Sunday, August 26, 2007


"W" "W" II

Doug Bandow analyzes Rudy Giuliani's foreign policy. He doesn't like it -- and makes a very strong argument why no one else should either. A taste:
Of course, to back up his policy of endless war, Giuliani wants an even larger military, ten new combat brigades for the U.S. Army at least, as well as more bombers and submarines. He explains:

"For 15 years, the de facto policy of both Republicans and Democrats has been to ask the U.S. military to do increasingly more with increasingly less. The idea of a post-Cold War 'peace dividend' was a serious mistake – the product of wishful thinking and the opposite of true realism. As a result of taking this dividend, our military is too small to meet its current commitments or shoulder the burden of any additional challenges that might arise. We must rebuild a military force that can deter aggression and meet the wide variety of present and future challenges. When America appears bogged down and unready to face aggressors, it invites conflict."

In an essay filled with silly nonsense, this statement stands out as being uniquely stupid. Between 1980 and 2000 the Soviet Union disintegrated, the Warsaw Pact disbanded, Maoism disappeared from China, the former Soviet republics and Eastern European satellites gravitated towards America and Europe, and Vietnam opened to the West. As a result, the United States found itself allied with every major industrialized state as well as many former communist countries while, as Colin Powell famously put it, America's enemies were down to Cuba and North Korea. In this new world, Giuliani believes that the U.S. shouldn't have reduced military spending even a little?

Today the U.S. accounts for half of the globe's military spending. Europe spends far more than Russia on defense. South Korea vastly overmatches the North. Japan can, and is starting, to do, far more to ensure East Asian security. Just how much would be enough to satisfy Giuliani? Two-thirds of the world's military outlays? Three-fourths? Or should we shoot for a nine-tenths, just to be sure?

Moreover, Giuliani doesn't bother to explain where the extra troops will come from to fill his expanded Army. That service has had particular recruiting difficulties and has had to lower its standards, including granting thousands of "moral waivers" for enlistees with felony convictions. Is he prepared to conscript American young people if they don't share his enthusiasm for fighting the many wars he expects to wage around the world?

The problem is not an insufficient military, but too many commitments. Why are U.S. troops still stationed in Germany, South Korea, Great Britain, Japan, and more? Giuliani doesn't say. Yet he wants the U.S. to guarantee the security of more nations. NATO, he argues, should include "any state that meets basic standards of good governance, military readiness, and global responsibility, regardless of location." Ah, like Nepal, Thailand, Mongolia, Morocco, South Africa, Fiji, and Chile? Is there any country which Giuliani would not have us defend, if they met his standards? Maybe we could bring in India and Pakistan together, and protect each from the other. Why not invite China and Russia to join? Then we could rename the North Atlantic Treaty Organization the North Atlantic North Pacific Treaty Organization.

Further, the U.S. should engage in less nation-building in fewer hostile lands, not more. In effect, Giuliani wants an empire, though he doesn't use that word. But that's a natural step for someone who apparently thinks that running the world is essentially the same as running a city. Explains Giuliani: "I know from personal experience that when security is reliably established in a troubled part of a city, normal life rapidly reestablishes itself: shops open, people move back in, children start playing ball on the sidewalks again, and soon a decent and law-abiding community returns to life. The same is true in world affairs. Disorder in the world's bad neighborhoods tends to spread. Tolerating bad behavior breeds more bad behavior. But concerted action to uphold international standards will help peoples, economies, and states to thrive. Civil society can triumph over chaos if it is backed by determined action."

Does he really believe that fixing failed societies is so simple? If so, should the U.S. look forward to President Giuliani stationing American forces around the globe to bring order? Let's see: Iraq is the equivalent of Harlem; Venezuela looks like the south Bronx; Nepal is Queens; Kosovo fits the financial district; Burma matches Staten Island; Indonesia counts as Greenwich Village. Alas, improving policing within a city neighborhood is a little different than attempting to restructure a foreign society, transcending national, political, ethnic, religious, and historic differences. One must hope that Giuliani doesn't believe what he says, but merely is trying to turn his lack of foreign policy experience into an asset.

The whole piece makes for a great read.

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