Monday, May 05, 2003

Do Republicans have a coherent foreign policy?

Matthew Yglesias weighs in on this much blogged about column by Todd Gitlin about the Democrats not having a "coherent foreign policy". Several others have done so as well here, here, here and here. Mathew brings an overlooked point: On the third hand, it's not as though the GOP really has a coherent foreign policy. Rather, congressional Republicans seem happy to follow wherever Bush will lead them and Bush picks and chooses amidst the conflicting advice he gets from within his administration seemingly through a method of capriciousness mixed with political expediency. Aren't the Democrats buying into yet another Republican spin point on this matter? Is the Bush administration's foreign policy really all that coherent? Just consider the conflicting ways in which it has handled Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Israel/Palestine, India/Pakistan, etc., etc., etc. I defy anyone to describe the Bush foreign policy in a way that is both coherent and consistent with what they have actually done in each of these foreign policy hot spots. There was a period in which the "your with us or against us" Bush Doctrine was touted as this administrations "coherent" foreign policy. But even his supporters don't try to make that case anymore. Indeed, Bush's foreign policy seems to be driven more by a fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants approach while simply asserting that it is all consistent and coherent. The only thing coherent about Bush's foreign policy, indeed ALL of his policies, is that it is based on the fundamental assertion that whatever Bush says is right and that just that. Is that really a "coherent foreign policy"? Or isn't it just the mark of a spoiled brat who happens to be swinging an awfully big stick?

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