Blogs: Paul Pillar

Foreign Policy in an Ignorant Democracy

The Newest Hit to America's Image

Paul Pillar

If there is any possible offsetting advantage regarding what American democracy in action displays to others, it is that we will be spared seeing Republicans doing everything possible to frustrate a President Clinton’s ability to govern.  The foreshadowing of such a scenario, had the election result gone the other way, was obvious.  There was much talk of impeachment, which is supposed to be a remedy for high crimes and misdemeanors committed in office, before the target even took office or won an election to the office.  Also, as columnist Richard Cohen observed, Congressman Jason Chaffetz, “the chairman of what amounts to the Permanent Committee to Investigate Hillary (actually, the House Oversight Committee),” was promising before the election to conduct investigations “until the end of time or Fox News loses interest, whichever comes first.”

Perhaps most stunning were the promises, after Republican refusal all year even to consider President Obama’s nominee to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, to block anyone a President Clinton nominated to the court during an entire four-year term.  Such a position not only would have represented a new depth in governmental dysfunction but also a direct assault on the concept of an independent judiciary, which is one of the most important things that separate stable liberal democracies that operate with the rule of law from a lot of other less admirable countries that don’t.  And this talk was coming not from Donald Trump but from the principal runner-up for the Republican nomination (Ted Cruz) and a previous presidential nominee (John McCain).

Of course, being “spared” sabotage and obstruction probably should not be considered an advantage when the alternative is to have the saboteurs running the whole show.

The defacement of American democracy, as well as the xenophobia, both of which are already unavoidably associated with Donald Trump’s presidency before he even takes the oath of office, have multiple and significant consequences for U.S. overseas interests, however difficult it may be to limn precise effects that will appear over the next four years.  The consequences will include degradation of any claim by the United States to leadership of inclusive, liberal democracies.  They also will include weakening of political advantages—especially among disparaged or excluded populations and the governments that lead them—that the United States has traditionally enjoyed as an object of admiration and emulation.  They include a reduction of confidence in, and support for, democracy itself.

Anything that weakens, or threatens to weaken, Americans’ own stable, inclusive democracy ought to be a source of dismay regardless of the repercussions overseas.  But those repercussions are an added reason for the dismay. 

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Getting to Negotiations on Syria

Paul Pillar

If there is any possible offsetting advantage regarding what American democracy in action displays to others, it is that we will be spared seeing Republicans doing everything possible to frustrate a President Clinton’s ability to govern.  The foreshadowing of such a scenario, had the election result gone the other way, was obvious.  There was much talk of impeachment, which is supposed to be a remedy for high crimes and misdemeanors committed in office, before the target even took office or won an election to the office.  Also, as columnist Richard Cohen observed, Congressman Jason Chaffetz, “the chairman of what amounts to the Permanent Committee to Investigate Hillary (actually, the House Oversight Committee),” was promising before the election to conduct investigations “until the end of time or Fox News loses interest, whichever comes first.”

Perhaps most stunning were the promises, after Republican refusal all year even to consider President Obama’s nominee to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, to block anyone a President Clinton nominated to the court during an entire four-year term.  Such a position not only would have represented a new depth in governmental dysfunction but also a direct assault on the concept of an independent judiciary, which is one of the most important things that separate stable liberal democracies that operate with the rule of law from a lot of other less admirable countries that don’t.  And this talk was coming not from Donald Trump but from the principal runner-up for the Republican nomination (Ted Cruz) and a previous presidential nominee (John McCain).

Of course, being “spared” sabotage and obstruction probably should not be considered an advantage when the alternative is to have the saboteurs running the whole show.

The defacement of American democracy, as well as the xenophobia, both of which are already unavoidably associated with Donald Trump’s presidency before he even takes the oath of office, have multiple and significant consequences for U.S. overseas interests, however difficult it may be to limn precise effects that will appear over the next four years.  The consequences will include degradation of any claim by the United States to leadership of inclusive, liberal democracies.  They also will include weakening of political advantages—especially among disparaged or excluded populations and the governments that lead them—that the United States has traditionally enjoyed as an object of admiration and emulation.  They include a reduction of confidence in, and support for, democracy itself.

Anything that weakens, or threatens to weaken, Americans’ own stable, inclusive democracy ought to be a source of dismay regardless of the repercussions overseas.  But those repercussions are an added reason for the dismay. 

Pages

Felling ISIS and Facing Reality About Terrorism

Paul Pillar

If there is any possible offsetting advantage regarding what American democracy in action displays to others, it is that we will be spared seeing Republicans doing everything possible to frustrate a President Clinton’s ability to govern.  The foreshadowing of such a scenario, had the election result gone the other way, was obvious.  There was much talk of impeachment, which is supposed to be a remedy for high crimes and misdemeanors committed in office, before the target even took office or won an election to the office.  Also, as columnist Richard Cohen observed, Congressman Jason Chaffetz, “the chairman of what amounts to the Permanent Committee to Investigate Hillary (actually, the House Oversight Committee),” was promising before the election to conduct investigations “until the end of time or Fox News loses interest, whichever comes first.”

Perhaps most stunning were the promises, after Republican refusal all year even to consider President Obama’s nominee to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, to block anyone a President Clinton nominated to the court during an entire four-year term.  Such a position not only would have represented a new depth in governmental dysfunction but also a direct assault on the concept of an independent judiciary, which is one of the most important things that separate stable liberal democracies that operate with the rule of law from a lot of other less admirable countries that don’t.  And this talk was coming not from Donald Trump but from the principal runner-up for the Republican nomination (Ted Cruz) and a previous presidential nominee (John McCain).

Of course, being “spared” sabotage and obstruction probably should not be considered an advantage when the alternative is to have the saboteurs running the whole show.

The defacement of American democracy, as well as the xenophobia, both of which are already unavoidably associated with Donald Trump’s presidency before he even takes the oath of office, have multiple and significant consequences for U.S. overseas interests, however difficult it may be to limn precise effects that will appear over the next four years.  The consequences will include degradation of any claim by the United States to leadership of inclusive, liberal democracies.  They also will include weakening of political advantages—especially among disparaged or excluded populations and the governments that lead them—that the United States has traditionally enjoyed as an object of admiration and emulation.  They include a reduction of confidence in, and support for, democracy itself.

Anything that weakens, or threatens to weaken, Americans’ own stable, inclusive democracy ought to be a source of dismay regardless of the repercussions overseas.  But those repercussions are an added reason for the dismay. 

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The Importance of Apolitical Security and Law Enforcement Services

Paul Pillar

If there is any possible offsetting advantage regarding what American democracy in action displays to others, it is that we will be spared seeing Republicans doing everything possible to frustrate a President Clinton’s ability to govern.  The foreshadowing of such a scenario, had the election result gone the other way, was obvious.  There was much talk of impeachment, which is supposed to be a remedy for high crimes and misdemeanors committed in office, before the target even took office or won an election to the office.  Also, as columnist Richard Cohen observed, Congressman Jason Chaffetz, “the chairman of what amounts to the Permanent Committee to Investigate Hillary (actually, the House Oversight Committee),” was promising before the election to conduct investigations “until the end of time or Fox News loses interest, whichever comes first.”

Perhaps most stunning were the promises, after Republican refusal all year even to consider President Obama’s nominee to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court, to block anyone a President Clinton nominated to the court during an entire four-year term.  Such a position not only would have represented a new depth in governmental dysfunction but also a direct assault on the concept of an independent judiciary, which is one of the most important things that separate stable liberal democracies that operate with the rule of law from a lot of other less admirable countries that don’t.  And this talk was coming not from Donald Trump but from the principal runner-up for the Republican nomination (Ted Cruz) and a previous presidential nominee (John McCain).

Of course, being “spared” sabotage and obstruction probably should not be considered an advantage when the alternative is to have the saboteurs running the whole show.

The defacement of American democracy, as well as the xenophobia, both of which are already unavoidably associated with Donald Trump’s presidency before he even takes the oath of office, have multiple and significant consequences for U.S. overseas interests, however difficult it may be to limn precise effects that will appear over the next four years.  The consequences will include degradation of any claim by the United States to leadership of inclusive, liberal democracies.  They also will include weakening of political advantages—especially among disparaged or excluded populations and the governments that lead them—that the United States has traditionally enjoyed as an object of admiration and emulation.  They include a reduction of confidence in, and support for, democracy itself.

Anything that weakens, or threatens to weaken, Americans’ own stable, inclusive democracy ought to be a source of dismay regardless of the repercussions overseas.  But those repercussions are an added reason for the dismay. 

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