Righting the Balance Between Diplomacy and Military Force

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obama hillary state department.jpg
I will be chatting with Rachel Maddow today on her Air America Radio show on the subject of Barack Obama’s foreign policy team. (airs at 6 pm EST)
Obama’s visit to Foggy Bottom yesterday was so surprising, so different than President Bush, that it really caught me by surprise. His visit automatically raises the morale among foreign service officers and the many others holding up the foreign policy operations of the country — and makes the loud statement that diplomacy — and diplomats — matter.
Jacob Heilbrunn has a very nice piece today online over at The National Interest titled “Raising Foggy Bottom“. In this segment, which should be read in full, he suggests that Obama is “righting the balance between diplomacy and military force”:

Barack Obama’s visit to the formerly beleaguered State Department on Thursday to welcome the appointments of Hillary Clinton, Richard Holbrooke and George Mitchell set exactly the right tone, as did his revocation of the Bush administration’s ham-handed approach to the war on terror.
No, diplomacy won’t solve all of America’s foreign-policy problems and even playing kissy-face with the mullahs in Tehran wouldn’t get Washington very far. But what Obama is doing is something else–righting the balance between diplomacy and military force, much as Defense Secretary Robert Gates has insisted upon, and something that Admiral Mike Mullen also eloquently called for at a recent Nixon Center dinner honoring him.
Key leaders in the military are resisting the militarization of foreign policy, and Obama, who called in his inaugural address for America to lead by example, is moving in the right direction.

Very, very smart move by Obama.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

55 comments on “Righting the Balance Between Diplomacy and Military Force

  1. Kathleen G says:

    Don Dan
    one of the last times I witnessed Anne Marie Slaughter lead a discussion on the book Walt and Mearsheimer wrote “The Israel Lobby”
    Worth the time to watch and listen
    Did not get much press coverage
    http://www.scribemedia.org/2006/10/11/israel-lobby/

    Reply

  2. Paul Norheim says:

    Well said, Tony!

    Reply

  3. TonyForesta says:

    America made several important strides in restoring some faith in socalled democracy by electing Obama to hightest office in the land. But the sad and irrefutable reality is that the word democracy has been ruthlessly mangled for eight years under the dragons wing of the bushgov, and many nations and people are not so confident looking at America’s and the wests economic demise, rank lawlessness, overt favoritism of the predator class, and pathological obsession with war and warmaking, – so perhaps it is wiser to forget about democratizing the rest of the world until we (America and the major western nations) better define by deeds, not by words, what exactly democracy means and what is exactly this thing called democracy. We can lead by example, not by the tip of our hypersuperior spear. Enforcing democracy at the tip of the spear is tyranny, NOT democracy. I would encourage the Obama administration to work toward establishing moderate societies and nations, and forget about preaching democracy for a few years, until we can once again stand on solid ground as purveyors, practioners, and a nation and a people that actually honors and abides by the principles of democracy. There is too much blood in the water, and far too many unknown unknowns and unanswered questions for America or any nation to start bruting democracy again to any soveriegn nation. One good place to start, and it would send and searing message to everyone on earth, if if the Obama administration, and America mustered the courage and the integrity to honor the legitimate voice of the Palestinian and recognize Hamas as the viably democratically elected government of Palestine. This step would give immediate legitimacy to the principles of democracy (with all its’ inherent warts) and allow Hamas and the people of Palestine the oxygen to work toward real solutions. There will be painful comprimises on all sides, – but if Hamas moderates can curb the jihadi freaks, and if Israel can curb the zionist freaks, and if America can curb the evangelical freaks, – and really change the status quo, – there might be some hope for a resolution. If not, then we will see more of the same horrors and oceans of innocent blood spilled in the insane perpetuation of the status quo.

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  4. Don Bacon says:

    Hillary Clinton: We must use what has been called smart power, the full range of tools at our disposal—diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural—picking the right tool, or combination of tools, for each situation.
    Suzanne Nossel. “Smart Power” was the title of an article Nossel had written in a 2004 issue of Foreign Affairs. Policymakers should turn to the great mainstay of twentieth-century U.S. foreign policy: liberal internationalism, which posits that a global system of stable liberal democracies would be less prone to war. [sic]
    Ann-Marie Slaughter, The Princeton Project: It argues that Americans would be safer, richer and healthier in a world of mature liberal democracies. Getting there requires: 1. Bringing governments up to PAR (Popular, Accountable, Rights-Regarding); 2. Building a liberal order through reform of existing international institutions and the creation of new ones, such as the Concert of Democracies; and 3. Rethinking the role of force in light of the threats of the 21st century.
    Hold on tight!!

    Reply

  5. Dan Kervick says:

    Thanks for the heads up on that Don. Slaughter is in my view a good person, but with several policy ideas that concern me greatly.
    I’m glad the State Department is destined to be more powerful in this administration than it was in the last one. But I hope Obama manages to maintain a disciplined foreign policy, and takes a very hands-on approach with the State Department. When people like me expressed our concern with the administration’s foreign policy appointments, Obama tried to reassure us that “change comes from him.” So let’s see if that’s true.

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  6. Dan Kervick says:

    Has everyone seen tonight’s 60 Minutes segment on the West Bank by Bob Simon? It’s really quite excellent.
    In this case at least, the mainstream media has delivered a cold Spartan plate of truth.
    http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4752349n

    Reply

  7. Don Bacon says:

    Dan,
    It looks an old friend of ours, Anne-Marie Slaughter, is slated to become the head of policy planning at the State Department under Hillary Clinton.

    Reply

  8. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Of course, I have already done so, Dan.
    But, as you have seen from a few of my prior posts, Obama is well aware that there are many of us that demand the cessation of Israel’s crimes against humanity.
    Obama’s “questions” website was overrun with anti-Israeli sentiments from countless thousands of Americans from all over the nation. As a consequence, a couple of softball questions were touted as “most popular”, and the tens of thousands of “questions” were not archived.
    Obama isn’t listening, Dan. Not to us, anyway.

    Reply

  9. Dan Kervick says:

    Thanks Don.

    Reply

  10. Dan Kervick says:

    I respectfully ask that people read this blog post I penned last night, and act on it:
    http://tpmcafe.talkingpointsmemo.com/talk/blogs/dan_k/2009/01/january-2009-america-celebrate.php

    Reply

  11. DonS says:

    “BBC bows shamefully to Israeli pressure”
    http://justworldnews.org/archives/003348.html
    Someone else notes Israeli exceptionalism
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/2009/01/fear-of-standing-up-to-israel.html

    Reply

  12. pauline says:

    With O-man’s mentor from Columbia, Zbignew Brezinski, I have to wonder how far the old war hawk will nudge Barry into more foreign “intrigues” in ’09.
    And what about the Foundations (i.e. Ford Foundation) that Barry and Michelle have been beholden to? Don’t these Wall St foundations ensure that working people continue to fight one another in the old Roman tradition of divide-and-conquer, rather than focusing on the financial oligarchs who play them like the proverbial fiddle?
    And how about old golem Soros? When will he intend to call in his marker with #44?
    And will all the other clinton re-treads in the new admin, is this the real change millions were looking for?

    Reply

  13. pauline says:

    “Is Afghanistan going to be Obama’s Iraq?”
    The US could find itself isolated as the conflict goes on
    By Kim Sengupta and Raymond Whitaker
    Sunday, 25 January 2009
    Reuters
    President Barack Obama is facing warnings that the US risks repeating some of its errors in Iraq as the new administration turns its focus to Afghanistan, where Nato forces are engaged in a conflict which has already lasted longer than the Second World War.
    Having received a briefing on his first day in office from General David Petraeus, the top US commander in the region, Mr Obama is preparing to meet his military chiefs to decide on the size and shape of the Afghanistan reinforcements he promised during his election campaign. The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, said just before Christmas that up to 30,000 more troops could be sent by summer, nearly doubling the size of the US force in the country. Britain, the next largest contributor in the 41-nation international force, has fewer than 9,000 troops in Afghanistan, which means American dominance of the campaign against the Taliban is set to increase.
    “There are fears that this could become a US war rather than a Nato one,” said Christopher Langton, senior fellow for conflict at the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) in London. “With other Nato members already planning to scale back, the US could find itself isolated. Rather than being an international operation, it would become another ‘coalition of the willing’, as in Iraq – though with the crucial difference that the Afghan mission has had a United Nations mandate throughout.”
    more at —
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/is-afghanistan-going-to-be-obamas-iraq-1515332.html

    Reply

  14. TonyForesta says:

    A thousand thanks Paul. We probably have more in common then either of us know. Your opinions and positions are much more balanced than mine, which is probably why you take such umbrage to some of my comments and positions which are more radical at times. Believe it or not, I learn allot from your commentary. I’m a street guy, and balance in not a skillset I have learned. But it is never too late.
    Regarding Obama specifically, there are issues that concern me, (his economic team, apparent status quo approach to the Israel/Palestine), but overall, in the earliest days, I am comforted and very impressed with Obama’s efforts and leadership thus far, and am holding hope that things truly will change for America, Americans, and the rest of the world.

    Reply

  15. pauline says:

    Countdown: NSA Whistleblower- Bush Administration Spying on Journalists- Recording “Everything”
    source:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osFprWnCjPA

    Reply

  16. PissedOffAmerican says:

    It is an inescapable fact that Obama seems to be as big a piece of shit as his predecessor is.
    Change, my ass. Now that it has been revealed that the NSA spied on ALL of us, this Obama fraud will reveal his true colors. He will do abolutely NOTHING about it. And to those of you that are still starstruck by the posturing fraud, his inaction should tell you all you need to know.
    http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2009/01/obama-sides-wit.html
    Obama Sides With Bush in Spy Case
    By David Kravets January 22, 2009 | 4:32:47
    The Obama administration fell in line with the Bush administration Thursday when it urged a federal judge to set aside a ruling in a closely watched spy case weighing whether a U.S. president may bypass Congress and establish a program of eavesdropping on Americans without warrants.
    In a filing in San Francisco federal court, President Barack Obama adopted the same position as his predecessor. With just hours left in office, President George W. Bush late Monday asked U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to stay enforcement of an important Jan. 5 ruling admitting key evidence into the case.
    Thursday’s filing by the Obama administration marked the first time it officially lodged a court document in the lawsuit asking the courts to rule on the constitutionality of the Bush administration’s warrantless-eavesdropping program. The former president approved the wiretaps in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
    “The Government’s position remains that this case should be stayed,” the Obama administration wrote (.pdf) in a filing that for the first time made clear the new president was on board with the Bush administration’s reasoning in this case.
    The government wants to appeal Walker’s decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, a legal maneuver requiring Judge Walker’s approval. A hearing in Walker’s courtroom is set for Friday.
    The legal brouhaha concerns Walker’s decision to admit as evidence a classified document allegedly showing that two American lawyers for a now-defunct Saudi charity were electronically eavesdropped on without warrants by the Bush administration in 2004.
    The lawyers — Wendell Belew and Asim Ghafoo — sued the Bush administration after the U.S. Treasury Department accidentally released the Top Secret memo to them. At one point, the courts had ordered the document, which has never been made public, returned and removed from the case.
    The document’s admission to the case is central for the two former lawyers of the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation charity to acquire legal standing so they may challenge the constitutionality of the warrantless-eavesdropping program Bush publicly acknowledged in 2005.
    The Friday hearing is needed, because disputes with pretrial decisions generally require the trial judge to permit an appeal.
    The Obama administration is also siding with the former administration in its legal defense of July legislation that immunizes the nation’s telecommunications companies from lawsuits accusing them of complicitity in Bush’s eavesdropping program, according to testimony last week by incoming Attorney General Eric Holder.
    That immunity legislation, which Obama voted for when he was a U.S. senator from Illinois, was included in a broader spy package that granted the government wide-ranging, warrantless eavesdropping powers on Americans’ electronic communications.
    A decision on the constitutionality of the immunity legislation is pending before Judge Walker in a separate case brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

    Reply

  17. Paul Norheim says:

    Just for fun on a Saturday evening: here is a classical example of
    how things could get personal – from an age of slow commenting
    (i.e. before internet):
    “After reading Rousseau’s “Discourse on the Origins of Inequality”
    in 1755, Voltaire wrote to him, “I have received, Monsieur, your
    new book against the human race…. It makes one desire to go
    down on all fours.”
    Five years later, Rousseau wrote to Voltaire. “Monsieur,…I hate
    you.””

    Reply

  18. ... says:

    tony, thanks for sharing your thoughts.. i never said “”should be mercilessly hunted down and killed”” regarding anyone.. therefore it has never been something we’ve agreed on as you state in your 2:19 post.. my thoughts are quite the opposite actually…
    resolving conflict thru murder, or adopting ‘an eye for an eye’ as an ideology leads to blindness and much suffering with no benefits as i see it… i ask you again “how does one get rid of hate with hate??” as i see it that’s sums up your philosophy here which is backed up in your general ongoing comments… to paraphrase you- the terrorists must be hunted down and murdered…. i am not talking the details… attach the word ‘suspected’ to the other one ‘terrorist’ and the person who controls the labeling is in a position to offer death sentences… some folks appear to be okay with that.. it is the ideology of the past bush admin and yours from reading your posts, and i disagree with it vehemently…

    Reply

  19. Paul Norheim says:

    Tony Foresta said:
    “Show me where I have projected anything on Paul, who we
    both agree is a thoughtful poster here. Again you pick and
    choose to read what you want. If you read my posts and Pauls,
    you will see that it is Paul alone that flings silly insults, makes
    wildly innacurate mistatements on my comments, and takes
    works and messages completely out of context to his
    preconcieved distaste for me personally.”
    I just want to clarify to things here:
    1) If someone here have been aggressive, probably even rude at
    times in our exchange, it`s me. TonyF has never shown any
    hostility towards me, even at times when I would have
    understood such an attitude. Quite the opposite.
    2) Believe me or not, Tony, but my outrage (and perhaps
    “distaste”) is not directed at you, but some of your opinions. I
    have not seen ANY personal hostility or resentment on your part
    towards anyone here at TWN, and I admire your good mood and
    attitude toward your fellow posters, even in polemical
    situations.
    But let`s stop this fight right here. Tony knows my opinions and
    I know his. To continue our arguments back and forth is a
    distraction from more important things. Peace.

    Reply

  20. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I think there are clear signs Israel(‘s) blanket of unconditional support, and getoutofjailfreecard from America is unraveling”
    For the life of me, I fail to see where you find those “clear signs”. So far, all I see from Hillary and Obama is a commitment to the status quo.

    Reply

  21. DonS says:

    Abe Foxman, Anti-Defamation League, states publically that George Mitchell is too “fair . . even-handed”, that America has been in Israel’s corner in critical times, not even handed.
    We remember the last time “even-handed” was even broached: Howard Dean, 2004; democratic debates. Rendered him politically dead. That’s the way Fox wants any talk of “even-handed” now.
    Foxman is crazy like a fox. Not starry-eyed ingénue saying “oh my, isn’t this terrible”.
    Rather he is signaling out in public. But whom exactly is he signaling?
    The message: we aint gonna tolerate any going off message here? Obama must stay on the reservation. Hear that, Congress. Hear that, MSM.
    It’s not that the AIPAC types have just gotten spoiled by 8 years of owning GW Bush. They think they own us all.
    Is this a yellow, orange, amber, or red alert? Don’t know. But do know that Foxman is throwing down the gauntlet. Get in line. And, Obama, get him in line, keep him in line if he has the least inclination to even hiccup.

    Reply

  22. pauline says:

    Clinton Confirmed
    By: Ian Welsh Wednesday January 21, 2009 2:12 pm
    I would have preferred her for a domestic slot like health, but it’s still amusing to see Clinton confirmed with only 2 votes against (Vitter and DeMint), if only to keep janitors employed cleaning up after wingnut head explosions for the duration of her stay at Foggy Bottom. (Hey it’s nasty work, but it’s work).
    Clinton’s got a lot of name recognition and is generally (but not universally) liked overseas. Her husband is, likewise, still very popular. Added to the goodwill Obama starts with, I hope she’ll be able to do some good in repairing America’s damaged reputation, and the source of that damaged reputation, America’s foreign policy.
    source:
    http://firedoglake.com/2009/01/21/clinton-confirmed/

    Reply

  23. pauline says:

    “State Department staffers compare Rice to Wicked Witch of the West”
    By Ryan Powers on Jan 22nd, 2009 at 8:47 pm
    Reporting on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s introductory speech at the State Department this morning, Harper’s Scott Horton notes that last week several career State Department staffers compared former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to the Wicked Witch of the West from the Wizard of Oz:
    “I met last week with a number of career State Department employees and was surprised when one said she was looking forward to the “Glinda Party” next week. I asked her: if Hillary was Glinda, the Good Witch of the South from the Wizard of Oz, did that make Condoleezza Rice the Wicked Witch of the West?”
    “You’re on to it,” she said. Another person pointed out to me that after Rice’s arrival in 2005 the tone of official State Department publications changed; they began to praise and glorify Rice. “No prior secretary,” said the twenty-year veteran, “did anything like this.”
    Clinton was given what the LA Times dubbed a “celebrity welcome” this morning at the State Department.
    source:
    http://thinkprogress.org/2009/01/22/rice-wicked-witch/

    Reply

  24. Kathleen G says:

    Hope your time with Rachel went well.
    Hey Steve next time you are on RAchel’s wonder if you could let her know many of us see how she sold out to MSM on the Israeli Palestinian conflict. When will she talk about what has really gone on in the Gaza? When will she be brave enough to push this? The illegal wall the illegal settlements?
    Olberman will not touch this either

    Reply

  25. TonyForesta says:

    True that Don S. “You cannot negotiate with Hamas until it renounces violence, recognizes Israel and agrees to abide by past agreements,”. This is more of the same; it’s boilerplate. Get’s us nowhere.” Obama or Clinton setting these kinds of preconditions on discussions or negotiations with Hamas are fruitless. Like it or not, inconvenient as it may be, the Palestinian people legally elected Hamas to lead the government. Not long ago in another thread, I suggested that Israel and America would benefit from recognizing Hamas as the legitimate government of Palestine, and entering into disussions and negotiations with the moderate elements of Hamas to work toward resolving the horrorible conlict. The response was a rain of silly personal insults and a refusal to recognize that (like it or not, right or wrong) Israel does in fact exist.
    The bushgov collaborated with Israel (who did not want, and resisted bushgov insistance on elections in Palestine originally) to starve the Palestinian people in a failed attempt to discredit Hamas. The wronghead backward thinking on the part of Israel and America is that by starving, sanctioning, robbing, and depriving the Palestinian people of food, water, ingress, egress, medicine, freedom, and hope – that the people would turn against Hamas and choose a leadership more in line with America’s and Israel interests. Instead, Hamas has only grown in stature among the Palestinian people, because Hamas alone provides any succor to it’s people, and Hamas is the face and the fist of resistant.
    America and Israel, must honor and abide the legitimate voice of the Palestinian people and recognize Hamas as the duly democratically elected leadership of Palestine. Then serious meaningful discussions and negotiation can ensue, and various conditions can be put foward and entertained by all sides. No one is sinless in this bloody horrorshow.
    Hopefully the Obama adminitration will work along these lines, that alone would represent significant change from past policies and positions. There is no easy solution to this conflict, but denying Hamas’s legitimacy as the democratically elected government of Palestine is the only certain way to insure NOTHING CHANGES!!

    Reply

  26. DonS says:

    Some links through ‘Think Progress’ on the Obama/Clinton ‘breaks’ with the Bush past.
    http://thinkprogress.org/2009/01/24/obama-100-hours/
    And while the optics have been almost flashy, with the MSM slavering over “vive la change”, the reality, especailly on Israel and Iran, as noted above, have been unimpressive. In fact, I can’t see the daylight between Obama/Clinton and Bush; more like continuity on this front. Once could argue that this is the opening salvo of negotiating positions, and one starts from the most extreme positons. Clinton: “You cannot negotiate with Hamas until it renounces violence, recognizes Israel and agrees to abide by past agreements,”. This is more of the same; it’s boilerplate. Get’s us nowhere. So is it all behind the scenes? What about the court of public opinion?
    I would guess that Hillary and Barak had this all hammered out before she took the job. She gets her way in Israel/Pal — not that it diverges from Obama from what I can see. And when it get’s nowhere, blame Hamas, or should there be domestic heat to bear, Hillary and Barak get to point fingers at each other.
    Obama has been quite outspoken in several areas, notably the economy. But not on the ME. “Reaching out to Muslims” sounds good, but a break from the past is needed. A break that places blame on Israel proportionately for it’s years of intransigeance.
    In foreign affairs, the Israeli/Palestinian clusterf*** is the focus. It will be the measure of sincerity and sucess or failure in changing perceptions of America in much of the world. Contiuity with the past in US policy in that area is a cruel joke destined to fail.
    We avidly look toward TWN to tear aside the diplomatic jargon that Obama/Clinton will use to shroud what is or isn’t going on.

    Reply

  27. TonyForesta says:

    You are arguing my point whomeveryouare. Of course they are intertwined, and that’s was the original point.
    Show me where I have projected anything on Paul, who we both agree is a thoughtful poster here. Again you pick and choose to read what you want. If you read my posts and Pauls, you will see that it is Paul alone that flings silly insults, makes wildly innacurate mistatements on my comments, and takes works and messages completely out of context to his preconcieved distaste for me personally.
    I also agree with you and the rest of the world that there are individuals in the bushgov particularly, and the CIA the FBI and numerous other elements of the US military and private military, intelligence and intelligence, and finance industrial complexes that are massmurderers and should be mercilessly hunted down and killed. And do not attempt to conflate of expand my targetlist beyond those in the bushgov, the CIA, the FBI, or the US gov element that are massmurderers. It is massmurderers alone, and all those who aid and abet them that in my opinion must be eradicated from the earth.
    You people can’t or won’t read, and continually broaden the specific target of massmurderers into you own individual slurry of billions these of these, or billions of those, – which I never anywhere mentioned.
    Again, this is only my opinion, my pedestrian idea for providing the means, freedom, and oxygen for decent human beings to begin to work toward resolving conflicts peacefully. Obviously, other opinions prevail and my opinions obviously do not hold any weight.
    I offer them only as a counter to the ridiculous futility and fruitlessness of currents vectors, methods and practices. Nothing ever changes. Nothing ever changes because extremists (often massmurderers)and the predator class dominate the decision making process. Individuals on opposing sides leap to the farthest extremes to condemn their enemies often based on wildly inaccurate baselessness, ignorance, and rank prejudice. War and other acts of massmurder. There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth. Each side claims thier book or thier god or thier prophet or their king or their country is sanctioned by god to dominate and kill every enemy, man, woman, or child. Amen. Allah be praised. Nothing changes. Nothing changes because bloodthirsty massmurderers and greedy predators control our governments and our societies and our socalled religions. In my opinion, eradicating these monsters in the first in opening the valves of freedom for decent human being to work in peace toward resolving conflicts.
    I am convinced that Obama is a decent human being. That a radical shift in spirit has rippled through the heart of America, and most American’s and that the brutish and bloodthirsty massmurderering savagely greedy beasts in the bushgov are defeated, (and hopefully held accountable, and some of them hung for their crimes) and sent back to their caves.
    America has emerged from under the dragons wing, and we now have the opportunity to see if real change occurs under the Obama leadership. I think there are clear signs Israel blanket of unconditional support, and getoutofjailfreecard from America is unraveling. Some new arrangement is in order, wherein America’s government does not abandon Israel, but niether will it condone or continue to support Israels aparthied policies in Palestine.
    At the same time, yesterdays predator strike in Pakistan aligns perfectly well with my personal opinion, wherein the US and any civilized nation should mercilessly hunt down and kill every massmurderer on earth.

    Reply

  28. ... says:

    tony quote “If it were not for America’s hyper superior military, – America would have already collapsed. The facts remain economically (however untenable these facts may be going forward) – that the US dollar and US treasury notes are the worlds choice for safe havens and the only viable secured investment.” – tony, the only reason the us currency is holding up and thought of as a “SAFE” haven is due the fact it’s military position is what it is… there’s almost no difference between the military industrial complex and the banking cartel.. they are intertwined…
    tony, paul is one of the more thoughtful posters here on twn.. your ‘projections’ onto him appear very unfair but they belong to you and not him so you’re entitled to hang onto them, not that they do you any good…
    tony quote “hunt down and mercilessly kill every single mass murderer and all those who aid and abet them on the planet.” tony has it occurred to you that the usa thanks to bush/cia and the past 50 or so years is viewed as such by much of the rest of the globe?
    tony, trying to get rid of hate with hate doesn’t seem to be an intelligent move, but it’s the one you keep on coming back to, and it does support this same banking/military system in place.. trying something different would seem to make a lot more sense to many of us here, but at this point in time you don’t appear to agree…

    Reply

  29. JohnH says:

    “The balance you claim to write of, between diplomacy and military force, will come about when the United States ceases employing egregious lies in the service of killing Iraqis for oil.” Well said.
    It is kind of pointless of TWN to call for diplomacy but refuse to ever mention the stakes– what we’re supposed to be negotiating about. The problem for TWN and the “enlightened” realist community is that they haven’t figured out how to get secure access to Iraqi, Iranian, and Caspian oil and gas without using military force. Citizens of those nations are unlikely to lay down and roll over while their energy resources get looted. Welcome to the 21st century, guys!
    So the egregious lies continue. Iraq wasn’t about oil (I’m shocked anyone could even think such a thing!) Iran isn’t about oil (it’s about a non-existent nuclear program!) Afghanistan isn’t about pipeline routes (it’s about something or other–anything but pipeline routes).
    Diplomacy will work only when the foreign policy mob accepts the goal of realizing the mutual self interest of both supplier and consumer. Constantly ignoring the lies about American ambitions, which TWN does, means tacit support for current policies, i.e. military action justified under false pretenses.
    Revealing America’s true ambitions, which TWN steadfastly refuses to do, is the only way to pave the path for negotiating solutions. It would be a joy to see TWN start the new year and the new administration with an honest clarity of vision about America’s over-arching ambitions (admit the obvious!) and then spell out the diplomatic path to achieving them, one based on mutual self interests.

    Reply

  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I see the White House has “no comment” on the last two drone strikes in Afghanistan. Must be this policy of “new transparency” we keep hearing about, eh?
    “Change”.
    Yeah right.
    I’ll tell ya what’s “illicit”. Our undermining and disregard for the NPT is what is “illicit”. So is our failure to recognize the war crimes that Israel regularly commits with its use of illegal weaponry, to say nothing of its targeting of civilian non-combatants and UN facilities and installations.
    However, judging fromn both Hillary and Obama’s status quo posture and rhetoric, not only is Obama not going to listen to the public’s plainly telegraphed desire to halt our military adventurism, he is actually going to escalate it.
    Both Carroll and myself warned you that Obama was a Trojan Horse, a wolf in sheep’s clothing. What else could he have been, considering he was created by the same MSM propaganda machine that sold us Bush and the GWOT?

    Reply

  31. Don Bacon says:

    Richard Holbrooke is Hillary’s neocon
    –according to Joshua Frank, who describes Holbrooke’s 1975 activities in support of Indonesia’s genocide in East Timor.
    http://www.counterpunch.org/frank07252007.html

    Reply

  32. Don Bacon says:

    Barack Obama on Iran:
    Mar 2, 2007. . .Obama: The world must work to stop Iran’s uranium enrichment program and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons
    National Intelligence Estimate, Dec 3, 2007 . . .. We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program
    IAEA Report, May 26, 2008: “The Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran.”
    July 25, 2008 . .Democratic Sen. Barack Obama, nearing the end of a fast-paced international campaign trip, warned Iran today, “don’t wait for the next president” to take office before yielding to Western demands to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. . .Iran poses “an extraordinarily grave situation.” He said the world must send “a clear message to Iran to end its illicit nuclear program.”
    NPT: “Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with articles I and II of this Treaty.”
    Sep 6, 2008 …Iran is a “major threat” and it would be “unacceptable” for the rogue nation to develop a nuclear weapon, Barack Obama said
    IAEA Report, September 15, 2008: “The Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran. Iran has provided the Agency with access to declared nuclear material and has provided the required nuclear material accounting reports in connection with declared nuclear material and activities.”
    Oct 2, 2008 . . .Obama: “The American people weren’t just failed by a President – they were failed by much of Washington. By a media that too often reported spin instead of facts. . .I will always tell the American people the truth.”
    Nov 7, 2008 … U.S. President-elect Barack Obama said in Chicago on Friday that Iran’s development of nuclear weapons is unacceptable.
    IAEA Report on Iran, Nov 19, 2008 — “The Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran. Iran has provided the Agency with access to declared nuclear material and has provided the required nuclear material accounting reports in connection with declared nuclear material and activities.”
    Dec 7, 2008 . . .Obama: “We need to ratchet up tough but direct diplomacy with Iran, making very clear to them that their development of nuclear weapons would be unacceptable”
    Jan 11, 2009 . . .Obama: “[Iran is] pursuing a nuclear weapon that could potentially trigger a nuclear arms race.”

    Reply

  33. TonyForesta says:

    Where you and I divide Paul Norheim is that I do NOT believe “there are billions of brutes and extermists out there”. I believe there are in fact exceedingly few brutes and extremists, (and those are your words, where I choose the more specific categories of massmurderers and all those who aid and abet them, but for the sake of argument) and that these few hold disproportionate influence in positions of leadership. By targeting these brutes and extremists (your words, not mine, and mine are quite more specific, but for the sake of argument) – the rest of civilized or at least decent humanity who only wants to care for thier children, keep a roof over their families head, provide food and sustainance for their family, and maybe a little party now and again, will have the oxygen and the freedom to live in a world where all men and woman are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain inalieanable rights such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The massmurderers (my words and cunningly not yours) PREVENT and PROHIBIT this reality from ever coming into fruition, and hense my call for hunting down and killing every single one of them and all those who aid and abet them.
    And this blog, or any nations woeful discussions thus far on foriegn policy are hopelessly flawed and duplicitious since any cursory examination of history will prove to anyone who is capable of reading that the entire worlds history is one of repeated carnage, attempts genocide, division, divicivness, dominations, and oceans of innocent blood spilled in pursuit of the wanton greed of predators and this or that freakish religion.
    You cannot claim I am being dishonest and deny history. Nor can you slime my suggestions as “rubbish” in light of the current bloodbaths in Palestine, Iraq, Aghanistan, the Dafur, Chechnya, Kashmir, and countless other horrorshows past and present on this wild and violent earth.
    Where you and I divide most, is that I do not see any grand wisdom or logic or reason or intelligence in the conduct of human affairs or certainly governments and definately religions past, present or in the near future, and so look to the more immediate and parochial or tribal necessities to protect, defend, and advance my family, my community, and me. If you can offer some evidence where I am wrong or misguided, other than your silly personal insults on me personally, I am willing to hear it. But since you do not, – you stick to your opinions and I will stick to mine.

    Reply

  34. Paul Norheim says:

    No, Tony, I don`t hate you.
    I just try to show the consequences of your frequently repeated
    suggestion to kill all the fanatics in the world. According to your
    earlier estimates and your general misanthropic world view, there
    are billions of brutes and extremists out there, and well… the
    result would be akin to with what extremist Evangelical Christians
    call Armageddon, only worse, since you would probably want to
    kill millions of Evangelical Christians as well!
    How can you insist on promoting such lunatic rubbish on a blog
    about foreign policy, New York Senators and weimaraner dogs!

    Reply

  35. Iraqi-American says:

    The balance you claim to write of, between diplomacy and military force, will come about when the United States ceases employing egregious lies in the service of killing Iraqis for oil. Comprende? Capiche? You’re not dealing with illiterates here, Steve/America. We have no ill intentions toward you, despite the 1.5 million Iraqis you’ve slaughtered in the name of oil, based on lies. Obama gets it and sees the larger Sino-Russian influence providing counterforce. You (Steve) apparently do not.

    Reply

  36. TonyForesta says:

    I know you hate me Paul Norheim, and you hate blurs your ability to accept or recognize my message.
    America cannot “forget diplomacy, nuance, and wisdom,” because then we are no different than the massmurderers we seek to defeat.
    There is no both ways in this argument. The fact remains that America is (right or wrong) the worlds hypersuperior military, and the dollar, and US treasuries are (right or wrong) the only viable safe havens for the global investment community. If these facts, realities and vectors, change, (and they very may will in the future is America does not right our wayward course) then we can discuss new realities and facts going forward, – but that does not change or alter the facts and reality today.
    Again, in my personal opinion, (and that is all it is, a personal opinion of an pedestrian in America) – the only hope for peace and progress is to hunt down and mecilessly kill every single massmurderer and all those who aid and abet them on the planet, and remove forever this malignancy and cancer from the bodyhuman and the earth. If not, (in my personal opinion) the massmurderers will continue exacting a terrible bloody, costly toll on all humanity. Just as you would seek to excoriate a cancer from your own body, by whatever means necessary, – so must humanity remove the cancer of massmurder as state or religious dictum or mandate from the face of the earth and the bodyhuman. Every singel one of them and all those who aid and abet them regardless of the flag, or book, or prophet of vengeful wrathful god they worship.
    I do not see any conflict here. You evidently do. Please explain your position, and I will defend mine, and if there is some common ground between us, then maybe we can both work in concert in our little meaningless insignificant and pedestrian ways to fix these many horrorshows, or at least offer viable suggestions. I am willing to hear you if you offer something beyond sliming me personally, – what do you seek?

    Reply

  37. Paul Norheim says:

    Sorry Tony,
    but the US really need it`s “hypersuperiour” military capacity if
    you`re gonna kill all the “mass murderers” in the world. You even
    need the military-industrial-congressional complex to get the job
    done.
    Forget diplomacy, nuance, and wisdom, because this is where
    your homespun theory leads you, and you can`t have it both
    ways.

    Reply

  38. TonyForesta says:

    If it were not for America’s hypersuperior military, – America would have already collapsed. The facts remain economically (however untenable these facts may be going forward) – that the US dollar and US treasury notes are the worlds choice for safe havens and the only vialble secured investment. Militarily, Americans warmaking capabilities provide a brutal hedge to any other nation taking any overt action against the US militarily, or economically. The sad and perhaps frightening truth is that all humanity, and every nations remains beasts at heart, animals, cavemen really, and when push comes to shove, humanity always resolves it’s myriad and sundry differences by beating eachother over the head with sticks. America owns the most terrible and dominant sticks – so the rest of the world is more than wary of pushing America too for, for fear of the fiery and certain reprecussions.
    Yet the artical is poignant, in that America’s way forward is in balance and nuance. Intelligent, wise, reasoned, and well though-out, thoroughly vetted and examined qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the facts and realities in the field, whether it be economic, political, or military – represent the only hope for America to right our wayward course and navigate the stormy sea’s of the several severe economic, political and military choices we face and must confront as a nation and a people. The brutish imbecilic pathologically belligerant tactics and practices of the bushgov are proven failures, and lay rotting and dying on every field, economic, political, and military.
    The world is a violent, chaotic, complex, and wild place, and there are no simplistic answers. Navigating America through these several tempests will require brave, intreped, and wise leadership. If our leadership, and that would be the Obama administration now, are not brave, intreped and wise, – America will sink and ultimately perish, or at least be severely wrecked. So far, and it is very early, – the Obama leadership appears to live up to all these necessary standards. But the great and perilous storms are fast approaching, and the real tests will come when the most brutal waves and winds come crashing home. Good pilots right the ship, avoid, or navigate the rogue waves and keep the ship and it’s crew alive. Bad pilots make stupid selfish mistakes and the ship and everyone on sinks and perishes.
    The future hopes for America depend on Obama accepting and confronting the many wild and viscious crisis threatening America; economic, political, and military, and also morally and legally – and wisely, intelligently, with balance, courage, and stalwart intrepedness – righting our wayward course, navigating these turbulent sea’s, and piloting America home to safety and solid ground.
    Thus far, though the real catasrophic threats are hovering on the horizon, – the signs are exceedingly encouraging. We mere passengers and crew can only hope!

    Reply

  39. JohnH says:

    I agree with …, it “must be tough being an empire in decline wondering how to figure out the next foreign policy blunder.” The post-modern foreign policy seems entirely engendered by a bunch of testosterone crazed draft dodgers desperately looking for worthy challengers to reduce to rubble by remote control. Sad part is that their track record shows that they can cause immense death and destruction, but gain almost nothing in return, as the enemies have proven themselves irreductible.
    So why should there be any balance at all between diplomacy and military force? Based on the failure of military solutions in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, the public should abhor the mere thought of a military “solution.” Those advocating military solutions should be greeted with the same enthusiasm as–say–a loud fart at a state dinner.
    There may be good reason to use military force, but I haven’t seen a single instance in my lifetime, spanning more than a quarter of the history of this great republic.
    A thrice burned, skeptical public should set an almost impossibly high bar for military action. Institutionalizing strict adherence to the just war doctrine would be a good place to start. Using it rigorously could have eliminated most of the stupid military adventures of the past sixty years.

    Reply

  40. Syed Qamar Afzal Rizvi says:

    Yes, keeping the balance between diplomacy and the military force,seems to have been the core-test of the US smart power doctrine- a composite synergy of the soft-power and the hard-power doctrines.Since the State Department seems committed to focusing on the issues of development and diplomacy under the auspices of the Secretary of State Mrs Hillary Clinton; the defence strategy-the use/control of the military force- remains the Presidential premise,it is hoped the new US administraion would positively keep the right coordinative balance between diplomacy and defence.

    Reply

  41. PissedOffAmerican says:

    White House website….
    “…to pressure Iran to stop their illicit nuclear program, support for terrorism”
    AIPAC website….
    “….pressure on Iran to halt its illicit nuclear program and curb the country’s support for terrorism”

    Reply

  42. PissedOffAmerican says:

    From the AIPC website….
    Obama’s Treasury Pick Vows Action Against Iran
    Geithner pledged to exert financial pressure on Iran.
    Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner vowed to step up U.S. financial pressure on Iran to halt its illicit nuclear program and curb the country’s support for terrorism, Agence France Presse reported. “If confirmed as secretary of the Treasury, I would consider the full range of tools available to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, including unilateral measures, to prevent Iran from misusing the financial system to engage in proliferation and terrorism,” Geithner wrote in response to senators’ questions…
    continues….
    http://www.aipac.org/

    Reply

  43. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Dan, the wording “illicit nuclear program” is straight out of the AIPAC playbook. It is the phrase they have used consistently on their website to describe Iran’s nuclear endeavors.
    The fact that this language is being used on the White House website is troubling indeed. I would like someone to tell me what, exactly, has been proven “illicit” about Iran’s nuclear development efforts.
    I was heartened by the fact that the AIPAC website toned down its use of Obama’s Sderot comments as a marketing tool through which to imply his endorsement of the Gaza bloodbath. I was sincerely hoping that it was due to Obama’s camp calling AIPAC and telling them to tone it down.
    But in reading the “official” Obama stance you cited from the WH website, its almost as though AIPAC wrote it. Perhaps they did.
    Regardless, if Obama planned to deviate from our history of green flagging Israel’s extermination of the Palestinians, and heavy hand in our foreign policy as it applies to the Middle East, its hard to believe he would put Hillary in as SoS.

    Reply

  44. Dan Kervick says:

    Great piece of reporting by Laura Rozen on Holbrooke and India:
    http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/01/23/india_s_stealth_lobbying_against_holbrooke

    Reply

  45. Dan Kervick says:

    Can someone please clarify for me what the Obama administration’s Iran policy is supposed to be? On the whitehouse.gov site there is an Iran policy statement (reproduced below), but I find the statement overly sly and utterly puzzling. Specifically, I can’t tell if there is supposed to be a difference between Iran’s “illicit nuclear program” and its “nuclear program”. And I don’t know which specific nuclear behaviors are supposed to be “troubling”. I would have thought that a lawyer like Obama is familiar with the non-proliferation treaty, and understands the difference between those nuclear activities which are proscribed and those to which Iran is entitled under international law. I also take it that he wants the world to believe US policy is returning to a principled commitment to international law.
    I also have a simple and direct question for Obama. US intelligence has issued some important assessments of Iran’s nuclear program. Some of hese assessments apparently conflict with the assessment of the Israeli government. What I would like to know is whether, in the places these assessments conflict, Obama believes the assessments of our own government or the Israeli government. Simple question.
    _____________________________________
    Iran
    * Diplomacy: Barack Obama supports tough and direct diplomacy with Iran without preconditions. Now is the time to use the power of American diplomacy to pressure Iran to stop their illicit nuclear program, support for terrorism, and threats toward Israel. Obama and Biden will offer the Iranian regime a choice. If Iran abandons its nuclear program and support for terrorism, we will offer incentives like membership in the World Trade Organization, economic investments, and a move toward normal diplomatic relations. If Iran continues its troubling behavior, we will step up our economic pressure and political isolation. In carrying out this diplomacy, we will coordinate closely with our allies and proceed with careful preparation. Seeking this kind of comprehensive settlement with Iran is our best way to make progress.

    Reply

  46. Cee says:

    the military are resisting the militarization of foreign policy
    Did Obama order the bombing in Pakistan today?
    I read that Khatami is going to run again. Will this adminstration undermine him too?

    Reply

  47. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Well, it didn’t take Hillary long to get down on all fours for Israel, did it?
    Perhaps Hillary could have called Israel to tell them that frying Palestinian children in White Phosphorous was a no-no.
    But nope, she just called to make sure they knew that “change” didn’t mean she was going to pull her head out of AIPAC’s ass.
    http://atheonews.blogspot.com/2009/01/hillary-tzipi-to-stop-iran-enrichment.html
    Hillary, Tzipi to stop Iran enrichment
    US secretary of state and Israel’s foreign minister have reportedly reached an agreement to work together in dealing with Iran’s nuclear program.
    Israel’s daily Haaretz said Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and the new US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the deal during a phone conversation on Thursday.
    continues…
    http://atheonews.blogspot.com/2009/01/hillary-tzipi-to-stop-iran-enrichment.html

    Reply

  48. Don Bacon says:

    Getting all kissy-face with Obama won’t get us very far, either.
    First, the couple of hundred US militaryprisoners in Cuba are just a small fraction of the tens of thousands incarcerated elsewhere in the world, primarily in Iraq and, increasingly, in Afghanistan. Gitmo is a red herring.
    Obama’s Foggy Bottom visit included his customary slam at the Gaza Palestinians, those unfortunates who have been driven from their homes by the Zionists and then bombed, having just endured a wanton slaughter by the US client Israel. Also there was a renewed endorsement of increased US military force in Afghanistan, which is now after seven years 72% controlled by the Taliban, with no end in sight (barring outright US military defeat).
    Then there’s Iraq, where promises to end the war have yielded to a request to the Pentagon to pretty please devise a “drawdown” (whatever that is) plan.
    Not a great start for the O-man, I’d say.

    Reply

  49. Josh Meah says:

    From Day One, Obama’s forceful repudiation of the
    Bush administration is striking. Within one year,
    Guantanamo is expected to disappear. Torture as a
    practice has been condemned. The biggest
    personalities of Obama’s foreign policy team are
    all State-side. He’s keeping the campaign-based
    theme of government transparency and
    accountability, which is diametrically opposed to
    the insular, crony-based establishment created by
    Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Addington, et al.
    Obama, so far, is sticking with the supposed
    theoretical moral high-ground. He’s making the
    right moves, and I like what he’s done so far, but
    I hope he doesn’t swing the balance too far in the
    direction of the “left.” Will we join the
    International Criminal Court? What, then, will
    happen to our peace-keeping missions? Will we join
    an international treaty to ban land mines? Then
    what happens to the dividing line between North
    and South Korea?
    What does Obama’s form of hegemony look like? Or
    will he let our influence wane? If our military
    decreases in size, then who’s going to secure the
    energy assets of the Middle East for Europe and
    China?
    If we make right morally so many of our unfair
    trade policies, then what’s going to happen to
    American businesses? What if we stop subsidizing
    agriculture and what if we stop manipulating the
    IMF and WTO?
    And closing Guantanamo is a nice thought, but what
    will we do with all of the prisoners?
    Obama is moving in the right direction, but I do
    hope his administration becomes more than just
    anti-Bush. Obama must stay pragmatic and avoid
    letting his charisma wane. Personally, given the
    current global political, economic, and
    (literally) ecological climate, I think Obama
    should read up on the recent works of John
    Ikenberry, Michael Lind, Jeffrey Sachs, and
    William Easterly. And, yes, I know Sachs and
    Easterly are practical opposites. That’s the
    point.

    Reply

  50. DonS says:

    “… “, the equation between the cost of one new bomber and what an equivalent amount invested in social needs used to be, and no dobut still is, staggering. But the same mentality refuses to consider the tradeoffs as possible because the military-industrial complex remains sacrosanct. That same mentality reflexively refers to increasingly second rate military ‘volunteers’ as ‘America’s finest’. Obama dutifully genuflects to “outlasting” our “enemies”. The dissonance between a caring, compassionate national policy, and a militaristic footprint continues. Changing the course of the nation, if it is possible, will have to occur despite it.
    On the employment of drones and robots, I heard a radio broadcast yesterday on the psychological effect of this form of warfare — essentially like a computer game where the experience of killing human beings is sanitized — on the computer jockies. What really struck me though was how much this form of warfare is increasing, from a couple of dozen drones with killing capability a few years ago, to somewhere now in the neighborhood of five or six thousand.
    The more that service personnel are less likely to be killed, along with better treatment of the wounded, the more likely that the harsh statistics of dead American soldiers is reduced as a factor affecting public perception of the costs of war, and the easier it becomes for the nation to undertake warfare. Military action becomes more attractive as an instrument of policy.
    One can argue that it’s just modernization, but to those killed along with “collateral damage”, it’s every bit as brutal, and maybe even more evocative of the desire for revenge against the remote killers.
    In line with this post on “righting the military/diplomacy balance”, and whether it’s just all ‘optics’, the real test will come over time of course. And, most importantly, can America redesign it’s foreign policy goals to allow for the development of national aspirations that don’t follow our espoused model (Bush sure made it harder)? Can we pull back to just being one among many models that is possible? Or are we adddicted to the ideal of filling the great power vacuum that lingers from the cold war period?

    Reply

  51. ... says:

    must be tough being an empire in decline wondering how to figure out the next foreign policy blunder, or just maintaining the previous ones… staying at home is not an option as it would put a lot of the military industry out of work…. thus another admin is fixated and gets bogged down with foreign policy considerations.. what about taking all the money spent on the military( holding the adulation for the military while yer at it) and putting it into social issues being lived out on the streets in your own backyard?? i guess it’s unrealistic to think the feeding of a poor person is less important then the feeding of a military machine…

    Reply

  52. Paul Norheim says:

    On the other hand:
    “A suspected US drone missile attack has killed nine people in
    north-western Pakistan, local witnesses say.
    At least one missile hit a house in a village near the town of
    Mirali in North Waziristan, a stronghold of al-Qaeda and
    Taleban militants.
    A second suspected drone attack has now been reported in
    South Waziristan but there is no word on casualties.
    Pakistan has long argued that such strikes are counter-
    productive and are a violation of its sovereignty.
    These are the first drone attacks since Barack Obama was
    inaugurated as US president on Tuesday.” (BBC)

    Reply

  53. Dan Kervick says:

    There were many things about the idea of Clinton at the State Department that concern or disappoint meme. But on the other side of the scale, the most pro-Clinton consideration is my absolute confidence that she will fight like Armed Venus to take back State Department power and prestige lost to other branches of the national security establishment during the Bush years.

    Reply

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