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.
- “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.
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).”