Democratic Convention 2008

Out of Iraq, Into the World

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It's foreign policy day in Denver, so I've been taking a walk through the 94-page Democratic Party Platform. This bit seems important (page 33):

            "We believe we must also be willing to consider using military force in circumstances beyond self defense in order to provide for the common security that underpins global stability-to support friends, participate in stability and reconstruction operations, or confront mass atrocities."

Um, I could be wrong, but isn't that a fairly radical new doctrine on the use of military force? At the very least, it would certainly allow a wide range of interventions overseas. There are probably a dozen situations in the world today that would meet this test. Indeed, on page 39, we get this gem:

            "We will defend democracy and stand up for the rule of law when it is under assault, such as Zimbabwe."

The 82nd Airborne maybe be coming home from Iraq in an Obama Administration, but they might want to keep their duffle bags by the door.

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  1. This is a surprise, why?

  2. “We believe we must also be willing to consider using military force in circumstances beyond self defense in order to provide for the common security that underpins global stability-to support friends, participate in stability and reconstruction operations, or confront mass atrocities.”

    I agree.

  3. If you don’t see the difference between Kosovo 99 and Iraq 2002 then your pacifism has gotten the best of you.
    It is respectable but it is very far from where most Americans are

  4. I wouldn’t worry too much. It says “we must be willing to consider,” not “we must be willing to use force.” Not terribly strong.

    Also, “defend democracy and stand up for the rule of law” usually means “draft a strongly-worded statement” in politics-ese.

  5. They put that in print????

  6. “If you don’t see the difference between Kosovo 99 and Iraq 2002 then your pacifism has gotten the best of you.”

    I wouldn’t call the Russians pacifists.

  7. This is just more proof that both parties are the same. The Democrats are just as spineless and pathetic as the Republicans.

  8. The Democrats are just as spineless and pathetic as the Republicans.

    They are opposite sides of the same coin. And the coin is only a slug.

  9. Um, I could be wrong, but isn’t that a fairly radical new doctrine on the use of military force?

    Um, no. It’s indistinguishable from the foreign policy platforms of the Democrats for the past fifty years, and quite a bit less hawkish than that of the Republicans over the past two elections.

  10. Get over it, you namby pamby wuss. The Democrats are “willing to consider” use of force, and you’re worried about it?

    Gimme a break. Military force should always be an option, but ALWAYS a last resort, not a first response.

  11. I thought this was always the Liberal position. I’m sorry, I can’t afford anymore wars of honor. My kids are already in line to pony up for the last war that was supposed to be self financed by the victims. Unfortunately, now that the Republicans have thrown their hat into the National Greatness Ring there really aren’t any choices. The US needs serious devolution of power for everyones sake.

  12. 1) It just says “consider”. This is necessary to avoid being labeled a bunch of hippies.

    2) There’s a pretty big difference between this and neo-conservative foreign policy.

    For instance, would you have been against, in the early days of the Darfur genocide, sending a few dozen sorties of U.S. attack aircraft over Sudan to bomb their air force? Keep in mind that the Sudanese government was using their air force to bomb and kill people in Darfur. We could have knocked our their entire air command in 3 days and at least taken this means of genocide out of their arsenal, without ever putting U.S. boots on the ground.

    Or what about Clinton’s intervention in the former Yugoslavia?

    Now, part of the way we view these things is contingent on how they turned out – Bosnia was successful so it’s considered a “good war”. But I think liberals need to be careful about reading lines like this and assuming the Democratic platform has been taken over by neo-cons.

    More to the point, Obama isn’t bound to this entire document. He has a lot of input in writing it, but this is a national platform for the entire party, from the presidential race to downticket Congressional races. The positions of the President and the positions of his party are not always in lockstep.

  13. There is nothing untoward in a Democratic platform that includes a reference to military force as an option. In the proper context, using military force is just. Was Roosevelt wrong to declare war on Japan after Pearl Harbor? I don’t think so. This is not a platform plank that reads in any way like a GW Bush “signing statement.”

  14. This appears to be a subset of Christian Just War Theory. It is very different from the Bush Doctrine of preemptive military action such as our invasion and occupation of Iraq.

  15. “If you don’t see the difference between Kosovo 99 and Iraq 2002 then your pacifism has gotten the best of you.”

    The difference being what? In both cases, the US, and its allies, attacked a state that did not attack us. In the first instance, the made-up charge of genocide was concocted to put pressure on, and eventually remove, a mad dictator. In the second instance, the made-up charge of WMD, along with the charge of past geonocide, was concocted to remove a mad dictator. Oh wait there is a difference, I guess lying about WMD is worse than lying about genocide.

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