Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Democrats getting serious about foreign policy?

In my opinion, the Democratic Party has long had a completely incoherent approach to foreign policy. Wavering between the vacuous "Human Rights" and appeasement agenda of Jimmy Carter; the reactive, unprioritized interventionism of Bill Clinton; and the meandering, deferential HawkLightism of Kerry, Hillary and other current Democrats; the party is rudderless and lacking in substance on the question of America's role in the world. This meandering approach to foreign policy insures that Republicans are on comfortable turf anytime the subject turns to international affairs. This issue ownership will continue to translate into victories in times when international issues dominate the political landscape.

But that landscape could be changing if one group of Democrats has there say and way. The advent of a new group hailing themselves as "Truman Democrats" may lead to some fundamental alterations in the Party's foreign policy approach. To give you a sense of their orientation, peruse this snippet from The Truman Project's website:

American voters view the Republicans as the party of national security. Their apprehension toward Democrats is understandable. On security issues, the Democratic Party has given in to posturing, not policies. Ad-hoc criticism has replaced proactive vision. Years of estrangement from the military have marginalized the Democratic voice in national security debates. We have also ceded our values to the Republicans: Democrats promote our beliefs in human rights, equality of opportunity, and liberty at home, but we appear unwilling to employ American power in pursuit of these values abroad.

While I'm not cheerleading for the Democrats, if they are to have any hope of future election victories or to play a valuable role in the what I believe to be the most important debate of our Generation (defining America's post-Cold War role in the world), then an adoption of the reality-checked attitudes of Truman Democrats is absolutely critical.

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