January 14, 2004

A Meme is Born: Dean as Unilateralist!

Blogosphere memes can sure travel fast. Drudge reports, Reynolds links--and traffic turns up over here from such Google searches.

For the record, Dean's Bosnia stance would actually makes me respect the guy more (partisan point scoring about the seeming hypocrisy surrounding Dean's hotted up outrage about Bush's "unilateralism" aside).

Let me explain. I've always resented Clinton for campaigning against Bush pere by accusing him of coddling dictators (Slobo, the Beijing gang, etc) and then, typically in the next sentence or so, pledging to lift the arms embargo on the Bosniaks and use punitive NATO air strikes against Bosnian Serb gunners terrorizing U.N. "safe" areas in Bosnia.

Why? Because after artificially raising expectations in Sarajevo that the Yankee cavalry was coming to the rescue (all that noble and breezy campaign rhetoric), Clinton did, er, nothing for three long years while the genocidal conflict in Bosnia-Herzegovina raged on (Dick Holbrooke finally, and very ably, brokered the Dayton Accords in late '95).

But wait, why the "would actually make me respect the guy more" language above re: Dean?

Because Dean was very, very late to the 'intervene-in-Bosnia' party.

Check out the date of the letter that Glenn links. July 19, 1995.

Why is that date significant?

Because it is just after the mega-massacre in Srebrenica--where approximately 8,000 Muslim males were slaughtered to death by Bosnian Serb forces under the command of the brutish (and wanted war criminal) Ratko Mladic.

In other words, just about everyone in the Washington chattering classes was (finally) waking up to the 'evil still stalks the planet' theme--just at the time Dean penned his letter (there must have been many similar missives landing in the Oval Office during that week).

Al Gore was telling Clinton, at a White House meeting around that time, that his daughters were bringing up the massacre over at the Gore residence (well, something has to drive executive branch policy, right?).

What shall I tell them about our impotence in the face of such brutish carnage, Gore basically queried Clinton (pity Gore's daughters hadn't been following the situation more closely back in '92!)

I mean even Jacques Chirac (yeah, that one) was urging Clinton to, yes, intervene to save the Srebrenica safe haven (though, bien sur, there was the requisite dose of Gallic bluster, ie. Paris wouldn't necessarily have backed up all the noble talk with real action). [ed. note: You're not surprised, are you?].

So you will forgive me if Dean's sudden fit of moral outrage and Burlington, Vermont letter-writing initiatives ring pretty hollow to me.

Nor does the Dean letter display some deep-seated foreign policy gravitas emitting from points Vermont.

Everyone and their mother was jumping on the 'do-something-about-Bosnia' bandwagon at exactly the time Dean penned his little cri de coeur ditty.

Put differently--too little, too late.

Come to think of it, that's likely what a Dean foreign policy would look like.

Posted by Gregory at January 14, 2004 03:32 PM
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