Blogs > Liberty and Power > DEAN: AN ECHO, NOT A CHOICE?

Dec 27, 2003 1:43 am


From Dean's major foreign policy address on Monday:"I have supported U.S. military action to roll back Iraq's invasion of Kuwait, to halt ethnic cleansing in Bosnia, [and] to stop Milosevic's campaign of terror in Kosovo...."

Now, I guess that's not surprising. But Dean's argument against the Iraq war has focused on the idea (I'd say, the fact) that Iraq was never a national security threat. Well, it wasn't a national security threat in 1991 either, and Clinton's half-hearted argument that we had national security interests in Serbia amounted to"well, World War One started over there somehow when somebody killed some archduke or something." And if ethnic cleansing and terror argued for war over Kosovo, it's pretty hard to see why they didn't in the case of Hussein, who made Milosevic look like Niles Crain.

There's nothing in the rest of the speech that provides any kind of bold new foreign policy vision either. Spend more on foreign aid. Do more to wipe out AIDS in Africa. Work with our allies and don't tick them off gratuitously. Snore.

I'm rooting for Dean because he seems angry about something, and I'd like to see a fight, rather than a Clinton-Dole 1996-style lovefest in 2004. But the idea that he'd be a marked improvement over Bush is tough to credit. As somebody put it once, government's a massive runaway freight train careening towards disaster. Every four years we have a big to-do over who gets to sit up in the front car and pretend they're driving. It's hard to get excited about that.

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