Monday, September 08, 2003

The Critique: Clinton-era State Depatment man Jamie Rubin has a piece in Foreign Affairs that offers a critique of the pre-Iraq diplomacy efforts of the U.S. He makes some valid arguments, rightly pointing out the administrations lack of coherent message and tendency to antagonize the sensibilities of "old" Europe. But, in the end, it all sounds just a little too Clintonian; just a little more jaw-jaw, a little more give and take, would have brought the world around. It comes across as, essentially, an argument that his own boss could have pulled off what Bush couldn't. He fails to see the entirety of, say, France's (successful) efforts to stymie the second UN resolution. To put it more bluntly, he criticizes Cheney and Rummy for their "We're going anyway" attitude, but ignores France's "We'll oppose any second resolution that even mentions the use of force" posturing.

It's an interesting read, and a good, non-belligerent presentation of a properly Democratic view. But it suffers the rose-colored view of too much of the Foggy Bottom world: If we could only talk a little more, we could solve this. Twelve years of talk was plenty.

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