Let George Do It!
Dave Schuler wins Line of the Day honors for this comment on Alex Knapp’s post about the differences between the Clinton and Obama foreign policies:
There’s a razor’s edge between greater reliance on international institutions and “let George do it”.
I’m personally and professionally committed to the use of international institutions, particularly NATO and various international trade regimes, as a vehicle for addressing world problems. As my boss, Fred Kempe, likes to say, “NATO won’t save the world but the world won’t be saved without NATO.”
But most politicians advocating for greater reliance on international institutions are really, as Dave suggests, trying to pass the problems off to someone else. That’s simply not feasible.
There are all manner of reasons why having NATO, the United Nations, the World Trade Organization or some other IO branding on a solution is beneficial. The United States can’t do everything by itself and there are even times when putting an American face on a problem makes it worse. Most of the time, though, American leadership — and certainly American engagement — is the sine qua non of the successful use of international institutions.