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Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Zinni, Clancy and Lugar

I've already blogged about General Anthony Zinni on several occasions. So I have little to add to his latest entry into the news cycle, except to note: (a) the coauthor of Battle Ready is a registered Republican who voted for Bush in 2000 and worked for the administation from 2001 to 2003; (b) Zinni coauthored his book with popular writer Tom Clancy, who now also argues against the war in Iraq; and (c) Zinni was former chief of the Central Command, so he should have some credibility on this issue.

Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) also received a lot of attention for his commencement remarks at Tufts University, Saturday May 22. If you read the speech on his website , someone has put the key "quote-worthy" points in italics and/or boldface. Much of it is clear criticism of US foreign policy (and the implementation of the "war on terror") under the Bush administration.

Lugar strongly implies that the US has been over-valuing military solutions at the expense of diplomatic and economic tools:
To win the war against terrorism, the United States must assign U.S. economic and diplomatic capabilities the same strategic priority that we assign to military capabilities. There are no shortcuts to victory.
Lugar sounds like a peacenik.

Or a retired foreign service officer:
We have yet to alter the status of foreign affairs as the neglected sibling of national security policy. The Defense Budget is more than 13 times larger than the Foreign Affairs Budget. As a percentage of gross domestic product, foreign affairs programs are still about 40 percent below their average levels of the 1980s.
The neocons, of course, are much more worried about the impoverished defense budget.

Lugar says that this over-valuing the military at the expense of diplomacy has very serious implications:
The September 11 attacks may have jarred the United States out of its complacency toward foreign threats. But our ability and will to exert U.S. leadership outside the confines of military action have been eroded by inattention, budget incrementalism, and an increasing partisanship that afflicts foreign policy decision-making. As a result, we are conducting diplomacy without sufficient funding and sometimes without public support in an era when we are depending on diplomats to build alliances, reconstruct nations, and explain the United States worldwide.
That should wake some people up in the White House. Heck it sounds like it could readily fit within a Kerry speech.

Lugar is not fond of renewed American unilateralism. He sees great danger in such an approach:
Unless the United States commits itself to a sustained program of repairing and building alliances, expanding trade, pursuing resolutions to regional conflicts, supporting democracy and development worldwide, and controlling weapons of mass destruction, we are likely to experience acts of catastrophic terrorism that would undermine our economy, damage our society, and kill hundreds of thousands, if not millions of people.

The United States, as a nation, simply has not made this commitment
This quote appears above the speech in italics and then in bold within the body of the address.

I guess he really means it.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee is now a bipartisan "who's who" of critics of Bush foreign policy. These Republicans have made news recently: Lugar (IN), Hagel (NE), and Voinovich (OH). Chafee, of course, voted against the war, and recently pointed out "there's never been any connection between Osama bin Laden and Iraq. They're very, very different issues. And Afghanistan is [interrupted] a long way from Iraq."

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