January 10, 2004

Bush's Foreign Policy in 2003: A Report Card

Go read this entire Walter Russell Mead interview. He's pretty much right on throughout.

Here's a teaser (especially for any of you flirting with Wes Clark or Howard Dean lurking out there):

Q: Does that mean the Democrats are mistaken in criticizing Bush for not taking the allies more into account in Iraq?

A: "Yes. I think the Democrats have yet to develop either a serious, thoughtful critique or an alternative to the Bush policy. Basically, they've spent several months complaining that he hadn't caught Saddam Hussein. Almost immediately, when Saddam Hussein was captured, they said, "Well, he still doesn't have Osama." This is not a critique. You hear criticism that Bush didn't get France on board. There's a quote from Howard Dean, running around the internet now, that notes that in 1998, I think it was, Dean said, "It is useless to try and get France on your side. They are opposed to us."

The truth is France is opposed to an expansion of United States power in the Middle East and sees that as perhaps more dangerous to France than the activities of some of the local despots. The idea that if we could just ask more nicely everyone would do what we want is as absurd as the thought that if we just tell them firmly everyone will just fall into line. Among the Democrats running for president, you have some very unconvincing and partial criticisms of Bush's strategy. Probably the best approach has been taken by Hillary and Bill Clinton, and neither one is running this time. They have managed rather successfully to do probably what any Democrat needs to do: embrace the core strategy of the war on terror and even accept the prioritization of Iraq within the war on terror, and then make criticisms about "woulda, coulda, shoulda" done this a little bit different or a little bit better."

You know Howard/Wes, I knew Hillary, and you're no Hillary...

Posted by Gregory at January 10, 2004 04:55 PM
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