Conservative columnist Andrew Sullivan sparked a lot of debate by writing recently that Dems aren’t offering any alternatives to the GOP’s failed method of fighting the so-called war on terror. Oh yeah? Some Dems beg to differ:
But, for all Cheney’s and Rumsfeld’s flaws, they are at least proposing something serious, however ineptly carried out. I have yet to hear anti-war voices on the left propose a positive strategy for defeating Islamist terror at its roots, or call for democratization of the Arab Muslim world. Indeed, I heard little but scorn or silence when Bush announced this vision in London. Do the Democrats stand for democracy in Iraq? Or in Iran? Do they favor Beinart-style containment of Islamism? Nuclear deterrence against Tehran? Certainly, the Kossites seem utterly uninterested in any of these subjects. That’s their prerogative; and it’s equally my prerogative not to take them seriously until they do.
The same goes for the Dems as a whole. Until the opposition party presents a progressive, democratic agenda to reform the Middle East - as Blair has done in Britain, for example - there’s no reason to take them seriously on national security. Maybe their presidential candidate will articulate such a vision. So far, however: so not so much.
Sullivan seems to think it’s the responsibility of bloggers to articulate specific foreign policy strategy ... This is absurd. Among virtually all Dems, the “positive strategy” starts with Don’t Impose Democracy Through Warfare Because That’s Ineffective And Counterproductive, and goes on from there into the realms of soft power, including diplomacy, economic carrots and sticks, and, especially, leading by example, something that used to be a bipartisan virtue. Also, there’s tons of foreign policy discussion on a variety of leading lefty blogs, including innumerable diaries on these subjects at Kos. I don’t see right-wing bloggers articulating intricate new policy positions any more than liberals, and “stay the course” doesn’t count as a strategy. Virtually all lefties are pro-democracy, of course, and we do a better job of promoting it.
OK, here’s my strategy for defeating Islamic terror at its roots and democratizing the Arab Muslim world:
1. First, find an empty beer bottle.
2. Next, I want all Republicans and Republican media mouthpieces like yourself, Sully, to start telling everybody that this empty beer bottle is actually full of terror! When people question whether there is really any terror in the bottle, deride them as unserious, or as being terrorist sympathizers, traitors, anti-Semites, or whatever. When pressed to prove that the bottle is actually full of terror, admit that, well, maybe you can’t meet every nit-picky courtroom standard of proof on this, but terror can’t be defeated unless we understand about unknown unknowns and all that. I mean, maybe the bottle isn’t really 100% full of terror. But here’s the thing: CAN WE AFFORD TO TAKE THAT CHANCE!?!?!