Monday, June 12, 2006

To give 'em hell or not to give 'em hell

Katrina Vanden Heuvel offers her thoughts on Peter Beinart's plea for a 21st century Harry Truman in the Democratic Party. It's not ringing true with her. Instead, she reaches back into the 1930s and pulls out Franklin Roosevelt's Good Neighbor Policy as a guideline for a new Democrat-led American foreign policy:

Of course, liberals need an effective national security strategy. But can we please stop with all the hurrahs about Harry Truman and his liberal national security achievements? What we need to do is reclaim another liberal, internationalist and eminently (as well as ethically) "realist" foreign policy tradition. It is the "Good Neighbor" policy crafted and championed by Franklin Roosevelt.

A "Good Neighbor" policy stresses the need for a community of nations to keep the peace and to promote economic dignity and prosperity for people in the developing as well as developed worlds. This liberal internationalist tradition rejects unilateral dominance and favors developing a "community of power" to keep the peace; It gives priority to a system of international law and governance over "preemptive" wars and unilateralism; It understands that to be effective, our foreign policy must work in tandem with reforms at home--to improve security, quality of life and basic rights; It considers military power to be a complement to, not a substitute for, economic power and diplomacy; and it gives a more central role to spreading economic prosperity to ensure peace and stability and environmental sustainability.

It should come as no surprise that the editor of the Nation reaches back to the 1930s, the heyday of American leftism. If I'm not mistaken, the Europeans bent over backwards to be good neighbors with that Hitler guy, but he just couldn't be appeased. A Good Neighbor Policy works best when all parties are good neighbors to begin with. One especially bad neighbor can make the whole neighborhood miserable. You may ignore him for a while, but what can you do when he becomes too overbearing and starts berating you about how your wife and daughter dress and condemns you to hell for owning a dog?

I find Beinart's foreign policy fare more palatable than Vanden Heuvel's. If the Democrats happen to regain control of foreign policy in '08, I'd prefer his side wins out in the Democratic infigting. However, I hope I don't have to worry about it.


Anonymous bubba said...

"However, I hope I don't have to worry about it."

By most political indicators, I'm afraid you WILL have to worry about it. The remaining oases of rationality in the Democratic fold are being forced out at all costs by the dedicated agenda driven Lefties.

That's why you continue to read about how devisive the Republicans are. These dedicated Lefties suffer from Projection Disorder, and the Antique Media just gobbles it up.

Any political gains the Democrats make in this upcoming election will be short lived. The voting public won't be fooled for long.

Blogger Glenn said...

I think you're right Bubba. I was just hoping for the best just in case the Dems do pull it off. However, I don't think they have a chance if they go the Vanden Heuvel Good Neighbor route.


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