Friday :: Dec 8, 2006

Public Rejects Bush's Failed Foreign Policy

by Steve

Graphic courtesy of

David Sanger of the New York Times runs a great piece today pointing out that the Baker/Hamilton report highlights the differences between James Baker’s approach to foreign policy, and how Condi Rice carries out foreign policy for the Bush Administration.

Former Secretary of State James A. Baker III was the architect of the “new diplomatic offensive” in the Middle East that the commission recommended Wednesday as one of its main prescriptions for extracting the country from the mess in Iraq. Ever since, he has been talking on television, to Congress and to Iraqis and foreign diplomats about how he would conduct American foreign policy differently. Very differently.
The United States should engage Iran, Mr. Baker contended, if only to reveal its “rejectionist attitude”; it should try to “flip the Syrians”; and it should begin a renewed quest for peace between Israel and the Palestinians that, he maintained, would help convince Arab moderates that America was not all about invasions and regime change.

Baker’s approach has widespread support according to a new poll, which finds that the American people reject Bush’s foreign policy of putting the threat of military force on the table in an effort to change behavior. The poll also shows that the public supports the Baker/Hamilton recommendations, and wants the US to talk with Iran instead of threatening the country with military action.

Aides to the 52-year-old Ms. Rice say she is acutely aware that there is little percentage in getting into a public argument with Mr. Baker, the 76-year-old architect of the first Bush administration’s Middle East policy. But Thursday, as President Bush gently pushed back against some of Mr. Baker’s recommendations, Ms. Rice’s aides and allies were offering a private defense, saying that she already has a coherent, effective strategy for the region.

A strategy that has utterly failed and is unsupported by the American people.

“They start from completely different places,” said Dennis Ross, the Middle East negotiator who worked for Mr. Baker years ago and left the State Department early in the Bush administration. “Baker approaches everything with a negotiator’s mindset. That doesn’t mean every negotiation leads to a deal, but you engage your adversaries and use your leverage to change their behavior. This administration has never had a negotiator’s mind-set. It divides the world into friends and foes, and the foes are incorrigible and not redeemable. There has been more of an instinct toward regime change than to changing regime behavior.”

Joe Lieberman, Jane Harman, and other “centrist” Democrats along with the rest of the “we’re smarter than the rest of you” crowd of John McCain, and others will continue to back the failing Bush foreign policy in the face of Baker and 41’s counsel without American public support. They do so because they feel they are right and everyone else is wrong, and because they feel blowing off talks with Syria and Iran and concessions with the Palestinians is better for Israel. The Democratic leadership in the House and Senate will have to address why those in their own caucus are enabling the continuing failure of this foreign policy to the detriment of our troops and our national interest.

Steve :: 10:45 AM :: Comments (9) :: Digg It!