6:18 PM

Of Doctrines and Media Inquisitions

Posted by Skye |

The Times got it wrong. And Charlie Gibson got it wrong.

There is no single meaning of the Bush doctrine. In fact, there have been four distinct meanings, each one succeeding another over the eight years of this administration — and the one Charlie Gibson cited is not the one in common usage today.

Krauthammer got it right. So did Sarah Palin.

But ask yourself: How would a real foreign policy sophisticate have replied to Gibson’s question?

H/T: Pelalusa for uncovering this telling interview:

Well, Anne-Marie Slaughter is the dean of the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton.

She was interviewed by Alan Johnson, for a book titled:
"Global Politics After 9/11: The Democratiya Interviews."
Johnson: What are the central differences, and what are the elements of continuity, if any exist, between 'the Bush doctrine' and the 'grand strategy of forging a world of liberty under law'?

Slaughter: Tell me what you mean by 'The Bush Doctrine'.

In other words, Dean Slaughter gave the same answer as did Palin.

In case you’re interested, the rest of the exchange – follows:

Johnson: Let's say a fairly aggressive strategy of promoting democracy, a willingness to use military force, and a refusal to be put off from using that force because you haven't been able to put an international alliance in place. Plus the idea that the root cause of the threat is the stagnation – politically, economically and culturally – of an entire region, so the only serious response is to promote political change in that region.

Slaughter: The Bush administration at its best looks long term at a lot of problems – terrorism is the most obvious. The Bush administration sees terrorists as a symptom and thinks their defeat requires social and economic and political change to empower individuals to make the most of their lives. And that's the concept of liberty – the liberty to flourish as human beings. And in that sense the Bush administration is continuing the policy of the Clinton administration, which continued the policy of the Reagan administration, which continued the policy of the Carter administration. You really have to go back to Kissinger before you get a break. A lot of what's happened since Kissinger was in reaction to a purely 'realist' foreign policy. So there is continuity there. We agree that long term democratisation is the best hope of creating a safer international environment for all of us. And yes, that does involve thinking about political change. Similarly, we also think there is great value in liberal democracies being able to bolster one another. So we propose a 'concert of democracies' – which has gotten a lot of heat – the Chinese and some Democrats are equally furious.

Johnson: Well, don't be put off.

Slaughter: Oh, we're not. But we differ from the 'Bush doctrine' on a number of grounds. First, the biggest difference between the neo-cons and John and me concerns the willingness to use military force. We share a lot of ends but we really disagree on means. John and I are far more skeptical of the ability to achieve long term change with what inevitably has to be short term means. Throwing troops at a problem is a short-term solution. Second, John and I are far more humble about how pro-active a role the United States can really play. We see a huge role for a community of liberal democracies to support new democratic forces in different countries, we see a role for economic change, we talk a lot about PAR (popular, accountable, and rights-regarding governments) and we believe that getting accountable government means fighting corruption, making things more transparent, making it clear where the money goes, building courts, ensuring checks and balances. Third, John and I think we are involved in a much more complex and longer term process. The Bush administration thinks 'Gee, we can just set things in motion and they will take it from there.’ In my new book I use this great quote from Jefferson where he says, 'The ball of liberty is now well in motion and will roll around the world.' Well, it's not that simple.

Clicky Web Analytics