The Spectacle Blog

Dems and the Middle East

By on 9.6.06 | 11:25AM

Kevin Drum attempts to lay out what most Democrats agree on when it comes to the War on Terror. That is, if you exclude "the Chomsky wing on the left and the Lieberman wing on the right." Among the many aspects of his Democratic national security plan is this:

On the overseas front, we largely agree that, in the long term, we can only eliminate militant jihadism if we eliminate support for jihadists among the vast majority of Muslims in the Middle East/>. This requires genuine support for democracy, serious economic and trade programs aimed at the Middle East, and a public diplomacy program vastly superior to the laughable efforts currently underway. We support a far more active role for the

United States/>/> in negotiating a settlement between Israel/>/> and the Palestinians. We support a hardnosed dedication to diplomacy and negotiation, Richard Holbrooke style. We recognize that the moral high ground isn't just a nice thing to have, it's crucial to winning support for our policies — and that means a renewed dedication to taking seriously international institutions such as arms control regimes and the United Nations. Military action, when absolutely necessary, should be as sharp and pointed as possible, oriented toward counterinsurgency, not invasion and regime change.

In a nutshell, Drum says Democrats want to return to a Clinton-era forign policy. Somehow, a dependence on "arms control regimes and the United Nations," and even an agreement negotiated by Jimmy Carter, failed to stop the North Koreans from acquiring nuclear weapons. Should we try the same approach with Iran? Madeline Albright and Bill Clinton dedicated over a year of concentrated diplomacy to reaching a negotiated settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, and the Israelis offered Arafat the best deal conceivable. All it accomplished was to prove that -- Surprise! -- the Palestinians don't want peace. How a U.S.-led peace effort would have any better chance of succeeding now, with the Palestinian Authority led by Hamas, is beyond comprehension.  

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