Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Getting specific on foreign policy

The Tough Democrat brings up a good point about Howard Dean: he needs to craft a military intervention policy that is based on something other than his opposition to the Iraq War:
Dean could change his image in a second if he came out with a foreign policy that supported military intervention in Liberia, for example. He could steal the issue from the President, who is now considering sending in peacekeepers. And it would demolish the peacenik image that allows centrists to cartoon Dean as a McGovernite.
Dean has been trying to do this already to a certain extent with his recent speech to the CFR. But no amount of theory will overcome the peacenik image that some have attached to Dean. TD is right that he needs to come out with a specific proposal on some foreign policy dilemma that will prove his willingness to use the military if necessary. Clinton did much the same thing in the '92 campaign when he urged U.S. intervention in the Balkans. TD suggests that Dean could do the same by coming out in favor of sending U.S. forces to Liberia. I would hope, however, that Dean would NOT make a decision like this based purely on political calculation. If he were to come out in support of military intervention in Africa I would hope he would do so primarily because he actually believes it is the right thing to do. The political benefit from supporting such a proposal should always be secondary. Can anyone think of any other concrete proposal's Dean could make?

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