Filling In The Gap: The Non-Existant Democratic Foreign Policy

This blog entry doesn’t mean very much for anyone who doesn’t agree with the ontological assumptions upon which its based. Assertions are cute, but if you don’t “impact” out your arguments then they don’t really mean much to me. For example, yes Obama is calling for supplemental money for Afghanistan. And this is bad because…(But that’s just a pet peeve of mine. You know thinking people should back up their arguments, yep, me being anal again.) That being said, this article highlights the biggest problem with the country’s foreign policy decisions.

As most of you know, I’m a democrat whose worked in democratic politics for a couple of years, so I’m hardly spouting off biased right wing bullshit. But it seems pretty clear that the democratic party doesn’t have and never really had a foreign policy strategy.

Yup, I said it.

Sure, we have very valid criticisms of Bush adminstration policy and arguments why the United States should do less of A and/or more of B. But at the core of the discussion, democrats have yet to supply a real world strategy outlining their goals in the Middle East and actions they should take to achieve them. Even the vocal and outspoken liberal wing of the party has yet to codify an alternative strategy, choosing to rely instead on constant calls of withdrawl of our military troops anytime they’re deployed, wherever they’re deployed.*

 * There’s nothing wrong with withdrawl per se, though I personally disagree with the idea. The problem lies in the fact that withdrawl is a tactic not a strategy. Same goes for diplomacy.

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The Intended Consequences of Seperation of Powers

Okay, this angers me:

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates visited southern Afghanistan late last week not only to assess the American war effort, but also to showcase the kind of conflict he thinks the military must prepare to fight in the years ahead.

Mr. Gates predicted more of these messy, unconventional wars, and he argued that this kind of conflict requires America to shift spending to items like mine-resistant vehicles, surveillance drones and medical-evacuation helicopters, at the expense of tanks, bombers and aircraft carriers.

But as Mr. Gates returned to Washington on Saturday for what will mostly likely be a lengthy, detailed and often hostile series of Congressional budget hearings this week, opponents of his risk assessment are attacking the spending plan as rendering America unprepared for traditional war.

They say the proposal goes too far in shifting money to unconventional warfare from the weapons needed to deter and defeat an enemy nation. And Mr. Gates’s focus on counterinsurgency training, they say, means that troops have not spent enough time honing their skills for conventional conflict.

Why is Congress telling the military what it does or does not need to fight a war? I understand that there’s a certain amount of oversight that’s necessary when you’re spending government money. Lord knows, I support more oversight of the Pentagon, but this isn’t oversight. This is politicians trying to decide US military tactics. This is especially alarming when their criticism comes in the form of “forget about buying weapons that will save lives and help win the war against terrorism right now, and buy more weapons for a theoretical war that MIGHT happen SOMEDAY.”

Really?

Look, I know that you did JROTC in high school and you’re getting huge kickbacks campaign contributions from defense contractors but why don’t we stay out of this one and let the real experts handle this one.

Required Readings: “Too Big To Fail”

Alright kids, here’s your homework for tonight.

Tim Geithner; too big to fail?

“If you think stopping global warming is expensive wait till you see how costly inaction is”

“The Idiots Guide to Pakistan is still really really complicated”

Is US Aid hurting Pakistan?

Can you guess the theme? Hint: its pretty obvious

The Lack of Double Standards

Andrew says:

What remains to be seen is whether or not President Obama will be butchered by the public for military adventurism as they did to President Bush.

This argument has been coming up a lot lately as conservatives try to push the “double standard” talking point. Essentially everyone worships Obama but he really is “teh suck”. Everyone hates Bush’s, and conservatives, foreign policy but Obama is just like him, etc, etc.

But what gets overlooked is that President Bush was hailed for 6 years before the public finally became fed up with the war. Foreign policy was the area that President Bush destroyed John Kerry with. Remember “We shouldn;t have to ask the world for a permission ship to defend America” or the national review putting Howard Dean on the front page with the title “Please Nominate This Man” because Dean was a major anti-war candidate and the war was still popular.

The American people tend to be supportive or unconcerned about foreign policy issues until it directly effects them or there’s massive American causalities. After being bogged down with a lack of progress for 6 years in Iraq and Afghanistan the American people finally got fed up. Had the Surge come earlier then there probably would’ve been a big difference in the way we view the war and Bush foreign policy.

NYT: Obama To Withdraw Troops in Iraq By 2010

So it begins:

President Obama is nearing a decision that would order American combat forces out of Iraq by August 2010 as he seeks to finally end a war that has consumed and polarized the United States for nearly six years, senior administration officials said Tuesday.

The timetable would give the military three months more to withdraw than the 16-month pullout Mr. Obama promised last year on the campaign trail. Officials said he was prepared to make that shift because he agreed with the concerns of ground commanders who wanted more time to cement security gains, strengthen political institutions and make sure Iraq did not become more unstable again.

Even with the withdrawal order, Mr. Obama plans to leave behind a “residual force” of tens of thousands of troops to continue training Iraqi security forces, hunt down foreign terrorist cells and guard American institutions, as he said he would during last year’s campaign.

I don’t have much to add to this news. We all knew troop withdrawal was coming and we all knew that residual forces would be left there, even when Obama and Edwards were slamming Clinton for supporting residual troops during the early primary. Still, the President’s plan seems to be avoiding the politicization of Iraq that plagued the Bush admistration and domination the democratic primaries this time last year.

BBC: CIA Helping Afghanistan Warlords Get Laid

Finally my taxpayer dollars are being spent wisely.

This just goes to show that there’s no problem that can’t be solved
by getting laid :

According to the BBC, the CIA has come up with a suprisingly effective inducement to get information from warlords in Afghanistan. Viagra.

The younger tribal leaders know about the drug already, but the older chiefs often don’t, and for them, its a godsend. “In one case, a 60 year old warlord with four wives was given four pills and four days lated detailed Talibain movements in return for more.” says the BBC.

An agent involved in this trade went into more detail. The particular warlord was in his 60’s and had four younger wives. The pills were explained, and offered. Four days later, the agents say, “He came up to us beaming. He said “You are a great man.”

Only one question. As my friend Jesse Singal e-mails, “Is this hard power or soft power?”

The male penis. Bringing peace to the world since the dawn of time.