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Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Decisions.

The New Yorker's David Remnick buys Kenneth M. Pollack's liberal case for war. (Pollack's book, The Threatening Storm, is the most comprehensive on the subject. The author was President Clinton's director of Gulf affairs at the National Security Council.) So does Joshua Micah Marshall in the Washington Monthly. Brian Urquhart puts lots of qualifications around his agreement with Pollack in the New York Review of Books, but essentially concedes that Pollack is right: Saddam is a problem for which we have no good solution, but which we must address.

The problem is that President Bush's case for war is different than the one that "reluctant hawks" like the liberals listed here have endorsed. A multilateral campaign would strengthen international law and minimize the outrage a U.S. attack will inspire. But a unilateral campaign will alienate our friends and incite our enemies. (After all, Iraq isn't primarily a threat to the U.S.; Saddam threatens a region that the world's economy depends on. He should be Europe's concern, too.) Bush's failure to bring more of our allies along makes war and its aftermath even more dangerous than it needs to be.

George Packer writes in Mother Jones that "the wrong people are doing the right things for the wrong reasons." But because Bush keeps emphasizing the wrong reasons, doing the right thing may actually make matters worse. It is impossible to look toward the future with anything but foreboding. Once again, I wish the Democrats had been cultivating a liberal foreign policy in the last decade — we could use one right about now.

Copyright © 2003 by Philocrites | Posted 29 January 2003 at 5:56 PM

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