Update [2005-8-15 9:7:55 by deano]: I wrote this diary as an immediate reaction to the article. I didn’t want to say Biden was not a true Democrat and I do support a strong position for the Democrats on foreign policy. I just would rather see Democrats talk and act like Democrats instead of giving into the ideas and language of the right.

Rick Klein wrote an article on the front page of the Boston Globe entitled Democrats embrace tough military stance. At face value this message seemed fine, a tough stance against imminent threats and possible humanitarian intervention:

After months of internal debate and closed-door discussions, Democrats have begun to develop a more aggressive foreign policy that focuses heavily on threats they say are being neglected by the Bush administration, while avoiding taking a contentious stance on Iraq.
Even Democrats who have been associated with liberal positions on international affairs are calling for more troops in uniform, proposing that threats of force be used to stop nuclear weapons programs in Iran and North Korea, and pressing for potential military intervention to ease famine and oppression around the world.

But what really bothered me was the idea that this strategy is also a part of making Democrats look tough, i.e. this stance is not necessarily the right thing to do but will help us win elections.


The emerging message among Democrats reflects a recognition that winning congressional and presidential elections in the post-Sept. 11 era requires candidates to establish a willingness to use America’s military might and keep the nation safe, according to party leaders and strategists… Senator Evan Bayh, Democrat of Indiana, hit the presidential proving ground of Iowa early this month to warn that ”people don’t think we [Democrats] have the backbone” to deploy the military, and said Democrats must overcome that perception to be successful in future elections.

Now maybe this is just political rhetoric, whatever that means. But it seems to me that if this is meant seriously, it is unnecessary. Why can’t the strategists simple have Congressional members stress the actual use of force say under the Clinton administration. Why not defend the Democratic Party with its actual track record instead of lending credibility to Rumsfeld-speak?

Even Joe Biden pays lip service to the extremist status quo position that international law is meaningless in a Hobbesian world-view:

Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr. of Delaware, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has laid out a doctrine of rebuilding alliances while making clear that ”force will be used — without asking anyone’s permission — when circumstances warrant.”

I don’t mean to be misleading, some of the policies are noble such as a expanding veterans health care or giving adequate funds to the transit systems for better security. But, I do think there is a line. There is a line when crossed where Democrats in power cease to be true Democrats. Advocating for a foreign policy similar to that of the neo-conservative crowd for more votes at home is certainly going too far.

0 0 votes
Article Rating