Monday, January 08, 2007
bloodied, blinded, shaken, left in the horror of your bomb:
In Jeff Goldberg's latest New Yorker piece on Democrats and foreign policy, internationalism is war:
Bayh believes that the American experience in Iraq is turning some Democrats away from the Party’s internationalist tradition, and although that split in the Party is not new—it helped to shape the race in 2004—Bayh appears to think that it has become more intense as the next election draws closer. “While we’re rightfully pointing out those errors in Iraq, we’ve got to say very clearly that Afghanistan was the right war to fight,” he said. “There are those kinds of tough steps that occasionally involve the use of force. Lots of Americans wonder whether we Democrats have that in us.” ...
Clinton, Edwards, and Obama view themselves as internationalists—eager to keep America engaged in the world and willing to employ force if necessary. And yet, if polls are to be trusted, this outlook separates them from their party’s base. A 2005 poll conducted by the Democratic-affiliated Security and Peace Institute found that the top two foreign-policy priorities of Republicans were the destruction of Al Qaeda and a halt to nuclear proliferation; Democrats named the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and the elimination of AIDS. Grassroots Democratic opposition to the Iraq war has been especially potent; it cost Senator Joseph Lieberman the support of Democrats in his primary fight last year. Polls also show that a sizable minority of Democrats now feel that the war in Afghanistan was a mistake—thirty-five per cent, according to an M.I.T. survey conducted in November of 2005. Even more noteworthy, only fifty-seven per cent of Democrats questioned in the same poll would support the deployment of U.S. troops against a known terrorist camp. A German Marshall Fund poll in June of last year found that seventy per cent of Republicans would approve of military action as a last resort to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, as opposed to only forty-one per cent of Democrats.
Call this what you want -- dovishness would be a perfectly apt word -- but it's not a lapse of internationalism.

Furthermore, Goldberg ought to spell out what he thinks is wrong with it. I think it's a pretty awful idea to let terrorist exfiltration -- the real danger behind "terrorist camps" -- occur, but 43 percent of Democrats, post-Iraq, worrying about the use of U.S. ground forces in such an attack isn't unreasonable. Does Goldberg think we should invade, say, the Northwest Frontier Province of Pakistan? There are al-Qaeda people there, after all. Instead, we get superficial thinking, bromides, conventional wisdom and a stubborn refusal to absorb any mistake from Iraq. Maybe Evan Bayh, a guy who's been on board for the Iraq war at every turn, isn't the greatest tribune on national security.
--Spencer Ackerman