Monday, August 20, 2007
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Taking Glenn Greenwald seriously
In his post, he critiques my critique of his critique of the "foreign policy community" as follows:
[T]he notion that the U.S. should not attack another country unless that country has attacked or directly threatens our national security is not really extraordinary. Quite the contrary, that is how virtually every country in the world conducts itself, and it is a founding principle of our country. Starting wars against countries that have not attacked you, and especially against those who cannot attack you, is abnormal. Drezner refers to my "very strange definition of imperialism," but the belief that military force can be used whenever we decide that our vaguely defined "national interests" would be served by such a war is the hallmark of an imperial power.Contra his implication, I think Greenwald's points should be taken seriously, so let me respond in kind:
1) As I explained in my updated post, I was wrong to label Greenwald a "pacifist", and I apologize to Greenwald for the incorrect labeling. "Non-interventionism" or perhaps "Jeffersonian" would have been better terms. That was a poor word choice by me on an important point, and unfortunately it seems to have distracted many from the primary points of disagreement. Sorry.There's a lot more, but that can be dealt with in future posts. If Greenwald wants a serious dialogue, I'm happy to engage him.
UPDATE: Greenwald responds to my post here. He's clearly far quicker in being able to compose large blocks of prose than I, so I might be a bit slower in responding. It's a useful, nay, "serious" response, however, and well worth reading.
ANOTHER UPDATE: My reply is here.posted by Dan on 08.20.07 at 09:32 AM
To start at the bottom: If the people attending yearlyKos have views different from the people in the foreign policy community, it would create diversity in foreign policy debates to include them regardless of whether their views are internally diverse.
As for political and policy conditions: This is kind of a facile point since political and policy conditions always change over time. It is no surprise that 2007 is different than 2003. Much of the change, however, is due to the spectacular failure of the vast majority of the people involved in designing our foreign policies to do anything to stop this disastrous war.
Regarding your point about whether that community enabled the war: You've set the standard in the wrong place. Your point is essentially that the war was going to happen regardless of what the foreign policy experts did. But the fact is that the vast majority of our foreign policy experts supported the war, cheerleading the invasion. The question is why they were in favor of it even if they were incapable of making a difference. If it didn't matter what they did, then we could expect them to do nothing about it. In any case, we have no idea how a concerted effort by our supposed experts would have changed the debate in the months before the war. It is quite reasonable to think that if many foreign policy experts repeatedly stated that the war would be a mistake, was unjustified, or was immoral, that in fact public opinion might not have supported the war.
As for O'Hanlon and Pollack, why do they have any credibility left? Why should they?posted by: Reece on 08.20.07 at 09:32 AM [permalink]
The overarching point of Greenwald, in his critique of your critique of his critique(!) is that the FPC is ideologically blinkered, hopelessly partisan and irredeemably riddled with conflicts of interest. This results in it (i.e. the FPC) pushing for, in some way, shape or form, of either appeasement of the worst regimes or the outright support for ruinous wars (or in other words, the feeding of the military-industrial complex), both in the strategic and economic sense, which further deteriorate US’interrnational relations.
Your question to Greenwald, whereby you ask him to clarify whether he thought an analyst/think-tanker who supported the war in Iraq in 2003, did it out of malfeasance or ineptitude is a prime example of how you, and every defender of the FPC, misses the point which is that it is irrelevant as to why they got it so wrong. The fact that they got it SO wrong (the biggest foreign policy mistake of our times) is the ONLY point and shows up the FPC as being in extremely poor shape with its’ credibility lost for a generation.
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