Rethinking the Strategy

June 1, 2004 Tags: BalkansDiplomacy

Rethinking the Strategy

Mini Teaser: In order to deal effectively with America's predicament in Iraq, it is essential to understand that we had begun to walk down the road to Baghdad long before September 11, indeed, quite before the Bush Administration came to power.

by Author(s): Dimitri K. Simes

Accordingly, we should--being true to our American heritage--encourage freedom worldwide, but we should stop the export of democracy which puts the United States on a collision course with most of the world, interferes with the sovereignty of other nations and complicates our War on Terror and the proliferation of WMD. In that context, we should reject misguided and dangerous suggestions to replace our unilateralism in Iraq with some kind of "alliance of democracies" which allegedly would provide international legitimacy to our meddling in the affairs of other states and whole regions, even absent vital U.S. interests. Such an alliance--even in the unlikely case that it could be organized--would pit the United States and its associates against not just nations with which we currently have problems (such as North Korea or Iran), but even states such as China, Russia, Pakistan, the Central Asian nations and much of the Arab world, including the Gulf states. And these are countries which are indispensable in ensuring U.S. security against terrorism, stemming the proliferation of WMD, combating the spread of narcotics, and some are even critical to America's strategy of energy diversification.

An "alliance of democracies" is a code word for a new pro-democracy crusade. But the problem with crusades throughout history has not been that they were poorly organized on a tactical level, but rather, that they were strategically unsound and morally flawed. Crusades are bound to create a powerful backlash against their proponents and have forced the crusading nations to sacrifice many of their other priorities and indeed principles. In the post-9/11 world, this is a luxury the United States can ill afford, and this is a luxury that the American people, if they were told the truth, would not support.

Essay Types: Essay