Truth in advertising. I have friends involved with the Partnership for a Secure America ad posted above, which will appear as a purchased full page in tomorrow’s New York Times.
This ad and what it represents will be one of the primary topics of my speech tomorrow at the “Real State of U.S. Foreign Policy 2006” conference starting at 9 a.m. and taking place in SD-G50 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building. The conference can be watched on C-Span 3 live, or over the internet on C-Span’s site.
America as a nation — depicted in a bull’s eye target — is a way to enhance fear and certainly does draw people together — shivering and paranoid clustered together.
But in my view, this type of campaign perpetuates the false notion that if we check every container that comes into America, hassle every tourist, and convince people that leak-proof ballistic missile defenses are possible that they will be SAFE.
But it’s a false campaign, designed not to promote trust — but rather to keep the beneficiaries of a high-fear world in place.
Much of the world is at odds with America not because of who we are but because of policies that are blind to both their aspirations and their grievances.
Zbigniew Brzezinski has articulated this perspective brilliantly — and the absence of his name on this ad sponsored by the Partnership for a Secure America which Brzezinski originally signed on to — is a clear indicator that he doesn’t buy the bipartisan “fortress mentality” perpectuated here.
The list of signers of this document are for the most part good people who really do have concerns about the welfare and safety of the nation. But I would just appeal to them to broaden their focus.
Doing what we can as a nation to deal with grievances and to remove incentives from the rest of the world to “target” us seems like a far more effective strategy than tinkering with the amount of spectrum available for emergency disaster relief (of which the Pentagon already sits on a vast amount by the way).
Here is the signed letter.
Here is the pdf (BEWARE: VERY LARGE FILE) of the New York Times ad.
Because it’s tough to read above, the signers include:
Warren Rudman US Senator (R-NH) 1980-92
Lee Hamilton US Congressman (D-IN) 1965-99, Vice Chair, 9/11 Commission
Madeleine Albright Secretary of State 1997-2001
Howard Baker US Senator (R-TN) 1967-85
Warren Christopher Secretary of State 1993-97
Slade Gorton US Senator (R-WA) 1981-87, 1989-2001, Commissioner, 9/11
Gary Hart US Senator (D-CO) 1975-87
Rita Hauser Chair, International Peace Academy 1992-present
Carla Hills US Trade Representative 1989-93
Richard Holbrooke Ambassador to UN 1999-2001
Nancy Kassebaum Baker US Senator (R-KS) 1978-97
Thomas Kean Governor, New Jersey 1982-1990, Chairman, 9/11 Commission
Anthony Lake National Security Advisor 1993-97
Richard C. Leone President, Century Foundation 1989-present
Robert McFarlane National Security Advisor 1983-85
Donald McHenry Ambassador to UN 1979-81
Sam Nunn US Senator (D-GA) 1972-96
William Perry Secretary of Defense 1994-97
Thomas Pickering Undersecretary of State 1997-2000
Ted Sorensen White House Special Counsel 1961-63
John C. Whitehead Deputy Secretary of State 1985-88
Frank Wisner Undersecretary of State 1992-93
The really sad thing about this ad sponsored by the Partnership for a Secure America is that it is indistinguishable from the kind of ad that the Foundation for Defense of Democracies or the Committee on the Present Danger would put together.
There, in that place of fear — we can all stand together — liberals, conservatives, centrists (even ‘radical centrists’), libertarians, and neoconservatives. We can all use fear to tie ourselves together in common purpose.
But isn’t that what the President and Dick Cheney have been trying to orchestrate the last several years?
It’s important to be smart about national security at home, but we achieve nothing unless we get smarter about our diplomatic achievements that undo the “root cause” problem abroad. This ad does little to get America back on to a “smart security track”.
Again, I respect many signers of this letter and proponents of the AMERICA NEEDS TO FEAR ad, but it is wrong-headed, and I think that they need to rethink their position, retool, and issue an ad that gets us back in the game of enlightened diplomacy and smart national security policy making.
— Steve Clemons