Hawk Foreign Policy Quiz
Kevin Drum has a foreign policy quiz for hawks. There are eight questions:
1. Considering how Iraq has gone so far, do you still think that American military power is a good way to promote tolerance and democracy in the Middle East? Has your position on this changed in any way over the past two years?
I’ve never been a neo-con and have always been dubious of the use of force for such things. Clearly, the presence of American troops anywhere will create resentment. On the other hand, Hamid Karzai was just sworn in as Aghanistan’s first elected president and elections appear to be on track for Iraq in late January. These two would constitute 100% of all democracies in the Muslim Middle East. So, yes, my position is changing as a result of the last two years.
2. Shortly after 9/11, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson said publicly that they thought the attacks were well-deserved retribution from God in response to moral decay Ã¢€” as personified by gays, feminists, the ACLU, and NOW. Do you worry that Falwell and Robertson are identified by many as the face of the Republican party? Do you think President Bush has sufficiently distanced himself from them and their followers?
Falwell and Robertson are kooks. They are no more the face of the GOP than Maxine Waters, Cynthia McKinney, Dennis Kucinich, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Ted Kennedy, and a dozen others I could name are the face of the Democrats. Indeed, much less so. How much did Bill Clinton, Al Gore, John Kerry, Tom Daschle, and other Democrats do to distance themselves from their nuts?
3. Is democracy promotion really one of your core concerns? Just how far are you willing to go to demonstrate your credibility on this subject? Note: President Bush’s policy toward either Pakistan or Saudi Arabia would be excellent case studies to bring this question to life.
Democracy per se elsewhere is an incredibly tangential issue to me. It is, however, well established that democratic states, especially those that engage in extensive trade and other interaction with the West, are very peaceful and stable. So, democratization is a means to an end rather than an end in and of itself. Democracy–in the Western sense of limited government, not simply mob rule– in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia would be great. There are real trade-offs, however, in pushing too hard for it. One has to prioritize one’s foreign policy.
4. On a related note, which do you think is more important to the Bush administration in the short term: preservation of a stable oil supply from the Middle East or spreading freedom and liberty throughout the region? Would you be interested in seeing the records of Dick Cheney’s 2001 energy task force to verify this? Please be extra honest with this question.
The two goals aren’t mutually exclusive. Indeed, freedom and liberty would tend to stabilize the oil supply. I have no interest in reading the transcripts of meetings held by the Vice President. All that matters is the policy that flows from the staffing process, not the details.
5. A substantial part of the Christian right opposes any compromise with Palestinians because they believe that Jewish domination of the region west of the Jordan River is a precondition for the Second Coming. Is this a reasonable belief? Or do you think these people qualify as loons who should be purged from the Republican party?
How substantial a part of the GOP coalition are we talking about here? Is it more substantial than the segment of Democrats who believe the best way to end racial discrimination is to categorize people by race and allocate government contracts and educational slots according to numerical targets? Regardless, no, I don’t believe we need to purge any qualified citizen from the roles of voters.
6. Yes or no: do you think we should invade Iran if it becomes clear Ã¢€” despite our best efforts Ã¢€” that they are continuing to build nuclear weapons? If this requires a military draft, would you be in favor?
I know of no military expert that thinks invasion would be the best military solution. If a military draft is “required,” I would by definition be in favor. I can not conceive of a situation, however, given the speed of modern combat maneuver operations and the use of massive offset technologies, that would make a draft a feasible plan for a rapid invasion operation.
7. If President Bush decides to substantially draw down our troop presence in Iraq after the January 30 elections, will you support that decision? Please answer this question prior to January 30.
It would depend on the situation on the ground and the wishes of the elected government. My instinct is that a substantial drawdown will not be possible within the first three months or so but that we’ll begin a drawdown soon after that. All indications, however, point to the Administration planning to be in Iraq in some capacity for years.
8. Would you agree that people who accept Laurie Mylroie’s crackpot theories about Saddam Hussein’s involvement in 9/11 might be taking the threat of terrorism a little too seriously? What do you think should be done with them?
There’s no credible evidence of which I’m aware directly tying Saddam with 9/11, although there is some with respect to the first WTC attack. I’m not sure how one takes the threat of terrorism “too seriously,” though. And what’s with this sudden inclination toward purges and doing things with people?
Matthew Yglesias has some questions of his own.
[W]hat’s the deal with the too-small army? You guys are the hawks.
It’s mainly a logistical issue, as far as I’m concerned. Unless we’re going to need massive occupation forces for much longer, it’s just not feasible to build up the Army substantially. We need to increase the size somewhat but, mostly, reallocate the resources between the active and reserve components. We’re actually doing that, if too slowly for my tastes.
As to the religious question, I have my differences with the “fundamentalists,” too. I’ve found few of them who are actually in a hurry to die, though, Heaven or no.
Update (1708): Oliver Willis disagrees with my analogy between Falwell and Robertson versus the kooks of the Democratic Party:
Nobody in the DNC listens to Jackson or Sharpton. They were both failures as candidates, Sharpton abysmally so. Waters, McKinney, and Kucinich only have fan bases among the far left of the party. So far left that they are barely Democrats. On the other hand, Pat Robertson counseled the President in person right before we went to war. It doesn’t get to any higher level of influence than that. Falwell also has the ear of the evangelistic wing of the GOP, including his pal Robertson who he tag-teamed with as he claimed that we deserved 9/11.
Sharpton was given a prime time slot at the Democratic Convention; Robertson and Falwell weren’t. Robertson ran for president in 1988 and barely registered on the radar screen. Jackson ran in 1984 and 1988 and made a very respectable showing–winning several states, getting Ron Brown installed as DNC chair, and radically rewriting the rules for allocating delegates. Falwell hasn’t had a significant political following in years and is more known now as chancellor of Liberty University than anything else. Robertson is still popular as a television host but is hardly a major political figure these days. Certainly, an imaginery conversation with the president in Nashville hardly qualifies as being a major mover and shaker.
And what percentage of Republicans believes that we deserved 9/11 because of our decadence? I’d wager it’s even lower than the percentage of Democrats who believe we deserved 9/11 because of our foreign policy adverturism, support for Israel, and failure to kowtow to the UN.
Both parties have fringe elements that have strong appeal to certain segments of the population. That’s the nature of a two party system. While it’s admittedly an amusing debate tactic, it’s rather silly to present these people as if they represented either party’s core.