Thursday, December 27, 2007

Not About US (Pt. 2)

Paul Krugman is righteously beating one of my favorite hobby horses -- the immediate bi-partisan US-centric view that all foreign actions are heavily formulated to take into account domestic US political circumstances:

To all the presidential campaigns trying to claim that the atrocity in Pakistan somehow proves that they have the right candidate — please stop.
This isn’t about you; in fact, as far as I can tell, it isn’t about America. It’s about the fact that Pakistan is a very messed-up place. This has very bad consequences for us, but it’s hard to see what, if anything, it says about US policy.
If you’re a tough guy (or gal) who believes in exerting US power — never mind, there are just too many heavily armed people in Pakistan for anyone but Norman Podhoretz to believe that we could throw our weight around. If you believe you can bring new understanding to the world through your enlightened outlook — sorry, there are too many people in Pakistan who don’t want to be enlightened. If you believe that we’d have more influence in the world if we hadn’t squandered our resources and good will in Iraq (which I do) — well, sorry, that influence wouldn’t extend to being able to bring peace and light to Pakistan.

Josh Marshall provides a good snark on the same subject: The leading Dem candidates for president appear to be in a pitched battle to make the most craven and insipid uses of the Bhutto assassination for immediate political advantage. A true horse race.

It seldom is all about the US as I noted in November:

Actions in foreign countries are not always - hell seldom are - primarily driven by, for or against the interests of the United States. This applies in Australia where an anti-Bush prime minister and governing coalition got voted into office due to overwhelmingly domestic issues, and the Australian foreign policy intersect and disunion sets with US policy was a tertiary issue for most voters. This applies in Venezuala where Chavez has overwhelmingly been playing to an economically populist crowd.....

Yes, foreign policy does interact with domestic policy, but policy and political debates in other countries often have highly salient dimensions that are not about the United States, and foreign influences

No comments: