The Democrats' Kosovo Problem

June 28, 2007 Topic: DefenseSecurity Region: Balkan PeninsulaEurope Tags: Unilateralism

The Democrats' Kosovo Problem

Will Democrats embrace ad hoc coalitions of the willing to avoid the dreaded sin of unilateralism?

A constant critique of the Bush Administration advanced by Democratic presidential candidates and their foreign policy advisers, not to mention "blue-affiliated" pundits and think-tank experts, is "unilateralism."

Take Senator Hillary Clinton's defining foreign policy speech of last October. (A speech, on a separate note, where she favorably mentioned the work of Anatol Lieven and John Hulsman in developing the concepts of " ethical realism.")

She said:

We can turn our back on international institutions, or we can modernize and revitalize them, and when needed get about the hard work of creating new ones. . . .

We got it drastically wrong when a small group of ideologues decided we didn't need those institutions, or alliances, or diplomacy or even the respect of other nations.

A standard refrain now heard is that President Bush went to war with only a cosmetic "coalition of the willing"-without a specific mandate from the UN Security Council or even the legitimizing cover of a major regional international body or grouping (in contrast, say, to Ronald Reagan having a formal request from the Organization of East Caribbean States for the United States to intervene to restore order on Grenada in 1983). Democrats proclaim that they, in contrast, will work with others-the United Nations, allies, partners-so as to avoid the dreaded sin of "unilateralism.". . . .


To read the rest of this blog post, click here or visit The Washington Realist, Nikolas Gvosdev's blog.