. The United States simply cannot afford to allow promoting democracy to trump cooperation on what is truly essential.

I say enough of presenting a confusing picture to the rest of the world (which often resembles hypocrisy) by attacking Iraq but referring to China, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia as friends. Let's follow one simple ethical rule. If you directly go after us we are going to go after you.

(To see how messy the current situation can get in relation to one country, Pakistan, see CATO's Ted Galen Carpenter policy analysis here.)

UPDATE: Mr. Haass is appearing on C-Span's Washington Journal this morning, Tuesday, January 25th to discuss Mr. Bush's foreign policy and his article. You can catch it on if you do not have time to listen live.

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