quinta-feira, 16 de fevereiro de 2006

The “Isolationism” Canard

Cato Institute: "The “Isolationism” Canard", Justin Logan is a foreign policy analyst and a member of the Coalition for a Realistic Foreign Policy.

"During his State of the Union address, President Bush warned Americans about the lure of “isolationism.” (...)

In reality, there is a wide spectrum of views on America’s role in the world, and it is not adequately characterized by a “Bush supporters vs. isolationists” dichotomy. Many of us believe that the Bush administration’s definition of the national interest is absurdly broad; for instance, when the president claims that the security of Americans is contingent on “the end of tyranny in our world.” But our disagreement is not based on a desire to retrench ourselves in some walled commune, avoiding the world around us and ignoring the perils there. It is not isolation we seek, but a more discriminating view of the national interest.

The irony is that while the president is radically out of touch with the American foreign policy tradition, he accuses his opponents of following an extreme ideology. Bush’s belief that our security is contingent on congenial political arrangements in all foreign countries, no matter how obscure or strategically irrelevant they may be, is both wrong and dangerous. George F. Kennan, perhaps the senior American statesman of the 20th century, remarked in 1999 thatthis whole tendency to see ourselves as the center of political enlightenment and as teachers to a great part of the rest of the world strikes me as unthought-through, vainglorious and undesirable.” By contrast, Kennan argued that American foreign policy is at its best when it is “very modest and restrained.” Perhaps the president believes Kennan, the intellectual architect of America’s containment policy, was just an isolationist.

President Bush’s foreign policy is causing the Republic great harm, besmirching our reputation in the world and dragging his popularity down at home. Tarring his many (and varied) critics with the “isolationist” epithet will not change any of those phenomena. Recently, columnist George Will pleaded for an “adult hour” in this year’s State of the Union. Instead, the president decided to play politics with the discussion of Iraq—and of foreign policy generally. Will’s adult hour will not come until the president takes off his ideological blinders and acknowledges that the world—and foreign affairs—are much more complicated than white hat vs. black hat. Or Bush vs. the isolationists."

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