Before the comments to the below post get overwhelmed, I though it best to move the debate between Sam Crane and Mike Needham ’04 (and others) about Bush’s foreign policy to a new thread. That debate left off with
You’re completely right that Jimmy Carter’s initial policy was to continue the “Republican” policy of detente (detente was “Republican” insofar as we define “Republican” to mean pre-1976 Republican Party civil war). I have not, do not, and most likely will not ever defend detente. Indeed, I was very pleased when Prof. Shanks asked the Record for a file photo of Prof. McAllister so the photo of Kissinger could finally be removed as his faculty facebook photo (hopefully by throwing in a Williams connection, I can keep this thread upon a little longer… though at the end of the day (literally) that’s just going to make me have to stay at work later to finish a paper… *sigh*).
Yes, he put an embargo on the Soviets. The effect of the grain embargo was to hurt our farmers and not the Soviets as he allowed everyone else to sell to the Soviets without any consequence.
There was the matter of doing nothing when Iranian militants stormed our embassy until he finally got around to launching a disastrous military effort.
Panama, Taiwan, etc.
Anyway, I like a lot of the ideals of his foreign policy. He was just a disaster because he was utterly unwilling to do anything about them.
Onward to Bush:
Before 9/11: I just couldn’t disagree more on your assessment of Taiwan. If his policy actually were “we will do whatever is necessary to defend Taiwan” then he would have sold them Aegis cruisers which they very, very desperately wanted/demanded, but he did not. So I think your characterization is an unfair distortion of his actual policy. I guess we’ll just disagree on Kyoto, though if we’re talking about diplomatic process it seems worth mentioning that both Russia and China agreed to back our withdrawal from the ABM.
Afghanistan: The question becomes how many resources it would have taken to focus on Afghanistan the way you suggest we should’ve. Given the differences between Afghanistan and Iraq (lack of history of modernity, lack of infrastructure, lack of resources to help finance its own rebuilding,etc.) there’s plenty of reason to believe the job in Afghanistan would have been far, far more difficult than what we face in Iraq. And, despite your pessimistic assessment, there is a ton going very right in Afghanistan.
I’m not sure it’s worth arguing about Iraq, especially in such a difficult forum to persuade people as an internet chat board, as I doubt either of us is going to convince the other. The sanctions regime was not working. I think you can make a coherent and intellectually-honest case that you could have fixed the sanctions regime in the leadup to war given the fact that we were about to go to war (cf. Marc Lynch), but that too would have been a short-term solution as the international will simply was not there for a serious sanctions regime (just as it wasn’t there for war). Anyway, as was said last night by McCain, it was not a choice between a stable status quo and war, which you incorrectly posit it was.
Can you cite a specific example of your patriotism, or the patriotism of others like you being called into question? I’d find it easier to respond to a specific example.
See the comments in the other thread for how this discussion began.