• Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Subscribe
  • RSS

Rudy Giuliani’s Dangerously Stupid Foreign Policy Vision

Foreign Affairs is giving each of the major 2008 presidential candidates space to write a manifesto of their views on international relations. Rudy Giuliani has weighed in with “Toward a Realistic Peace.” [Also at RCP.] It is not particularly realistic — let alone Realist — and certainly does not contemplate peace.

Highlights:

  • “We have responded forcefully to the Terrorists’ War on Us, abandoning a decadelong — and counterproductive — strategy of defensive reaction in favor of a vigorous offense.”
  • “Much like at the beginning of the Cold War, we are at the dawn of a new era in global affairs, when old ideas have to be rethought and new ideas have to be devised to meet new challenges.”
  • “[U]nless we pursue our idealistic goals through realistic means, peace will not be achieved.”
  • “A realistic peace is not a peace to be achieved by embracing the ‘realist’ school of foreign policy thought. That doctrine defines America’s interests too narrowly and avoids attempts to reform the international system according to our values.”
  • “The first step toward a realistic peace is to be realistic about our enemies. They follow a violent ideology: radical Islamic fascism, which uses the mask of religion to further totalitarian goals and aims to destroy the existing international system. These enemies wear no uniform. They have no traditional military assets. They rule no states but can hide and operate in virtually any of them and are supported by some.”
  • “We must be under no illusions that either Iraq or Afghanistan will quickly attain the levels of peace and security enjoyed in the developed world today. . . . [S]ome U.S. forces will need to remain for some time in order to deter external threats.”
  • “Many historians today believe that by about 1972 we and our South Vietnamese partners had succeeded in defeating the Vietcong insurgency and in setting South Vietnam on a path to political self-sufficiency. But America then withdrew its support, allowing the communist North to conquer the South.”
  • “The United States must not rest until the al Qaeda network is destroyed and its leaders, from Osama bin Laden on down, are killed or captured.”
  • “The U.S. Army needs a minimum of ten new combat brigades. It may need more, but this is an appropriate baseline increase while we reevaluate our strategies and resources. We must also take a hard look at other requirements, especially in terms of submarines, modern long-range bombers, and in-flight refueling tankers.”
  • “The next U.S. president must also press ahead with building a national missile defense system. America can no longer rely on Cold War doctrines such as ‘mutual assured destruction’ in the face of threats from hostile, unstable regimes. Nor can it ignore the possibility of nuclear blackmail.”
  • “Constellations of satellites that can watch arms factories everywhere around the globe, day and night, above- and belowground, combined with more robust human intelligence, must be part of America’s arsenal.”
  • “We must also develop detection systems to identify nuclear material that is being imported into the United States or developed by operatives inside the country. Heightened and more comprehensive security measures at our ports and borders must be enacted as rapidly as possible.”
  • “Diplomacy should never be a tool that our enemies can manipulate to their advantage. Holding serious talks may be advisable even with our adversaries, but not with those bent on our destruction or those who cannot deliver on their agreements.”
  • “The theocrats ruling Iran need to understand that we can wield the stick as well as the carrot, by undermining popular support for their regime, damaging the Iranian economy, weakening Iran’s military, and, should all else fail, destroying its nuclear infrastructure.”
  • “Another step in rebuilding a strong diplomacy will be to make changes in the State Department and the Foreign Service. The time has come to refine the diplomats’ mission down to their core purpose: presenting U.S. policy to the rest of the world.”
  • “It is clear that we need to do a better job of explaining America’s message and mission to the rest of the world, not by imposing our ideas on others but by appealing to their enlightened self-interest. To this end, the Voice of America program must be significantly strengthened and broadened. Its surrogate stations, such as Radio Free Europe and Radio Liberty, which were so effective at inspiring grass-roots dissidents during the Cold War, must be expanded as well.”
  • “We should open [NATO]’s membership to any state that meets basic standards of good governance, military readiness, and global responsibility, regardless of its location. The new NATO should dedicate itself to confronting significant threats to the international system, from territorial aggression to terrorism.”
  • “Even as we work with [Russia and China] on economic and security issues, the U.S. government should not be silent about their unhelpful behavior or human rights abuses.”
  • “Ultimately, the most important thing we can do to help Africa is to increase trade with the continent. U.S. government aid is important, but aid not linked to reform perpetuates bad policies and poverty.”
  • The UN sucks but it’s also very good. Mumble mumble mumble.
  • “Middle East, Africa, and Latin America remains mired in poverty, corruption, anarchy, and terror” but it could be otherwise. Somehow.
  • “America has a clear interest in helping to establish good governance throughout the world. Democracy is a noble ideal, and promoting it abroad is the right long-term goal of U.S. policy. But democracy cannot be achieved rapidly or sustained unless it is built on sound legal, institutional, and cultural foundations.”
  • “Too much emphasis has been placed on brokering negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians — negotiations that bring up the same issues again and again. It is not in the interest of the United States, at a time when it is being threatened by Islamist terrorists, to assist the creation of another state that will support terrorism. Palestinian statehood will have to be earned through sustained good governance, a clear commitment to fighting terrorism, and a willingness to live in peace with Israel. America’s commitment to Israel’s security is a permanent feature of our foreign policy.”
  • “Ever more open trade throughout the world is essential. Bilateral and regional free-trade agreements are often positive for all involved, but we must not allow them to become special arrangements that undermine a truly global trading system.”
  • “Companies such as Pepsi, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Levi’s helped win the Cold War by entering the Soviet market. Cultural events, such as Van Cliburn’s concerts in the Soviet Union and Mstislav Rostropovich’s in the United States, also hastened change. Today, we need a similar type of exchange with the Muslim countries that we hope to plug into the global economy.”
  • “A hybrid military-civilian organization — a Stabilization and Reconstruction Corps staffed by specially trained military and civilian reservists — must be developed. The agency would undertake tasks such as building roads, sewers, and schools; advising on legal reform; and restoring local currencies.”
  • “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.”

Giuliani’s right on trade and cultural exchanges. His embrace of a variation of Thomas Barnett’s Systems Administration Corps is interesting and bold, albeit problematic for a variety of reasons.

Otherwise, I must concur in Matt Yglesias‘ judgment: “this man is batshit insane.”

For a time, Giuliani was my favorite of the 2008 candidates. He’s got serious executive experience, is a charismatic leader, and sufficiently moderate on the social issues that I thought he had the chance to put together a 60 percent coalition to break the polarization that has so poisoned American politics in recent years. While I disagree with him on abortion and some other issues, I was able to put that aside for a variety of practical reasons.

Unfortunately, the more I learn about Giuliani, the less I like him. His chief advantage, the sense that he’s a grown-up who will take a pragmatic but aggressive role in fighting the Islamist terrorists, is undermined by his unserious pandering.

The alarm first sounded for me with his politically astute but disingenuous attack on Ron Paul for his suggestion that al Qaeda hates our foreign policy, not just our freedom. I chalked that up to the necessities of politics rather than a lack of understanding of the most important national security issue of our time. The more I hear and read, though, the more I think Giuliani is either a charlatan or a simpleton. Either he’s lying to us and we therefore have no idea what his foreign policy will be or, worse, this is what he really thinks. Either way, it’s not good.

The “Terrorists’ War on Us” label is annoying but, again, probably smart campaign politics. I can abide sloganeering. But the approach he lays out for fighting it seems designed to exacerbate it. Indeed, it seems he intentionally picked out the worst parts of the foreign policies of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter.

Essentially, he wants to massively increase a defense budget that already spends more than the rest of the countries on the planet combined so as to buy more submarines and anti-missile systems to protect us against a land-based guerrilla movement. We’re then going to use that military to go in, apparently, to topple every regime we don’t like and to wipe out every instance of non-democratic badness and spend decades occupying those countries. All, of course, while winning friends and influencing people.

We’re going to have a diplomatic policy that finally lives up to the caricature of Bush policy. We’re not going to talk to anyone unless they already agree with us. Our diplomats are simply going to be propaganda instruments from now on. And our media, too! And we’ll win the hearts and minds of Muslims everywhere by allying ourselves even more closely with the Israelis while punishing the Palestinian people.

We’re going to spend billions on surveillance systems to ensure that nothing escapes the attention of the U.S. government.

We should learn the one lesson from Vietnam that no serious student of that war has learned: We were THIS CLOSE to winning!

What’s worse is that some team of experts actually wrote this, not Giuliani himself. So this has been filtered and edited and focus grouped so as to appeal to a wider audience. So, Giuliani’s real views are probably much crazier. Just think how well he’d make decisions during an actual crisis!

Jim Henley has by far the most amusing synopsis of this piece I’ve seen thus far; I commend it to your in its entirety. The best line:

You will not enjoy a day of peace so long as Rudy has anything to say about it. Peace is something we will “achieve” in the distant future when the lion has been clubbed senseless with the lamb.

Ezra Klein thinks Giuliani is the standard bearer of the neo-cons, “He’s the closest thing to Cheney in the race — right down to the authoritative, secretive streak — and is probably the most dangerous of the Republican contenders.” His first commenter is right, though: This is beyond ideology; it’s just dumb.

UPDATE: His illegal immigration policy isn’t any smarter. It apparently involves nuking Mexico.

UPDATE: Alex Massie sums it up well in his post headline: “PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH, STRENGTH THROUGH JOY, JOY THROUGH WAR.” And there’s this:

Rudy can’t see a mole without wanting to whack it. That might work on a city scale, but it’s absurd to think that clearing hookers and pan handlers out of Times Square is somehow a blueprint for foreign policy.

Quite.

UPDATE: And the reviews keep pouring in!

  • Dan Drezner: “Sweet Jesus . . . [t]his is an unbelievably unserious essay.”
  • Steve Benen: “His approach to foreign policy is spectacularly dangerous, irresponsible, and stupid. Imagine Dick Cheney with a loaded gun in one hand, and an empty bottle of antidepressants in the other, and you can start to get the idea.”
  • Fred Kaplan: “Had it been written for a freshman course on international relations, it would deserve at best a C-minus (with a concerned note to come see the professor as soon as possible).”

Related Posts:

  • None Found

About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He earned a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Anjin-San says:

    “Many historians today believe that by about 1972 we and our South Vietnamese partners had succeeded in defeating the Vietcong insurgency and in setting South Vietnam on a path to political self-sufficiency. But America then withdrew its support, allowing the communist North to conquer the South.”

    What the hell is this guy smoking??

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  2. se7en says:

    The more I learn about Romney, the more I like him.

    Anyone see Hannity & Colmes last night? Superb interview.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  3. Raymond says:

    Yea! More military, more war, no diplomacy, more propaganda. We are going to “Make the world safe for democracy” at the cost of the US taxpayer.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  4. Michael says:

    So McCain is down and out, Romney has no chance, Fred Thompson hasn’t entered the race and already is mired in bad news, and now Giuliani is “Dangerously Stupid”. Who exactly will you be voting for?

    As someone mentioned on one of the liberal blogs, Democrats are faced with choosing between candidates they like, while Republicans are faced with choosing which candidate they can stomach voting for.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  5. James Joyner says:

    Who exactly will you be voting for?

    McCain is currently my least unfavorite and he’s growing on me. I don’t know that he has a chance at recovery.

    I’ve got serious qualms about Thompson and have a dislike for Romney that I can’t really explain; he just strikes me as creepy.

    As someone mentioned on one of the liberal blogs, Democrats are faced with choosing between candidates they like, while Republicans are faced with choosing which candidate they can stomach voting for.

    That may well be. Certainly, it would be true if Obama somehow gets the nomination. There are certainly plenty of anti-Hillary Dems.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  6. brainy435 says:

    “…buy more submarines and anti-missile systems to protect us against a land-based guerrilla movement.”
    You purposely twisted seperate arguments into this rediculous tripe, when you really should know better. Portion of comment in violation of site policies deleted.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  7. More Rudy…

    MORE RUDY….Hell, James Joyner is a conservative, so I’d expect him to be at least a little more sympathetic toward Rudy Giuliani’s recent foreign policy manifesto than me. But no. The former Giuliani fan, after watching America’s Mayor in action…..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  8. James Joyner says:

    You purposely twisted seperate arguments

    He says over and over again that the Islamists are the focus of our national security policy. Why on earth do we need more long range bombers and submarines, then? And who is it that’s going to send ICBMs against us?

    It’s just cover-all-bases fear mongering.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  9. brainy435 says:

    Well, you could start with part of the argument for the missle defense shield…you know, the freakin context.
    Rogue regimes that know they can threaten America, our allies, and our interests with ballistic missiles will behave more aggressively, including by increasing their support for terrorists.” Emphasis added.

    Or maybe you just missed this:
    “Defeating the terrorists must be our principal priority in the near future, but we do not have the luxury of focusing on it to the exclusion of other goals. World events unfold whether the United States is engaged or not, and when we are not, they often unfold in ways that are against our interests. The art of managing a large enterprise is to multitask, and so U.S. foreign policy must always be multidimensional.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  10. Anderson says:

    Giuliani reminds me more and more of the politician-villain in Stephen King’s The Dead Zone (the book, never saw the movie).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  11. al-Anon says:

    As someone mentioned on one of the liberal blogs, Democrats are faced with choosing between candidates they like, while Republicans are faced with choosing which candidate they can stomach voting for.

    The problem isn’t the candidates but the Republican Party itself. The fact that your local Chevy dealer doesn’t offer a car you like isn’t the fault of the cars themselves, but the company that makes them. A party that thinks government is the problem isn’t going to do a good job at governing, period.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. The Giuliani Doctrine…

    PEACE THROUGH STRENGTH, STRENGTH THROUGH JOY, JOY THROUGH WAR Apparently policing the world really is like cleaning up Gotham:In this decade, for the first time in human history, half of the world’s population will live in cities. I know from personal…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  13. Triumph says:

    We have to remember that Giuliani is an AMERICAN HERO. He is the only candidate of either party who was a rescue worker at 9/11.

    This is all the experience anybody needs.

    For crissakes, Bush was an alcoholic, failed oil man, weak Governor. Giuliani happened to be the Mayor during 9/11–as such, that is all of the credentialing he needs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  14. More candidates in Foreign Affairs…

    In the September/October issue of Foreign Affairs, Rudy Giuliani and John Edwards get a crack at articulating their foreign policy vision. The gist of Giuliani’s essay, “Towards a Realistic Peace”: The next U.S. president will face three key foreign…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  15. another matt says:

    Giuliani reminds me more and more of the politician-villain in Stephen King’s The Dead Zone (the book, never saw the movie).

    I consider the movie to be one of the best adaptations ever made of a King novel. If you enjoyed the novel, I highly recommend the movie.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  16. Cornfields says:

    Much of the problem with the current administration is that it absolutely refuses to respect (often even consider) the views of experts in any given field. Real foreign policy experience (across the political spectrum) has been replaced by neo-con and think-tank hackery. They denigrate the so-called “reality-based” based community, the pragmatists and state department types. They looked askance at real foreign policy expertise and experience, because it carried a taint of foreign sympathy and cosmopolitanism.

    Unfortunately, these traits are alive and well in Giuliani’s paper. For example:

    “Another step in rebuilding a strong diplomacy will be to make changes in the State Department and the Foreign Service. The time has come to refine the diplomats’ mission down to their core purpose: presenting U.S. policy to the rest of the world.”

    and

    “A realistic peace is not a peace to be achieved by embracing the ‘realist’ school of foreign policy thought. That doctrine defines America’s interests too narrowly and avoids attempts to reform the international system according to our values.”

    And though I am strong supporter of dialog and cultural exchange, I find the following quote (and here is where I disagree with you Mr. Joyner) hopelessly anachronistic and naive:

    “Companies such as Pepsi, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Levi’s helped win the Cold War by entering the Soviet market. Cultural events, such as Van Cliburn’s concerts in the Soviet Union and Mstislav Rostropovich’s in the United States, also hastened change. Today, we need a similar type of exchange with the Muslim countries that we hope to plug into the global economy.”

    This is a hopelessly out-of-touch comparison. The cold war was fought without the internet, the cheap phone cards, the level of foreign immigration and travel, the spread of tv progamming and dvds, that we have today. I bet the writer behind this has not been been out of the country since the end of the cold war. No doubt, longing for Western goods and Western (often material) culture encouraged the downfall of the Communist east. But now, in Muslim countries (and elsewhere), it is often precisely the spread of Western culture and products which are spurring resentment. Such cultural is perceived as a form of colonization. It is also perceived as hypocritical (fairly and unfairly) when our projected values (tolerance, clean politics, human rights, upward mobility) do not seem to square with our actions or our domestic reality. And however much I want the rest of the world to embrace many American values, I do not believe that such resentment is necessarily a product of poor communication or ignorance on the part of others. I support cultural exchange, but the sort of cultural exchanges suggested above are absolutely worthless from a policy perspective.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  17. Cornfields says:

    For me, the next election comes down to choosing the least ideological candidate, the most pragmatic, and the most inclined to following the advice of experts.

    Parsing through the candidates, McCain appears to be a pragmatist and relatively un-ideological, but he also does not seem inclined to follow the advice of experts (and no, he does not qualify himself, however many years he has sat on a committee of spent in a POW camp). I cannot take Giuliani half seriously after the above (and this somewhat surprised me, I expected pablum not outright fruitcake!) I am less sure of Romney, but have been so far unimpressed.

    On the Democratic side, Obama is likely the smartest single candidate out there, but I am wary of “authentic” candidates and personality driven politics. At the moment he also seems more driven by campaign strategy (distinguishing himself from Bush and other candidates)than by actual problems and solutions. His comments at time (on Pakistan and foreign relations) seem naive. Edwards is undistinguished in any way. Richardson invites the embrace of cronyism. Clinton seems the best possible choice: hard-nosed but expert- and success-driven. She may be fairly liberal, but she is hardly an ideologue. Her liberal domestic policy choices are considerably constrained (by political reality) and her foreign policy instincts seem good.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. M1EK says:

    I’m disappointed – I used to like Giuliani, and as a Dem-leaner the last few years, he had a shot at getting my vote depending on who the Dems put up, but his foreign policy is even dumber than Bush’s.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  19. Cornfields says:

    “Many historians today believe that by about 1972 we and our South Vietnamese partners had succeeded in defeating the Vietcong insurgency and in setting South Vietnam on a path to political self-sufficiency. But America then withdrew its support, allowing the communist North to conquer the South.”

    By this, I suspect that he is referring to a common argument that the US lost Vietnam only because we gave up. The usual evidence cited to support this is the fact that we never lost a large military engagement in Vietnam. This point is frequently taught in history classes for cadets and others entering the military. It is much much much less accepted by historians and policy experts. Why? Because most experts do not believe that there was a viable military solution to the Vietnam conflict. It is very difficult to imagine a favorable outcome in Vietnam (at least by the late 1960s) unless you accept permanent occupation and its costs (in terms of lives, money, and conscience). The “stab in the back” explanation for the disaster of Vietnam is much better politics than policy. I can only imagine them criticizing MacArthur for abandoning the Philippines at the start of WWII. Surely Iraq is a disaster (as was the Philippines and Vietnam), but we need to step back and look at the big picture. We need to fight the battles we can win and quit wasting the public patience, lives and resources, on battles we can’t. Frankly, it is not entirely clear that pulling out of Iraq, won’t help better spread the burden of Iraq, and the incentives for settling the situation peacefully. No doubt Syria, Iran and Saudi Arabia are enjoying the fact that we are bogged down in Iraq, but none of these countries would benefit from a destabilizing civil war or the presence of radical Sunni Islam in Iraq (radical Shia is another question).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  20. Andy says:

    I don’t see how anyone can question Rudy!’s foreign policy experience after he put his love shack/city command center in the primary target zone for terrorist attacks.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  21. Tano says:

    “Republicans are faced with choosing which candidate they can stomach voting for.”

    Its not forbidden to become a Democrat, y’know…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. Clyde says:

    > We have to remember that Giuliani is an AMERICAN
    > HERO…a rescue worker at 9/11. This is all the
    > experience anybody needs.
    Before you take another swig of that KoolAid, here’s a second opinion from Jimmy Riches of the FDNY, who was there in person:

    “He is such a liar…On 9/11 all he did was run. He got that soot on him, and I don’t think he’s taken a shower since.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  23. […] James Joyner, Daniel Drezner, Jim Henley […]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  24. Beldar says:

    Dr. Joyner, I’m reluctant to take you on regarding matters military, but here goes:

    He said we need 30 combat brigades to start with. By expressing this in terms of brigades (rather than, say, divisions or just thousands of soldiers), I think he’s signaling a major beef-up in the capacity for semi-autonomous units like the Stryker forces currently enjoying better fortunes in Iraq, I think. I think you’ve rather pointedly ignored this entire component of his proposed military build-up, which Giuliani actually put first. And I don’t know about start-up and continuing costs, but my guess is that 30 new combat brigades is probably the biggest single dollar-value component of his proposed military expansion over time, even as expensive as the other items are per purchase.

    He also says tanker aircraft. Surely their utility in supporting counter-insurgency ops is obvious, isn’t it? There’s no genuine dispute that our existing tanker fleet, much of which is built on Boing 707 frames, is obsolete. We’d have them en route already, with bipartisan congressional approval, except for the Boing leasing/graft scandal, if I understand the history of this subject at all.

    As for subs: My guess is he’s referring to the newer multi-purposes subs that can not only fire cruise missiles but that are designed to carry and land SEAL teams and their amphibious vehicles. Again, this is almost certainly for counterinsurgency ops, not strategic nuclear deterrence.

    Finally: In absolute numbers, our B-2 fleet is small, as is our F-117A stealth fighter fleet. Nothing yet flying off our carriers is as stealthy or long-ranged. The new F-22A Raptors are stealthy but also don’t have the range, they’re also wildly expensive, and they’re still largely unproven in combat. We may not be using the F-117As and B-2s right now in Iraq or Afghanistan to the extent we did early in either of those conflicts (although just how much we’re using them, I don’t know and I doubt the general public is supposed to know). If we have another broad conflict like Afghanistan or Iraq, though, we certainly will need to use them heavily again. And if we’re doing counter-insurgency ops in places in the world where we don’t already have absolute 24/7/365 air superiority and abundant alternative tactical air assets close at hand, we’ll need them for that too. Would you not agree, for example, that we ought to at least consider replacing the F-117As and B-2s that wear out or are lost to accidents, simply to maintain current fleet sizes? Would you not agree that it’s at least prudent to have sufficient long-range stealthy assets so that we could credibly project at least a strongly implied threat that we could degrade Iran’s nuclear program or overall military capacity at times and to degrees of our choosing, and maintain that for however long need be? My recollection is that during the first few months of the Iraq War, these guys had to function at superhuman levels to keep pace with the demands we had for them. Do you want that to be the norm? Do you want ca. 2003 Iraq under Saddam to define the outer limit of what we can do with these assets when the pilots and crews are in maximum overdrive?

    The long-range bombers are an area where right now we enjoy overwhelming technical superiority. If there’s an over-riding theme to all of Giuliani’s paper, it’s that we should play to our strongest points, not stand pat on them or let them degrade.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  25. Evan says:

    Did you guys all take sane pills? Jesus, I can’t believe I’m agreeing with a conservative blog.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  26. Beldar says:

    Cornfields: You should to read Lewis Sorley’s “A Better War: The Unexamined Victories and Final Tragedy of America’s Last Years in Vietnam”; and Mark Moyar’s “Triumph Forsaken: The Vietnam War, 1954-1965.”

    Pay particular attention to the 1972 Easter Offensive, in which — after American ground forces were essentially gone, despite intelligence failures that led to inexcusable surprises, and despite some tense moments and further shakeouts in the ARVN — our South Vietnamese allies, supported by our naval and air power and emergency reprovisioning, mostly kicked the holy crap out of the NVA. From Sorley (pp. 339-40):

    The North Vietnamese Army suffered more than 100,000 casualties in its attacking force of 200,000 — perhaps 40,000 killed — and lost more than half of its tanks and heavy artillery. It took three years to recover sufficiently from these losses to mount another major offensive….

    Accordingly, the North Vietnamese — whose plan had always been to bleed and demoralize the US into leaving, and then to finally conquer the South through conventional military division-sized forces — basically hunkered down and waited for America to grow bored, distracted, and unwilling to continue the sort of support that had stopped the 1972 Easter offensive. And the post-Watergate Democrats did exactly that when they abruptly cut off further funding to support the South (via naval and air power and military and economic aid) in late 1974 and early 1975. The proximate result of that abandonment was the NVA’s March-April 1975 offensive that swept the South. ARVN units that had fought tenaciously in 1972 instead simply fled, melting away south, because they lost faith in themselves when it was so apparent they could not expect a single dollar or sortie or naval artillery strike from us. We suffered the humiliation at the Saigon embassy; the victorious North Vietnamese communists sent tens, maybe hundreds of thousands into reeducation camps and millions onto refugee rafts; the Khmer Rouge filled the power vacuum with the Killing Fields in which millions died in Cambodia; Laos was utterly subjugated. Countries that earlier had been potential dominoes — like Thailand, Malaysia, and the Philippines were stout enough by then to stand on their own. But the Soviets felt emboldened to adventure in Afghanistan, Africa, and elsewhere. We went through a national crisis of confidence and a malaise that nothing or no one short of Ronald Reagan could shake out — and that took some time too.

    Yeah, yeah, I know this is contrary to “conventional [i.e., defeatist and America-blaming] wisdom” about how we “lost” in Vietnam. But especially using documents made available by the Russians, Chinese, and Vietnamese since the end of the Cold War, revisionists like Sorley and Moyar make a decent and very detailed argument that we actually had won, i.e., that the South Vietnamese might have lasted out the Cold War and done roughly as well as our South Korean allies have done for going on five decades now in their military stalemate.

    Or is it your position that we “lost” in South Korea too? Would you agree that if we could create an Iraq as stable (even if still needy of our support) as, say, South Korea, that would be an incredible victory there?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  27. Beldar says:

    I misremembered: Giuliani called for 10 new combat brigades, not 30. (Still a bunch.)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. BeldarBlog says:

    Giuliani in Foreign Affairs: “Stay the Course ver. 2.0″…

    I was prepared in my guest role in OTB’s BlogTalkRadio broadcast tonight to also discuss Rudy Giuliani’s article in Foreign Affairs entitled Toward a Realistic Peace. My host there, probably not alone among conservatives and certainly with vast numbe…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  29. Beldar says:

    Also, Boing-Boing the blog has obviously ruined my ability to spell Boeing (even with an example in a nearby post title).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  30. tequila says:

    Beldar – Moyar and Sorley make a valiant effort, but at heart they are trying to turn a sow’s ear (South Vietnam and the ARVN) into a calfskin purse.

    Moyar’s thesis is that Diem was winning the war against the VCI infrastructure in the south and would have done so if only a pack of underhanded American careerists and communist dupes hadn’t betrayed him, and is pretty much beyond the scope of whether or not America could have “stayed the course” in VN and won.

    But as for the “abandonment” theory … I’m not buying.

    1) U.S. funding to South Vietnam was $3.3 billion from 1973-74 and $700m in 1975. This matched or bettered Soviet aid to North Vietnam. That South Vietnamese forces were short on fuel and ammo in 1975 was not due to lack of American aid, as the enormous stocks of captured American supplies at Da Nang (captured without a shot fired by two VC cadres in a jeep in ’75) show, but because of massive and endemic corruption throughout ARVN high command, which retailed weapons, fuel, and sundry other American aid on the black market rather than supplying their own troops.

    Melvin L. Pribbenow shows in Parameters that the NVA were the ones short on ammo during the 1975 offensive — much of the artillery fired by NVA forces in ’75 came from captured ARVN stocks, which were lavish in comparison.

    http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/99winter/pribbeno.htm

    As for ARVN’s valor in 1975, some units did hold up well. But that was because they had American leadership – ARVN never found a real cadre of non-corrupt, courageous, and politically neutral field officers to match its grunts. American advisors provided the critical leadership in all the major battles of the Easter Offensive, and without both American advisors and airpower, ARVN would have crumbled in 1972 just as thoroughly as it did in 1975.

    Lewis Sorley thoroughly overrates ARVN in this manner. He even views LAM SON 719 as an ARVN victory. I don’t know, but any “victory” where your firebases are overrun and you have panicked troopers throwing their own wounded off of medevacs to escape doesn’t strike me as exactly convincing.

    Even in 1972, the NVA did not get the “shit kicked out of it” but rather maintained hold over much of the Central Highlands that served as a massive beachhead of NVA control inside South Vietnam. During 1973-74, NVA built the road networks and supply routes that would lead to victory in 1975 and also reinvigorated the old VCI networks in the south with fresh recruits and weapons. Despite the fact that much of ARVN’s strength was spread in the countryside, they could not prevent NVA/VC forces from reclaiming much of the Mekong Delta and areas around Saigon that had previously been pacified after Tet in 1968. Because of the renewed guerrilla threat in the countryside, Thieu spread his forces even thinner in static defensive counterinsurgency positions that would prove deadly in 1975 when the NVA attacked for real.

    Would more American money have saved South Vietnam? Absolutely not. It would have required the presence of American advisors to yet again lead ARVN and lavish American airpower (note that the NVA NEVER had air support in any battle, as opposed to ARVN) to pull South Vietnam out of the fire again, and this still would not have done anything to re-pacify the countryside that was becoming just as hostile as it had been in 1967.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  31. Let’s re-engage with John Edwards foreign policy vision…

    Yesterday I took some potshots at Rudy Giuliani’s Foreign Affairs essay — and I wasn’t the only one. In the wake of Giuliani’s steaming pile o’ crap, however, John Edwards’ essay “Reengaging With the World,” has been badly neglected. The……

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  32. […] to Democrats. After Rudy Giuliani published his views on foreign policy in Foreign Affairs, James Joyner pronounced Giuliani’s views “dangerously stupid”. I take it that Giuliani is no […]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  33. […] “Giuliani is either a charlatan or a simpleton“ […]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  34. Jeff Dexter says:

    Agreed with many of your points here. Prior to reading his essay I took some time to dig up info on Rudy’s advisors, so that I could get a good idea what to expect in his grand strategy. I found that his advisors lacked a fundamental understanding on a number of issues, not exactly seasoned experts you want advising a Presidential candidate. If you’re interested read about here in my post

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  35. […] Joyner’s take on Rudy Guiliani’s foreign policy essay has to be read. (The essay itself is perhaps some of […]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  36. […] views are probably much crazier. Just think how well he’d make decisions during an actual crisis! Rudy Giuliani’s Dangerously Stupid Foreign Policy Vision » Outside The Beltway | OTB __________________ http://winstoncreative.com Arcade Challenge winston53660 in […]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  37. […] James Joyner, a former Giuliani supporter, is worried about Rudy’s sanity. Joyner calls it “dangerously stupid:” I must concur in Matt Yglesias‘ judgment: “this man is batshit […]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  38. Art A Layman says:

    I have to agree with Evan. As a fairly die hard liberal of the “independent” persuasion, I find many of the comments here to be profound (those criticizing Rudy, of course). I am awed by the apparent depth of knowledge of the Vietnam War by many of the commenters. I find it especially disconcerting since I am of that generation and have little command of the facts or subtleties presented here.

    As to Rudy and his “new” foreign policy, I have to agree with Dr. Joyner. There is much pandering in it. He seems to have accepted Dubya’s outline and embellished enough to hopefully hold on to the conservative base while attempting to appeal to the more moderate crowd, less inclined toward military actions.

    He seems to be arguing that we will always be involved in military actions as either policemen or nation builders for most if not all of the twenty-first century. There is little doubt that we need to maintain our military superiority in the world but am doubtful we need to go to the extremes that he appears to be recommending. No other country in the world, save Russia and China, is anywhere near becoming a conventional military threat nor even a serious nuclear one.

    Admittedly, in the sphere of nuclear weapons, one warhead can inflict devastating damage, but in a nation v nation encounter we will still be victorious due to our superior arsenal and delivery systems.

    I was struck by his minimal reference to police and crime fighting forces in the “Terrorists’ War on Us”. John Kerry pointed out during the 2004 campaign that most of our success against terrorists will come from the crime fighting sector around the world and I believe, given events over the past few years, he has been proven correct.

    As far as pushing America’s ideological agenda and vision around the world; I think we have tried that for many years with some successes while at the same time with the creation of significant animosity. At some point we have to understand that a desire for freedom in and of itself is not a guarantee of establishing a functioning democratic government. We have always failed to recognize that generally a country moving toward a democratic structure will suffer years of greed, fraud and a rise in crime initiated by those who grab the power base(try Russia). This creates significant suffering for the general populace and can lead to anarchy or dictatorship (try Russia again).

    Our experiment with establishing a democratic system of government is not applicable in today’s world. We were primarily an agrarian nation made up of social and religious outcasts who sought a new beginning in a land far away and free from the oppression they had experienced in their homelands. These people were adept at providing for their own safety and security and managed to make their way through the travails of Indians and weather and whatever. Much of the world’s underdeveloped population today are familiar with providing for their immediate needs but the larger problems of security, safety and everyday survival mechanisms are provided by some kind of government, authoritarian or otherwise. Our ancestors relished the freedom and flexibility to provide for themselves. Without this desire or motivation to be free and self-sufficient the idea of a democratic government is neither understood nor sought.

    We are not the sole source of extolling democracy. We have many allies who believe as we do; that while imperfect it is still the best form of government going. This vision, encompassing as it does a firm belief in capitalism and free markets, is anathema to many peoples whose primary focus on life is from their religious experience. Ergo our current dilemma.

    It would seem that while we should spread the gospel of individual freedom and democracy, we best tread lightly that we don’t appear to be shoving it down the throats of those that might want part but not all of our experience. This idea is basic, yet Rudy’s treatise seems to be quite the opposite.

    I marvel at an individual who spent a mere 4 months in the aftermath of 9/11 doing little more than pontificating and motivating, venturing out to become an international expert on terrorism, traveling to 35 countries giving more speeches and through consultations providing an expertise on dealing with terrorism, his knowledge of which appears to have no basis in fact. He now expects the American public to accept his lame view of foreign policy as gospel. The general tone of his policy seems to be more of the “I am the decider” philosophy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  39. Sabine Wales says:

    Giuliani, Israel’s favorite candidate, refused $10 million fron a Saudi prince for 9/11 victims because the prince wanted to explain that our foreign policy, esp. support of Israel’s occupation, inspires terrorists. Giuliani echoed this at the 5/15 debate when he disputed Ron Paul’s similar assertion. Guiliani is blind to the positive impact our Iraq invasion had on Al Qaeda recruiting. Paul suggested that he read The 9/11 Commission Report, but Guiliani apparently prefers Norman Podhoretz’s book “World War IV.” Patrick Buchanan lists countries targeted for destruction by neocons including Podhoretz in his book “Where The Right Went Wrong,” (p.51-52) and notes that they’re identical to those on the hit list of the “Clean Break” paper written by Feith and Perle for Netanyahu in 1996. No wonder this is going to be a long war. As reported in the latest New Yorker, Podhoretz, a big advocate of attacking Iran, is Giuliani’s senior foreign policy advisor.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  40. […] little tidbit comes from his much-maligned Foreign Policy piece. Sphere: Related Content Filed under: US Politics, 2008 Campaign | […]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  41. Barry says:

    James: “He’s got serious executive experience,…”

    True. The thing is, in anything related to terrorism, his ‘experience’ consists of screwing things up quite badly.

    “His chief advantage, the sense that he’s a grown-up who will take a pragmatic but aggressive role in fighting the Islamist terrorists, is undermined by his unserious pandering. ”

    I see him as a ‘grown-up’ who’s learned the lessons that he can get away with pretty much everything, so long as he makes hard-core speeches. We’re currently enjoying such a president, we really don’t need another.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. Gregory Koster says:

    Dear Mr. Joyner: Freddy Kaplan can make his cracks: “Had it been written for a freshman course on international relations, it would deserve at best a C-minus (with a concerned note to come see the professor as soon as possible).”

    But if we wanted a professor to write us an “A+” paper, we’d send for that great realist Zbignew Brzezinski. He’d be better employed writing such papers, rather than being the Bumpkin’s National Security Adviser.

    To be sure, Giuliani’s notions about the loss of Vietnam are alarming. As alarming as Barack Obama’s notions about engaging with Pakistan?
    Evidently not:

    “This is a bold pronouncement, especially for a man whose candidacy is based, at least in part, on his having been opposed to the Iraq War from its outset.

    On the merits, I’m sympathetic to his argument. After all, President Bush promised to go after terrorists wherever they might go and stated categorically that governments that harbor terrorists within their borders would be considered “against us.” While Musharraf is in an incredibly shaky position and exercises little if any control over North Waziristan, where the al Qaeda leadership is thought to be, they are in his territory. It’s far from clear what good our “alliance” with his regime has done to enhance our security.

    That said, the consequences of a U.S. invasion of Pakistan are hard to predict. Musharraf’s government would surely fall and the successor would likely be Muslim extremists. He pledged a few weeks back to make a serious effort to assert control of the region and combat “Talibanization” there. It would certainly be preferable to have him do it than for us to try.”

    Or so you wrote on 1 August, your blood pressure not raised by this proposed course by an iota. You and Freddy stick with Zbig and Henry and Brent, writing those A+ papers and dissertations to be filed in the ivory tower. The rest of us will continue to listen to Giuliani, judging if his undoubted strengths are outweighed by his alarming notions.

    Sincerely yours,
    Gregory Koster

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  43. […] of course, neoconservative. However, not just liberals criticized Giuliani: conservatives like James Joyner were not exactly impressed either. Joyner wrote: It is not particularly realistic — let alone […]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  44. […] of course, neoconservative. However, not just liberals criticized Giuliani: conservatives like James Joyner were not exactly impressed either. Joyner wrote: It is not particularly realistic — let alone […]

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  45. steve says:

    My favorite republican candidate is McCain. He said the first thing he’d do as President is put a halt to our torture of suspects. Also, he’s not a Christianist like some of his cohort.

    But it won’t matter who gets the republican nomination. Their 6 years of control was an unmitigated disaster and Americans understand that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  46. cognitorex says:

    Rudy, Another Ego Driven Employer Like Bush
    I think we’ve all had enough of a President that insists on being surrounded by toadies and unbili-cytes. It always leads to second class insular policy.
    I therefor recommend to you the following paragraph:
    “Rudy surrounded himself with a very small group of people. The ‘Shrewdies,’ some called them—because they all said yes to Rudy. I’ve always thought that he had a surprisingly small inner circle—and they were not always the best and the brightest.” The same complaint followed Giuliani into politics, where he sometimes seemed to be deliberating inside an echo chamber. Loyalty is the virtue that he most prizes, and its absence in an aide is the surest route to exile.

    From “Mayberry Man” The New Yorker, Peter Boyer,
    8.20.07

    Giuliani, toadies, lickspittles, cognitorex blogspot

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  47. Taking Glenn Greenwald seriously…

    Glenn Greenwald has a post up in response to yesterday’s flurry of blog exchanges between the “netroots” and “foreign policy community.” In his post, he critiques my critique of his critique of the “foreign policy community” as follows: [T]he no…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0