Maureen Dowd On The Faults of Republican Foreign Policy Realists and Idealists

Maureen Dowd has little respect for the “chardonnay diplomacy” of the foreign policy realists who are willing to wink at dictators as they butcher their own populations. The alternative idealism of the neocons is also faulty:

The Idealists who loved Ronald Reagan’s evocation of Thomas Paine — “We have it in our power to begin the world over again” — are right that Americans yearn for a moral foreign policy. It was sickening in 1989 to see Brent Scowcroft — another realist back in fashion — offering a cozy supper toast to Chinese leaders only six months after Tiananmen Square, and getting Poppy to lecture Ukrainians not to break the iron grip of Moscow.

It was sickening, after Bush père sold the Persian Gulf war as a moral mission, to see the 41 team decide at the end not to intervene to stop Saddam from slaughtering thousands of innocent Shiites and Kurds who rose up as the president had asked.

It was sickening when the first Bush administration decided to do nothing about the genocidal Serbian war on Bosnia in 1992. As Secretary of State Baker frostily explained, “We do not have a dog in that fight.” Justifying the administration’s tough stance toward Israel, the Velvet Hammer made another notorious comment. “(Expletive deleted) the Jews,” he told a colleague privately. “They didn’t vote for us anyway.”

But while the Idealists have a point, they also have a problem. Their moral war in Iraq was sold four years ago with two big lies: that Saddam had W.M.D. and that the Iraqis were yearning for democracy. And it has continued in a fog of deception about imaginary progress. It is immoral to put troops’ lives at risk because one is doctrinaire, to make people die for a failure of flexibility.

America’s bungled occupation and naïve assumptions unleashed sectarian bloodletting that could ultimately, as The Times’s John Burns wrote, “match the mass killing that characterized Mr. Hussein’s psychopathic years in power” and embolden authoritarian Arab leaders.

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