A Giuliani Foreign Policy

The September/October issue of Foreign Affairs offers an article written by Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani describing his foreign policy if elected President. As I read it, I became increasingly disturbed by the direction this country's foreign policy would take under a Giuliani administration. Mr. Giuliani needs take heed of the quote by philosopher George Santayana: "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it."
In his article, Mr. Giuliani places himself in agreement with the failed neo-conservative policies of William Kristol, Paul Wolfowitz, Donald Rumsfield, and Dick Cheney, rejecting the "realist" school of foreign policy practiced by both Presidents George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Mr. Giuliani must be reminded that it was just such a "realist" foreign policy directed by James Baker, Colin Powell, and Brent Scowcroft that put together a grand coalition which successfully attacked and defeated Iraq in 1991. This "realist" foreign policy kept Iraq in check for more than a decade and kept weapons of mass destruction out of their hands.
Mr. Giuliani rejects any call to withdraw from Iraq. To defend his position, Mr. Giuliani writes his own version of the Vietnam War. Most Americans remember the Vietnam War as the wrong war, at the wrong time, and in the wrong place, but despite most history books assertions, Mr. Giuliani claims that the United States won Vietnam. He says that by 1972, the United States and South Vietnam "had succeeded in defeating the Vietcong insurgency and in setting South Vietnam on a path to political self sufficiency. But America then withdrew its support, allowing the Communist North to conquer the South."
This claim is similar to that made by Hitler and other Nazi leaders after World War I, claiming that the German army had not been defeated, but had been betrayed by the German public. This theory became quite popular in Germany in the 1920s and 1930s and become known as Dolchstosslegende, or "Stab in the Back Myth." This theory of course was wrong, and led many Germans to accept Nazi leadership and a return to the failed militaristic policies of the 1910s, aimed at conquering much of Europe. Mr. Giuliani is no Nazi, but he is rewriting history in order to forward his own political agenda. The lesson most Americans learned from Vietnam was not that the army was betrayed by a public unwilling to see the war through until its successful end, but rather to avoid getting entangled in a guerilla war in a country whose population has turned against us. I wander if we would still be fighting Vietnam today if Mr. Giuliani had been President in the 1970s. If Mr. Giuliani should win the Presidency in 2008, how long will we be fighting in Iraq.
Even more alarming were Mr. Giuliani's less than subtle hints about military action against Iran. Certainly, a Presidential candidate would be unwise to limit his actions by unilaterally rejecting an attack on Iran, but Mr. Giuliani's hawkish rhetoric is counterproductive. Mr. Giuliani writes, "The Theocrats ruling Iran need to understand that we can wield the stick as well as the carrot, by undermining popular support for their regime, damaging the Iranian economy, weakening Iran's military, and, should all else fail, destroying its nuclear infrastructure." There is no need for a President or Presidential candidate to saber rattle in this way, especially considering our recent invasion of Iraq. I think Iran is well aware of America's willingness to use force against hostile regimes. Perhaps a time will come when it will become necessary to use military force against Iran, but these types of statements do little to forge relationships with Iranian moderates or negotiate with the Iranian government to end its nuclear weapons ambitions. While American troops are caught in the crossfire of a Shiite-Sunni civil war in Iraq, Mr. Giuliani appears to be seriously considering invasion of another Middle Eastern Muslim country.
We need leadership that can learn from past mistakes, not continue to repeat them. Unfortunately, the Bush administration appears totally incapable of learning or even admitting it has made mistakes over the past six and a half years. From the tone of Mr. Giuliani's article, he seems incapable of identifying the Bush administration's mistakes or learning the lessons of history. The last thing this country needs on the heels of a Bush administration is a Giuliani administration.

Comments

Which article?

I agree with most everything you've written - but I wonder

In his article, Mr. Giuliani places himself in agreement with the failed neo-conservative policies

To which article are you referring?

And (tongue firmly in cheek now) did you only decide to post this once Rudy said he'd root for the Red Sox? :-D


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Giuliani

Sorry, the article (now specified above... first paragraph hadn't cut and pasted) was in the September/October issue of Foreign Affairs.

Betrayal

I would never hold Rudy's betrayal of the Yankees against hiim politically. There is too much else to be concerned about.

With you on all of it.

Except, I think I will hold his betrayal of the Yankees against him. Rooting for the American League team, my ass. You're a Yankee fan, you don't root for the Red Sox. You just don't.

Even more alarming were Mr. Giuliani's less than subtle hints about military action against Iran. Certainly, a Presidential candidate would be unwise to limit his actions by unilaterally rejecting an attack on Iran, but Mr. Giuliani's hawkish rhetoric is counterproductive. Mr. Giuliani writes, "The Theocrats ruling Iran need to understand that we can wield the stick as well as the carrot, by undermining popular support for their regime, damaging the Iranian economy, weakening Iran's military, and, should all else fail, destroying its nuclear infrastructure."

Rudy is a scary guy. His record in NYC is scary. Oh, he cleaned it up, all right, by deporting the undesirables to other parts of the area. He is, by nature, a war monger. He's just never had the chance to "monger" an actual war before. Before that it was corrupt cops and dirty streets. The PAX Guiliania in NYC was accomplished pretty much the same way Mussolini made the trains run on time.


Be the change you wish to see in the world. --Gandhi

Betrayal II

Oh... as a fan, I do hold Rudy's betrayal against him... I am furious with him for saying he was rooting for the Red Sox. Before this, I always respected him for saying that he was a Yankees fan and not being politically correct by saying that he didn't care which New York team won.