The Lincoln Plawg - the blog with footnotes
Thursday, June 17, 2004
Burgeoning clash of foreign policy ideologies - what about Kerry?
The blog's chosen specialist subject  for this presidential election is the Kerry foreign policy , with special reference to the risk of a Kerry administration launching pre-emptive invasions.
To date, it's been mostly a question of running the rule over some of the guys candidate Kerry has been relying on the company he chooses  for foreign policy advice: a sort of internship for possible roles in his administration, if there is one .
Now, following the 53 diplomats protesting about Bush Middle East policy , we have the 27 Diplomats and Military Commanders for Change, with their own website on which is a statement calling for regime change at home. The signatories are, I suspect, mostly known only to aficionados and professionals - most I do not know from Adam (or, in two cases, Eve).
Ron Brownstein today places them as distinctly Democratic-leaning.
He frames the division  in thinking thus:
The result of these tremors may be the most turbulence in the foreign policy landscape since the late 1970s, when a flight of hawkish Democratic thinkers known as neoconservatives migrated to the GOP in reaction to the dovish post-Vietnam foreign policy embraced by most Democratic politicians.
What do the 27 say on pre-emption? After condemning the general Bush MO - prioritising military action, failure to practise competent diplomacy and work with allies, the UN, etc, miserable execution in Iraq - we get
'No loyal American would question our ultimate right to act alone in our national interest; but responsible leadership would not turn to unilateral military action before diplomacy had been thoroughly explored.
It doesn't address pre-emptive war (or preventative war) as such - of course, if US territory were actually attacked, unilateral military action may be the only sane course to take.
I sense a deliberate fudge to avoid pronouncing on pre-emption.
And what of the Kerry campaign and the DMCC ? None of the names ring a bell with me as been on that long list of those at one time or another described in the media as Kerry foreign policy advisers. There is no quote from the Kerry campaign in the Brownstein piece (BC04 takes a hack!). The overall tone of the DMCC statement is a good deal less forward than what (rightly or wrongly) I would expect from Sandy Berger or Rand Beers: far closer to the Brent Scowcroft/Bush 41 relatively conservative line .
Kerry may reason that, if elected, he will have something far more than a Doctor's Mandate  merely to clean up Iraq and revert to Bush 41-style consensus policies that I suspect most of the 27 would be comfortable with. The first JFK stands as a tempting model (and the likes of Berger and Beers would be urging it on him): the 27's statement might even be used by B and B as an example of the safe, grey, establishment thinking that a President Kerry worthy of the name should reject.
An earlier Brownstein piece (June 13) on the initiative from before the statement was issued includes denials from both the group and the Kerry campaign that the campaign was involved .
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