John Hulsman and Anatol Lieven, Ethical Realism, (Pantheon Press, 2006), 224 pp., $22.00.
Will Marshall, With All Our Might: A Progressive Strategy For Defeating Jihadism and Defending Liberty, (Rowman & Littlefied Publishers, Inc.), 256 pp., $19.95.
I have been reading with great interest the volume on Democratic foreign policy that you edited for the Progressive Policy Institute, With All Our Might: A Progressive Strategy for Defeating Jihadism and Defending Liberty, and I find parts of it admirable. This is especially true of your co-authors' arguments that the Democrats should look to the Truman era for inspiration; on the need for the United States to adopt a far more generous and far-sighted approach to foreign development aid, especially in the Muslim world; and on the absolute imperative of reducing America's dependence on oil, both for security and environmental reasons.
These are all points that John Hulsman and I make in our own book Ethical Realism: A Vision for America's Role in the World, which was published in September. We also identify strongly with Melissa Tryon's argument for a reconciliation between Democrats and military culture.
However, I also have great reservations concerning both many of the details of the strategy that you advocate and its overall thrust. One central problem is that, in my view, you have confused a strategy designed to appeal to the U.S. electorate in the next elections with one designed to defend the vital interests of America in the world. Of course, as a Democratic Party activist you have no choice but to do this in public, but my fear is that you and many of your colleagues genuinely do not understand that many arguments that seem self-evident to Americans are likely to be rejected with scorn by other nations.