President of What?

Most of the criticism of Barack Obama's Berlin speech came before the speech had even been delivered, and focused on trivia (he printed fliers in German!) and traditions that were invented last week or so (presidential candidates don't give speeches in other countries!). But the speech has been given now, and the text is more interesting than the atmospherics. Specifically:

Will we lift the child in Bangladesh from poverty, shelter the refugee in Chad, and banish the scourge of AIDS in our time?

Will we stand for the human rights of the dissident in Burma, the blogger in Iran, or the voter in Zimbabwe? Will we give meaning to the words “never again” in Darfur?

That's not pablum. I count at least four extensions of American foreign policy here: increased foreign aid, increased funding for PEPFAR, sanctions, and maybe a little bit of ol' fashioned humanitarian intervention. (That's what he's occasionally suggested for Darfur, at least.) It's proof, if any more was needed, that Obama is not wary of foreign engagements. He's a progressive realist who thinks America hasn't done enough to police the world and to stave off future threats by doing whatever NGOs say we should be doing.

Most of our foreign policy debate has focused on Iraq, in part because that's where John McCain wants it to focus, in part because that's where our forces are at the moment. I definitely agree with Andrew Bacevich that an Obama victory discredits the Iraq project, while a McCain victory validates it. But McCain and Obama want the same thing, for Americans to be proud of their country again vis-a-vis its engagement in foreign conflicts. Put another way: I don't think an Obama victory discredits neoconservatism. He's offering neoconservatism with a human face.

Headline explained here.

UPDATE: Jim Geraghty has a quiz: Obama speech lines versus "We Are the World" lyrics.

UPDATE II: Oh, I love hacks. From Obama's opening lines:

Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen – a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world.

From Team John "Wow, it was a good idea to dare Obama to take this trip" McCain:

While Barack Obama took a premature victory lap today in the heart of Berlin, proclaiming himself a 'citizen of the world,' John McCain continued to make his case to the American citizens who will decide this election.

He declared himself a citizen of the U.S. and the world, smart guys. Is John McCain not a citizen of the world? When his map reaches the Atlantic Ocean, does it turn white and read "Here There Be Dragons"?

It strikes me as more fighting-the-last-war from McCain. John Kerry was vulnerable to attacks of America-hatin' globalism when he did things like say American policy decisions had to pass a "global test." Obama was putting American supremacy in the kind of gooey nougat shell that Europeans like.

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  • Taktix®||

    ...traditions that were invented last week or so (presidential candidates don't give speeches in other countries!)

    Like Reagan's Tear-Down-This-Wall speech?

    (yeah,I know. He was already president by then. But throw it out there, Republicans won't notice the distinction.)

    Where's all the more leftward commenters to tell us how much better Obama will be?

    Giant Douche v. Turd Sandwich, cycle after cycle...

  • ||

    fuckity fuck fuck

  • Episiarch||

    But guys, Obama's foreign intervention is the right kind of foreign intervention. Remember, it's OK to act like a neocon as long as you don't sound like one.

  • Federal Dog||

    "That's not pablum."

    Yes it is. The guy has never done anything except talk.

  • ||

    Oh yeah. I'm going to love this guy as prez.

  • No Name Guy||

    I'm sure he'd be elected President of the European Union.

    But this really doesn't raise his stock in Michigan or Virginia.

  • drawn asunder||

    Can we at least get the term "realist" the scare quotes it deserves:

    "He's a progressive "realist" who thinks America hasn't done enough to police the world"

    That's better.

  • ||

    He's offering neoconservatism with a human face.

    No, he's offering foreign policy liberalism, which seems to be a forgotten strand of thought in contemporary political discourse. There hasn't really been a high-profile advocate of this philosophy in decades, so it's not surprising that people wouldn't immediately recognize it as such.

    There are some superficial similarities to neoconservatism, but quite a few differences as well. It also has some superficial similiarities to paleoconservative isolationism/noninterventionism. It has other similarities to pacifism.

    Wikipedia has a pretty good page on Foreign Policy Liberalism.

  • ||

    Meet the new boss, same as the old one.

  • Nigel Watt||

    Wow, joe, here I was thinking you wouldn't show your face here. Look, I don't care where you put it in the political spectrum, foreign intervention is wrong.

  • No Name Guy||

    So hes Woodrow Wilson, joe?

  • ||

    Thank goodness he's not an ISOLATIONIST like that RON PAUL

  • Jason||

    He's offering neoconservatism with a human face.

    Oh, puh-leez. Compare to McCain, who wants to throw China and Russia out of the G8, instigating a new Cold War.

    Yes, Obama is a realist in foreign policy parlance. Do you really expect neoconservative intervention in Bangladesh from an Obama administration?

  • ||

    See, if you don't know what foreign policy liberalism is, you have to invent novel terminology to describe it. Like "progressive realist." There is, and never has been, a Realist* strand in progressive/liberal foreign policy philosophy. As long as those terms have existed, they were defined in opposition to each other. Obama is not a Realist* in any sense. He is not a Progressive Realist*, or any other type of Realist* and the fact that not one of the four foreign policy positions Weigel calls out relates to the promotion of American national interest should have been the tipoff.

    *I'm assuming that everyone is aware that there is a school of foreign policy called Realism, and that ther meaning of this proper noun is distinct from the dictionary definition of small-r realism.

  • Nigel Watt||

    Joe, I'm aware of what foreign policy liberalism is. It's INTERVENTIONISM. NO.

  • Abdul||

    How do you take 3 rhetorical questions and turn them into Obama's foreign policy platform?

    There's no concrete plan there. "Standing for the human rights of the dissident in Burma" could just as easily mean sending the Marines or sending a strongly worded letter to the military junta.

    In fact, you could argue that Bush has done everything that Obama implied with his rhetorical questions. He's increased foreign aid, spent more on AIDS in Africa than all other presidential administrations combined, and paid lip service to human rights in Zimbabwe, Darfur, and Iran.

  • dewces||

    I don't you should make a speech that says here are problems in the world and we are not going to do anything about it. Its just what you say as long you dont spend tax dollars on it. As Jon Stewart says "the new republicans are the just democrats on steriods". I think we need to switch back to decaf before we give up coffee.

  • ||

    NNG,

    So hes Woodrow Wilson, joe? Well, no, obviously, he's Barack Obama.

    Wilson was a foreign policy liberal, although I'd argue that he merely paid lip service to that philosophy in many areas.

    Is Ron Paul Charles Lindburgh?

    Is Bob Barr Henry Kissinger?

    We could do this all day.

  • ||

    "I don't think an Obama victory discredits neoconservatism. He's offering neoconservatism with a human face."

    No he is offering it with a liberal face. I would like to believe that Obama is going to sell out the country and turn the Nimitz into a floating shelter for the homeless but even I can't buy that. Obama will internvene all over the place. I love how the same people who have bumber stickers that say "Support our troops send them home" are now buying into the idea of taking them out of Iraq and sending them to Afghanistan, even though there are no Al Quada bases in Afghanistan right now and Afghanistan really is starting to look like what they claim Iraq to be; a sectarian civil war that we have no way to stop or control.

    If Bill Clinton had invaded Iraq in 1998, the liberals would have hailed him as the great liberator. You have to be a pretty big sucker to beleive that Democrats are somehow less war like or less interventionist than Republicans. I say that as an interventionist who would have supported Clinton invading Iraq.

  • ||

    yeah,I know. He was already president by then. But throw it out there, Republicans won't notice the distinction.

    Actually Rush was playing recordings of Regan's speech to the run up to Obama's speech....and drawing that very distinction...that Regan was president and Obama is not.

    Not only are Republican's noticing the distinction they are emphasizing it.

  • Episiarch||

    But guys, Obama's foreign intervention is the right kind of foreign intervention. Remember, it's OK to act like a neocon as long as you don't sound like one.

    I'm going to rephrase my earlier statement.

    But guys, Obama's foreign intervention is the right kind of foreign intervention. Remember, it's OK to act like a neocon as long as you say you have altruistic motivations and aren't acting in your national interest.

  • No Name Guy||

    "Is Ron Paul Charles Lindburgh?"

    No, hes Senator Taft.

    Barr is somewhere between Taft and Eisenhower.

  • No Name Guy||

    McCain is Teddy Roosevelt, except older and angrier.

  • Imperialist||

    Do-Gooders in charge of foreign policy, blech!

    If we're going to pressure, intimdate, and/or invade somone, it should be for purely self-interested greed.

  • ||

    Nigel Watt,

    "Interventionism" is a meaningless term, like "Statist," that only means that the philsophy being describes is not the small corner of political thought called "Military Isolationism" or "Non-Interventionism."

    Which is true, as far as it goes, but not too terribly helpful in actually understanding the particular political philosophy in question.

    Neoconservatisms is not Realpolitik is not Liberalism. The only thing they have in common is that they are not Military Isolationism.

    I can just as easily, and just as accurately, note that Military Isoalationism, Realism, and Neoconservatism are all not Liberalism, but what's the point?

  • Mike M.||

    for Americans to be proud of their country again vis-a-vis its engagement in foreign conflicts

    I never stopped being proud of my country for one second because of what we're attempting to do in Iraq, and neither have a lot of other people I know.

    Please don't presume to speak for all Americans.

  • Nigel Watt||

    joe, the point is that the only acceptable viewpoint for a politician to have for people that love liberty is non-interventionism.

  • ||

    I'm sure he'd be elected President of the European Union.

    But this really doesn't raise his stock in Michigan or Virginia.


    I think the point of the speech is to build some foreign policy cred here at home. "Hey look at me Florida i can get Germans to praise me when I am asking absolutely nothing from them." Or some such nonsense.

    Note: This is very unlike Regan's or even Kennedy's speech which was intended to build support for their foreign policy among foreigners.

  • Taktix®||

    "Standing for the human rights of the dissident in Burma" could just as easily mean sending the Marines or sending a strongly worded letter to the military junta.

    So he's either an interventionist or wholly ineffective. That's no good, either way...

  • ||

    he printed fliers in German! Presidential candidates don't give speeches in other countries!

    Ok, it will be much more efficient if both parties just agree to Rule Z: "Whatever the other party's candidate or campaign does is a severe breach of what it means to be an American." That way no one ever has to bother to write a column--just post "With respect to [insert particular situation], please refer to Rule Z."

    But guys, Obama's foreign intervention is the right kind of foreign intervention. Remember, it's OK to act like a neocon as long as you say you have altruistic motivations and aren't acting in your national interest

    Yeah, there's no difference between a relatively minor military mission to stop genocide and a massively wasteful, elective war based on lies with the goal of American hegemony in the Middle East and the securing of oil contracts. Let's just call both actions "neocon" and stop thinking about which we prefer. Also, let's just assume that ending the Darfur madness isn't in our national interest.

  • DannyK||

    Can anyone explain how Obama's a neocon all of a sudden? Was there no humanitarian intervention or support for human rights before the neocons? I know it's a vague term, but "neocon" doesn't equal "assertive foreign policy I don't like."

    Otherwise, Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson were neocons before there were even paleocons, which would totally screw up the fossil record. Careful with the time machines, guys!

  • No Name Guy||

    Joshua, he has seemed to fail. Hes either flat or falling in state polls (and not just one, several from several different pollsters, like the Q Pac ones today).

  • ||

    If Bill Clinton had invaded Iraq in 1998, the liberals would have hailed him as the great liberator.

    Actually, there were huge protests by liberals against the Kosovo War. Now, Neo-liberals (who are very close to Neo-Conservatives, so much so that you see Madeleine Albright sometimes refered to as a Neo-Conservative) were supportive, but I have trouble seeing Neo-Liberalism as anything but a philosophical mush intended to split the difference between principled Liberalism and principled Neo-Conservatism.

  • ||

    Nigel,

    I'm quite aware of how narrow the acceptible philosphical positions are for those you deem "lovers of liberty."

    And I agree: Paulite/Taftian/Limburghian Non-Interventionism (in military affaird, I know, I don't need to be reminded about their open trade position) is the only philosophy that is consistent with the philosophical premises of libertarianism.

    The pro-war "libertarians" I've seen all fall into the argument "If you don't support my Big Government Plan to encourage Liberty, you don't support Liberty," and that's obviously not consistent with libertarian philosophy.

  • ||

    I can just as easily, and just as accurately, note that Military Isoalationism, Realism, and Neoconservatism are all not Liberalism, but what's the point?

    I think the point is that the average reader of Reason does not like neoconservative interventionism for the exact same reason they don't like Obama flavored interventionism.

  • Nigel Watt||

    So joe, you see my point about how I don't care whether you call it neoconservatism or Rainbow Puppy Foreign Policy?

  • ed||

    "Will we stand for the human rights of the dissident in Burma, the blogger in Iran, or the voter in Zimbabwe? Will we give meaning to the words "never again" in Darfur?"

    Well, to be fair, Obama was a "community organizer." It's on his resume. And what larger "community" is there to organize than the whole friggin' world?

  • Taktix®||

    Yeah, there's no difference between a relatively minor military mission to stop genocide and a massively wasteful, elective war based on lies with the goal of American hegemony in the Middle East and the securing of oil contracts.

    Ethan, please explain how intervening in Africa, runner up to the Middle East for the Region-Embroiled-In-Perpetual-War Award, would consist of a "minor military mission to stop genocide."

    Need I cite our Somalia debacle? Why does every asshole with a foreign cause think their intervention will be the one we get right, this time around?

    It never fucking works! They won't greet us liberators. Freedom at the point of a gun is by definition to opposite of freedom.

  • Imperialist||

    There are only two valid reasons to shed the blood of American service men and women; defense and conquest. Of course, conquest only comes after due diligence in a take/buy analysis.

  • ||

    joe,

    If I can distract you from your terminological tautology tirade temporarily, would you be so kind as to link us to this article defining "Foreign Policy Liberalism"? I searched for in Wikipedia as suggested, but failed to find it.

    Hopefully it will explain the difference between a dead solider with blood and oil on his hands and one with love and salvation in his heart.

  • Episiarch||

    Yeah, there's no difference between a relatively minor military mission to stop genocide and a massively wasteful, elective war based on lies with the goal of American hegemony in the Middle East and the securing of oil contracts.

    There's no difference when your viewpoint, as Nigel already said, is "don't fucking intervene". Why is this so hard for you to understand?

  • ||

    Nigel Watt,

    I see your point, but you fail to see mine:

    the fact that two political philosophies are unacceptable to you does not mean that they are actually similar, or that the differences are only rhetorical.

    joshua,

    I think the point is that the average reader of Reason does not like neoconservative interventionism for the exact same reason they don't like Obama flavored interventionism.

  • ||

    Yeah, there's no difference between a relatively minor military mission to stop genocide and a massively wasteful, elective war based on lies with the goal of American hegemony in the Middle East and the securing of oil contracts.

    Last I checked, Obama's plan was simply to move troops from Iraq into Afghanistan and Pakistan (still leaving a sizable chunk in Iraq, mind you)while maintaining an agressive posture towards Iran. The fact that he wants to do this while increasing our military presence elsewhere, minor or not, doesn't exactly separate him in a good way from our current foreign policy.

  • Jason||

    @Joshua corning

    Isn't Obama-flavored "interventionism," (really something closer to post-nationalism, imo) LESS BAD than neoconservative interventionism? That is, if the choice is between McCain's bear-hug embrace for PNAC, global wars, and endless occupations to maintain US hegemony and Obama's insistence that we are morally required to not ignore suffering or the absence of liberty in other parts of the world, I'll take the Obama option every time. As a compulsive consensus-seeker, Obama would be more constrained from foreign misadventures not just by domestic politics, but by his much warmer regard for international institutions.

  • ||

    When your viewpoint is "Is this good for the Jews?" there is no difference between Naziism and Czarist Monarchism.

    That doesn't mean they are the same thing, either.

    As a matter of fact, the Tsars and the Nazis had very different domestic policies and philosophies.

    And now, hold onto your hats: you don't have to like either of them in order to recognize that their policies and philosophies are different.

  • ||

    "elective war based on lies with the goal of American hegemony in the Middle East and the securing of oil contracts."

    I think the war in Iraq is more about securing Israel. Over 4000 young Americans have lost their lives in order to make Israel more secure.

  • ||

    Oops, tag thingies.

    joshua,

    I think the point is that the average reader of Reason does not like neoconservative interventionism for the exact same reason they don't like Obama flavored interventionism.

    I can buy that. The above-average reader of Reason, on the other hand, does not like neoconservatism for somewhat different reasons than he does not like liberalism, because the above-average reader of Reason understands that there are meaningful philosophical differences beyond those that make libertarianism a distinct philosophy.

  • ||

    "If you don't support my Big Government Plan to encourage Liberty, you don't support Liberty,"

    I don't think that has ever been said here.

    I think you are conflating the fact that some libertarians here have said that they support the war because they think it supports liberty...and then lefties like you started saying Bush "says you are with us or against us."

    In your world it is an impossibility to agree to a premise but not agree with the execution of proving that premise or even to disagree with how other people present that premise.

  • robc||

    DannyK,

    Wilson is the father of neocon military policy. I prefer Wilsonian international policy to "neocon" because it is neither new nor conservative.

  • ||

    The problem may be that most people, and probably most people here, see the denial of human rights in Burma, the harrassment of speech in Iran, the terrorizing of voters in Zimbabwe and the genocide in Darfur as "bad things" (which they are, who wants to argue they are good things). Part of the defintion of recognizing that something is a bad thing is to be upset by them and at the very least to hope or want (or welcome) that they become better. Some people go further and want to see something "done" about the bad things.

    To some degree any President, libertarian, liberal or neo-conservative, would have to "do something" about these problems. Even passive responses would have consequences and therefore may be seen as a kind of "intervention" (for example, if the Janjaweed asks a Ron Paul administration if they can purchase military equipment to keep blowing up kids in Darfur and RP says no sales to be made, he has "intervened" in some way).

    So the real question to ask someone like Obama is, in what ways will you address the bad things we find in many parts of the world? Bush and McCain have an answer: regime change and pre-emptive war. Would Obama engage in that? Because if not then his "interventionism" would be less offensive to me...

  • Episiarch||

    Wow, joe, you're aggressively not getting it. We don't care about the differences in Obama's and neocon interventionism, because they have the exact same results: us getting embroiled in shit that isn't our business, our soldiers dying, our money spent hand over fist, and it never fucking works.

    Why you are trying to get us to discuss the finer points of your system which we hate, I don't know. It's like arguing with me that Battlefield Earth and Glitter are different movies. Yeah, I know, but the important point is that they're both horrible.

  • ||

    Hugh/not duck,

    I believe the entry in Wikipedia on "Liberalism" has a link titled "Foreign policy liberalism."

  • ||

    Actually, there were huge protests by liberals against the Kosovo War.

    I don't remember that. I do remember a lot of protesting by Republicans that Kosovo did not impact the "national interest" and that we shouldn't get involved.

    Need I cite our Somalia debacle? Why does every asshole with a foreign cause think their intervention will be the one we get right, this time around?

    Somalia may not have been a great idea, but I'll take a mission involving a few thousand troops and a few hundred million dollars any day over an invasion involving a full-scale foreign occupation and a trillion dollars.

    What's that you say? There's no difference? Riiiiighht.

  • No Name Guy||

    Best right wing blog comment ever:

    ""That is the German's SOCIALIST Victory Column. It was built to celebrate the victory of Germany during the socialist political world wide movement"

    Apparently, Kaiser Wilhelm I, Chancellor Bismarck, and the Prussian Junkers/military officers were raging socialists now. Wow, just wow.

  • ||

    I can buy that. The above-average reader of Reason, on the other hand, does not like neoconservatism for somewhat different reasons than he does not like liberalism, because the above-average reader of Reason understands that there are meaningful philosophical differences beyond those that make libertarianism a distinct philosophy.

    For someone who has such a hard time with economic class you sure do like inventing other class systems for us to abide by.

  • No Name Guy||

    That comment was on Gateway Pundit, btw.

  • ||

    Is John McCain not a citizen of the world? When his map reaches the Atlantic Ocean, does it turn white and read "Here There Be Dragons"?

    If the map was white outside the US, he wouldn't be so eager to bomb so much of it.

  • Nigel Watt||

    the fact that two political philosophies are unacceptable to you does not mean that they are actually similar, or that the differences are only rhetorical.

    I don't believe I've contested that.

  • ||

    joshua corning,

    I don't think that has ever been said here. Actually, I see it every day from the likes of John, TallDave, and RC Dean. It's also quite prominent among other self-described libertarians, such as Glenn Reynolds and Jonah Goldberg.

  • Nigel Watt||

    It's like arguing with me that Battlefield Earth and Glitter are different movies. Yeah, I know, but the important point is that they're both horrible.

    End of thread.

  • ||

    "There's no difference when your viewpoint, as Nigel already said, is "don't fucking intervene"."

    That would establish that both are contrary to your stated principle, but that still leaves open the possibility that there are varying degrees of egregiousness that can be recognized in the violation of said principle.

    It would be like the difference between your wife saying "honey, I have to admit I kissed a co-worker last month" and her saying "honey, I have to admit I got DPed by two maintenance men at my job last month." Both are violations of the principle "don't fool around on your spouse" but I think different responses might be warranted...

  • ||

    It's like arguing with me that Battlefield Earth and Glitter are different movies. Yeah, I know, but the important point is that they're both horrible.

    I liked Battlefeild earth...

    Besides how many movies can you say are better then the book?

  • ||

    Episiarch,

    Why you are trying to get us to discuss the finer points of your system which we hate, I don't know.

    Because most people have intellectual aspirations that go beyond knowing what to hate?

    I know, not really your bag.

  • ||

    Jake Boone wins the thread.

  • ||

    In recent decades "foreign policy liberalism" often seems to amount to an eagerness to intervene in the name of high principles when the US national interest is slim to none, and a reluctance to intervene when there actually is a clear US national interest.

  • ||

    Jonah Goldberg is a self-described libertarian?

    Hahahahaha!

    Well, shit so am I then!

  • robc||

    I once saw a breakdown of foreign policy that I found interesting, basically splitting on intervention/non and alliances/non. The names for the 4 categories were all democratic presidents:

    Jeffersonian Non-Interventionist/Non-Alliance
    Jacksonian Interventionist/Non-Alliance
    Wilsonian Interventionist/Alliance
    Rooseveltian Non-Interventionist/Alliance

    The idea being that Jacksonian and Wilsonian policy were both actively warmongering but Jackson was of the "do it alone" variety and Wilson of the "build an alliance" variety.

    Jeffersonian and Rooseveltian were generally opposed to war, but if you did, how you went about it was different. Roosevelt with strong allies, Jefferson by going it alone.

    There are, of course, shades within those categories even for those particular presidents. They arent really archtypes, but I think it makes a lot of sense.

    In those senses, I think I prefer Jackson to Wilson for 3rd place.

  • No Name Guy||

    MNG-

    Well, Jonah Goldberg did write a book that stated World War II was a war against three fascist powers, led by Stalin and Roosevelt, who were also fascist.

    Yeah, it makes my head hurt, too.

    And now, Prussia was a socialist state apparently. Even though, you know, the writings of Karl Marx were FUCKING BANNED there, and he himself EXILED.

  • Episiarch||

    Because most people have intellectual aspirations that go beyond knowing what to hate?

    joe, I already know your entire fucking argument. Now, if you want to discuss your intellect and aspiration (particularly the hot kind), that's fine, but I don't feel like listening to you endlessly explain your position which I already know.

  • ||

    Ethan, please explain how intervening in Africa, runner up to the Middle East for the Region-Embroiled-In-Perpetual-War Award, would consist of a "minor military mission to stop genocide."

    You conveniently dropped an important word from what I wrote--"relatively."

  • ||

    Is John McCain not a citizen of the world?

    Citizenship is a legal concept, and I wasn't aware of any government with the authority to bestow world citizenship to anyone.

    The term "citizen of the world" is often used by people who wish to downplay their national citizenship. I'm not sure what Obama was thinking with that line; it probably tickled ears in Europe, but as McCain says, that's not the electorate he's supposed to be playing to.

  • ||

    Some people: "Obama's foreign policy is better than McCain's."

    Other people: "McCain's foreign policy is better than Obama's."

    A third group: "It doesn't matter because they both suck."

    All three are valid viewpoints. But sometimes people in Group 1 are making arguments against Point 2 to people in Group 3 (same for people in Group 2, etc.), which is making this thread more stressful than it needs to be.

  • ||

    Brian24,

    You don't remember the college students screaming at Albright?

    I remember that there was a large minority of Republicans who opposed the Kosovo War, too, and that it included people like Ron Paul AND a number of prominent neo-conservatives.

    Nigel Watt,

    I don't believe I've contested that.

    Did you not mean to suggest that the differences were only rhetorical when you wrote:

    So joe, you see my point about how I don't care whether you call it neoconservatism or Rainbow Puppy Foreign Policy?

    I took that as an assertion that they are all the same thing, and are merely "called" different things. If that wasn't your point, my bad.

  • ||

    but I'll take a mission involving a few thousand troops and a few hundred million dollars any day over an invasion involving a full-scale foreign occupation and a trillion dollars.

    Why choose? Vote McCain in November and get both.

    Seriously, though. Yes, there is a difference in degree between these actions, but not a difference in kind.

  • True Believer||

    Joe

    Sin is sin no matter how you slice it. Get with the program.

  • ||

    Hugh,

    I agree. I'm not going to get the foreign policy I want out of this election, but I'm not sure how I could get a worse one than McCain's.

    I'd like to say I'd prefer McCain's economic policy, but he himself says he doesn't understand economics. I doubt he believes there's an arena he shouldn't meddle in.

  • ||

    Papaya SF,

    PapayaSF | July 24, 2008, 3:59pm | #

    In recent decades "foreign policy liberalism" often seems to amount to an eagerness to intervene in the name of high principles when the US national interest is slim to none, and a reluctance to intervene when there actually is a clear US national interest.


    That's a common talking point among neo-conservatives, but it's not quite right. Liberal (as opposed to, say, Marxist) foreign policy isn't hostile to American national interest (in the narrow sense the Realists use the term). It just doesn't make its pursuit a high priority. Certainly, it elevates humanitarian concerns above, or at least to an equal positin with, national interest.

    Liberals support NATO membership, for example, because we consider it to be in our national interest, and to either advance our humanitarian interests, or at least, not to harm them.

  • ||

    which is making this thread more stressful than it needs to be.

    All threads need to be at maximum stress levels at all times.

    So i fail to see how this thread can ever be more stressful then needed.

  • ||

    joe, I already know your entire fucking argument. Now, if you want to discuss your intellect and aspiration (particularly the hot kind), that's fine, but I don't feel like listening to you endlessly explain your position which I already know.

    OK. Bye!

  • ||

    Wiki-link

    Liberal International Relations Theory

    It's a bit short on concrete positions, but it outlines the theory fairly well.

  • ||

    Look at it this way:

    Hillary Clinton might send the Navy to operate a Womyn's Health Clinic in Pakistan.

    John McCain would send 450,000 troops in four military branches to take over Pakistan, remove its government, occupy it, and try to make it into an American protectorate.

    Now, maybe you don't like Womyn's health clinics being operated by the government. Mabye you don't like the idea of having 3000 American troops on sentry duty, protecting Darfuris. I can respect those opinions, and understand the rational and even decent principles of non-interverntionism that might lead you to oppose those things.

    But to pretend that a foreign policy that does things like that cannot be meaningfully distinguished, both quantitatively AND qualitatively, from neo-conservatism, is delusional.

    Yup, non-interventionists don't have one of their own running for president under the banner of either major party. I hardly think that's the end of the discussion.

  • ||

    "Jeffersonian and Rooseveltian were generally opposed to war, but if you did, how you went about it was different. Roosevelt with strong allies, Jefferson by going it alone."

    FDR opposed to war? He did everything he could to get us involved in war. When he was Secretary of the Navy in WWI, he said, "It must be nice to be a President in time of war."

  • ||

    Holy crap! Finally something that works, folks, remember this incantation:

    "joe, I already know your entire fucking argument. Now, if you want to discuss your intellect and aspiration (particularly the hot kind), that's fine, but I don't feel like listening to you endlessly explain your position which I already know."

  • ||

    Liberal International Relations Theory

    The link seems to support the meme that neoconservatism is closer to liberal foreign policy then what joe is saying it is.

  • ||

    ...spoke too soon.

  • ||

    Somalia may not have been a great idea, but I'll take a mission involving a few thousand troops and a few hundred million dollars any day over an invasion involving a full-scale foreign occupation and a trillion dollars.

    The reason Somalia cost so much less in blood and treasure was because we got the fuck out as soon as things started going downhill, not because it was an inherently better operation. If we'd been determined to "finish the job" in Somalia too, that may well have evolved into a mess on the scale of Iraq...and thus it will be with Darfur.

    So, in short, if you're OK with accomplishing nothing and leaving the site of your intervention a total basket case, a little bit of blood and treasure will be enough.

  • ||

    "Liberals support NATO membership, for example, because we consider it to be in our national interest"

    I fail to see how our membership in NATO is in our national interest.

  • ||

    Hillary Clinton might send the Navy to operate a Womyn's Health Clinic in Pakistan.

    Seriously? Is that what she thought Bush would do in Iraq when she voted for the AUMF?

  • ||

    "Is John McCain not a citizen of the world?"

    No and neither is Barack Obama. Unless you start equating "citizen of the world" with "Earthling" which renders it a pretty meaningless statement.

    Borders may be artificial boundaries, but they're artificial boundaries that keep me mostly separated from some bleak-ass corners of the globe ruled by murderous thugs. When "World Citizenship" starts guaranteeing me rights against the starvation, rape and murder quite common throughout it, I'll sign up. Until then it sounds a lot more like "World Subject" or "World Serf."

  • ||

    Hillary Clinton might send the Navy to operate a Womyn's Health Clinic in Pakistan.

    John McCain would send 450,000 troops in four military branches to take over Pakistan, remove its government, occupy it, and try to make it into an American protectorate.


    The point is mute Hillary would not have the military capabilities to do that if we did not have the military capability built up by rhetoric to do the job of the John McCain view.

    Do you think Hilary could do that if we had a military isolationist's military?

    Liberal foreign policy is dependent on the fear of the need for a neocon foreign policy. In the absence of the neocon foreign policy the liberal foreign policy would have to invent one a la gulf of Tonkin.

    The liberal foreign policy can only claim the mantel of relatively less expensive because they can make false claims that they are any different then the neocons.

  • Nigel Watt||

    I took that as an assertion that they are all the same thing, and are merely "called" different things. If that wasn't your point, my bad.

    It's like the difference between mosquitoes and gnats. There are substantive differences, but when I wake up itchy as hell the next morning, I don't take the time to identify which bite came from which.

  • ||

    Joshua Corning,

    The link seems to support the meme that neoconservatism is closer to liberal foreign policy then what joe is saying it is. As with domestic policy neo-conservatism, foreign policy neo-conservatism was invented, purposely and consciously, to incorporate certain liberal ideas into a conservative framework; some might say to make that conservative vision better by drawing on the insights of liberalism in the conservative cause.

    The emphasis on a "moralist" foreign policy, for example, never had a home in any conservative philosophy before neo-conservatism, but was a foundational plank of liberalism. That is, it was part of what made foreign policy liberalism distinct from conservatism.

    As I said, there are areas of overlap between liberalism and neoconservatism. There are also areas of overlap beteen neoconservatism and military isolationism, and between neoconservatism and realism.

    bookworm,

    I fail to see how our membership in NATO is in our national interest. You don't see how it makes a country stronger to have allies?

    I'd say that one of the points that distinguishes liberalism and neoconservatism from isolationism and realism is that each pair has roughly similar definitions of the national interest, while within each pair, each particular philosophy differs on the most moral and practical method of pursuing that vision of the national interest.

  • ||

    Yes, Joe, elevating humanitarian concerns over the national interest is pretty much what I was referring to.

    The correlation isn't perfect, but again and again I've seen excited demands for intervention in the most out-of-the-way places (East Timor, Rwanda, Darfur) from the same people who objected other interventions that have a lot more to do with the national interest. I know someone who opposes the Iraq war but criticizes Clinton for not jumping into the middle of Rwanda, as if the 82nd Airborne could have done much about a civil war where the warring factions looked alike and didn't wear uniforms.

  • Johnny Nowhere||

    Joe,

    your 4:20PM comment goes back to something Episiarch wrote upthread: that often intervention yields bloody results, regardless of the philosophy that originated the policy.

    Using your hypothetical situations, McCain's approach would surely lead to fighting and deaths. However, I'm willing to bet that there are folks in Pakistan who would happily attack Womyn's Centers for any number of reasons, leading to fighting and deaths.

    "Our Purpose is Noble!" only makes the policy setters feel better. I'm guessing it doesn't do anything for the UN-AU peacekeepers who've died in Darfur.

  • ||

    I fail to see how our membership in NATO is in our national interest. You don't see how it makes a country stronger to have allies?

    Paying for other people's military does not make them allies only dependents.

  • ||

    Occam's toothbrush,

    We saved 500,000 people from starving to death in Somalia by guarding those convoys. Nothing?

    Seriously? Is that what she thought Bush would do in Iraq when she voted for the AUMF?

    OK, OK, Nancy Pelosi then. I'd call Hillary a Neo-Liberal, perhaps even edging towards the Neo-Conservative direction.

  • ||

    joshua corning,

    The point is mute Hillary would not have the military capabilities to do that if we did not have the military capability built up by rhetoric to do the job of the John McCain view.

    Do you think Hilary could do that if we had a military isolationist's military?

    Liberal foreign policy is dependent on the fear of the need for a neocon foreign policy.


    I'm not sure I agree. For one thing, liberalism predated neoconservatism by some seven decades. For another, going to war in Vietnam was not a liberal project per se, but one that had support across the ideological spectrum, like invading Afghanistan.

  • ||

    Papaya SF,

    The correlation isn't perfect, but again and again I've seen excited demands for intervention in the most out-of-the-way places (East Timor, Rwanda, Darfur) from the same people who objected other interventions that have a lot more to do with the national interest. I know someone who opposes the Iraq war but criticizes Clinton for not jumping into the middle of Rwanda, as if the 82nd Airborne could have done much about a civil war where the warring factions looked alike and didn't wear uniforms.

    Well, for one thing, the Dutch military commander on the ground in Rwanda stated that it would have taken only a show of force from the battalion-sized unit they had to stop the genocide completely within days.

    I'd also say that foreign policy liberalism is also distinct from foreign policy Marxism/leftism/radicalism or what have you. Most liberals supported the invasion of Afghanistan, while most leftists opposed it. The same can be said for East Timor. Leftists, as opposed to liberals, actually do oppose humanitarian interventions on occasion, specifically for the reason that they would tend to advance the American (or European, or other hegemon's) national interest, regardless of the humanitarian effect. I got into a brief spat with someone from the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist League (RAIL) when he tried to hand me a flier about the Aussies' mission into East Timor.

    Finally, I'll also say that its become popular among neo- and realist-conservatives to use humanitarian rationales to argue for missions that are purely efforts in advancing the national interest, and to claim that liberal opposition is based on opposition to the national interest per se, when it is actually based in skepticism to the claims about the humanitarianism of the mission.

  • ||

    Obama wants to be president of the world.
    I'm completely convinced we are living in the last days.

    He is the one whose empty promises deceive the world. Everyone will believe this guy has all the answers to all the worlds problems.
    It's all already been written down and coming to pass. Don't believe me? Wait and see.

    It's considered "hip" and "cool" to be an athiest these days and "uncool" to know the truth. Who's the fool here?

    A presidential candidate wooing the planet?
    Athiests and people who deny the existance of God even believe this guy is the Holy messiah.

    Too bad your minds are blocked from knowing the truth.

  • ||

    It's like the difference between mosquitoes and gnats. There are substantive differences, but when I wake up itchy as hell the next morning, I don't take the time to identify which bite came from which.

    You might think that at first, but you'd be well advised to look a little closer, as a gnat is harmless, but a mosquito bite may carry malaria.

  • ||

    I don't want to feed the troll here, but I never met anybody who thought it was uncool to know the truth.

  • Warty||

    That is some outstanding trolling. Reason should put that guy on the payroll.

  • Warty||

    I got into a brief spat with someone from the Revolutionary Anti-Imperialist League (RAIL)

    You actually talk to those people? Hats off to you, I guess.

  • Other Matt||

    Holy crap! Finally something that works, folks, remember this incantation:

    "joe, I already know your entire fucking argument. Now, if you want to discuss your intellect and aspiration (particularly the hot kind), that's fine, but I don't feel like listening to you endlessly explain your position which I already know."


    Memorized, but I don't believe joe can restrain himself. That's part of the Doctor of Fuckwittery training.

    Besides, joe doesn't really argue, he just changes definitions to suit whatever purpose he has at the moment, and he's done sucked y'all in for over 100 comments on his pendantic little fuckwitted games.

    The initial post really speaks to Obama's duplicity, which while I hate to grant anything to the fuckwit moron, he's done a marvelous job of hijacking the thread.

    What Obama is essentially saying is "Intervention bad, unless I like it", which is basically his approach to anything, "It's bad unless I like it or change my mind and if you say I liked it once I'll deny it!"

    It's a totalitarian approach to the world, fine, he is what he is and if y'all want to vote for him, just do so with open eyes. It doesn't change that he is a flat out liar when he says "Oh, Iraq, bad bad bad, have to leave because we shouldn't be in a another country" then turns around and tries to salvage some image by saying "Oh, Afganistan, good good good, let's send more people there".

    Fuckwit has managed to distract you into some bizarre little discussion where he changes definitions here and there subtly to keep people engaged, thus precluding any real dicussion of how Obama is a dangerous liar who does his best to have no position defined on anything. This is intentional, we all know, simply because Obama is a Dem and joe's a moron.

    So, Brian24, it isn't about truth, it's about joes' games to try to distract people from what Obama really is, so they can go back to just thinking "Change" and not really think too much about Obama's definition of it.

    That said, all I'll say about intervention is if you're going to go, go. I remember being in a ship of Lebanon when the Marine barracks went up, not good. A peacekeeping force is at least partially based on the implied threat that if you fuck with them, you're going to get hammered. Reagan's approach was "Sorry our Marines got in the way of your bomb, we'll leave now." Doesn't give the implied threat much credence. Clinton had a chance to reverse this in Somalia, but instead we gave them a national holiday. If you're gonna go, go, and don't stop, Roman style. If you're not willing to do that, don't go. It's that simple.

  • Not Voting||

    "Tonight, I speak to you not as a candidate for President, but as a citizen - a proud citizen of the United States, and a fellow citizen of the world."


    Hey, I'm not speaking as a candidate for President either, so when's my turn to give a speech in front of throngs of Germans and the global media in Berlin?

  • Mr anonymous||

    Oh, puh-leez. Compare to McCain, who wants to throw China and Russia out of the G8, instigating a new Cold War.



    There's probably a better argument for throwing Russia and China out of the G8 than there is for invading the Sudan and that's not because there's a good argument for starting a second Cold War.

    Besides, if we're going to get another Cold War, I'd like it to be for a better reason than that we have accidentally blown up the Chinese Ambassador during a "peacekeeping mission" to some unknown country in the middle of nowhere that has no relevance to the interests of the American people.


    Athiests and people who deny the existance of God even believe this guy is the Holy messiah.



    Well, I'm agnostic and I find your crap to be slightly less irritating than Obama's crap. So, I guess, there goes that one.

  • Anonymous||

    but I never met anybody who thought it was uncool to know the truth

    Well, there's too much single-minded, blind-folded, in-bred philosophizing going on in the internet (cf. Kos, and to an increasing-but-not-quite-at-the-same amount LGF). That is exactly the culture that puts peer pressure (making it "un-cool") on revealing facts that contradict the Party Line. So you probably do know a whole lot of people like that, and each would vehemently deny it, and probably insult you because of the perceived insult to them. Their politics is of offense and insult, not of truth and consequences.

    Well, Jonah Goldberg did write a book that stated World War II was a war against three fascist powers, led by Stalin and Roosevelt, who were also fascist.

    Yeah, it makes my head hurt, too.


    If you assume they were fascist powers, then it makes sense for them to fight in a free-for-all for power: that's what fascism is about.

    "It's bad unless I like it or change my mind and if you say I liked it once I'll deny it!"

    Not only that, but the loyal troops fall in line to deny it as well. What's with the resistance to recognizing that as creepy?

    Hey, I'm not speaking as a candidate for President either, so when's my turn to give a speech in front of throngs of Germans and the global media in Berlin?

    1. Give Chris Matthews a tingle up his leg.
    2. ???
    3. Speech in Berlin!

  • George Washington||

    It is our true policy to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world

  • ||

    Actually, I see it every day from the likes of John, TallDave, and RC Dean.

    Utter horseshit, joe, at least in my case. I don't think I have ever said "If you don't support my Big Government Plan to encourage Liberty, you don't support Liberty." I'm gonna need a link for that.

    I understand perfectly well the POV of libertarians who didn't want to go into Iraq. I still think the initial decision was the least bad alternative that we had at the time, based not so much on its liberty-enhancing attributes, but on what I saw as the strategic alternatives that we had and their likely outcomes.

    I have never said that supporting the Iraq war was a pre-requisite for being a libertarian.

    You're usually better than this. Call it a day, and come back fresh tomorrow.

  • ||

    Yes, Other Matt, you can't follow the discussion so I must be spouting nonsense.

    Barack Obama doesn't argue the positions you assigned to him, so he's flip-flopping.

    Yawn.

  • ||

    RC Dean,

    I don't think I have ever said "If you don't support my Big Government Plan to encourage Liberty, you don't support Liberty."

    Are you kidding me? You make a habit of accusing anyone who doesn't support the Great Crusade To Civilize the Musselmen of not believing Arabs are capable of liberty, and of wanting them to be ruled by Saddam Hussein. You do this on a daily basis. Are you kidding me?

  • Kolohe||

    While Barack Obama took a premature victory lap today in the heart of Berlin, proclaiming himself a 'citizen of the world,' John McCain continued to make his case to the American citizens who will decide this election.

    maybe it's already been said, but the most hackish thing about this is that about a month or so ago, McCain was making trips and giving speeches in Canada and Columbia. I thought this would inoculate Obama with these foreign trips, because I did think at the time that if Obama made these trips he would be criticized as a global elitist.

    Mind you, I am very surprised at the amount of foreign travel from both sides; I don't remember any in the previous political campaigns of my lifetime.

  • Anonymous||

    McCain was making trips and giving speeches in Canada and Columbia.

    Was the media going around interviewing the natives asking who they'd vote for? (This is an honest question.) I even saw it on BBC via PBS not more than twenty minutes ago.

  • JB||

    I can't wait to see all the liberals vote for neocon Obama.

    But remember, people cheer when Democrats kill 3rd worlders.

  • Kolohe||

    Was the media going around interviewing the natives asking who they'd vote for?

    I will say that coverage that Obama's trip is getting has definitely outsized from what McCain got. McCain's coverage was only as an afterthought, 'Obama today held a big rally while in other news McCain gave a talk on trade in Ottawa.' Compared to now where just the fact that Obama was making a trip made news.

  • MlR||

    Time for the Hipster "Libertarians" to realize the Democrats are just as intervenist as the the Republicans? With the extra bonus of even more more domestic socialism and nanny-statism?

    Nah, probably not. There's still people to impress.

  • MlR||

    just as intervenist as the the Republicans?

    *just as interventionist as the Republicans

    Long day at work.

    Both parties have more or less the same playbook internationally. Occasionally they bicker over the tactics and rile up their bases, but they're both entirely game for Team America, World Police.

  • ||

    "Citizen of the world". It's a dumb line, and Obama--a purported constitutional law scholar--should know better. A "citizen" is, by definition, a person who is entitled to protection from a sovereign state. A citizen is a member of a discrete polity, with attendant civil rights and obligations. Citizenship was what the Dred Scott case was all about back in 1857: The Supreme Court ruled that blacks were not citizens of the United States and were not entitled to the rights of American citizens. Section 1 of the 14th Amendment was designed to correct that by explicitly providing that persons born in the United States are citizens of the U.S. and of the State in which they reside. There's nothing controversial about the concept.

    Without a state, there can be no citizenship. And there can be no "world citizenship" because there is no worldwide state. QED.

    Obama lets his rhetoric overtake his brain sometimes.

  • Anonymous||

    A "citizen" is, by definition, a person who is entitled to protection from a sovereign state.

    Yeah, his NWO slip was showing.

  • ||

    Yeah, his NWO slip was showing

    Hmm...he is from Chigaco, so he probably has worked with the Ministry guys.

  • Anonymous||

    "Featuring Nigga's Wit O'bama: the league for negro Irish hip-hop artists. First up: 'Dawk Braun' with MC 'Kiss Browny Stone'"

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