The Muscular Wilsonians: What do They Believe?

Click to Listen to the Show (24 MB MP3)

I keep thinking, listening to how Republicans support the use of force in the service of freedom, about the Dayton Agreement, the conference in 1995 that determined the shape and security of what used to be Yugoslavia. Clearly the Democrats don’t shy away from the use of force, and they don’t shy away from nation-building (wasn’t that an issue during the 2000 election?), yet now the GOP has grabbed the idea of championing freedom.

So the question is, how do we definine a Democratic foreign policy? Do we have to wait another year and a half for Kerry to say something definitive? Is there an ism? Or does there have to be an ism, when the Democratic party is leaning on the legacies of Wilson, Kennedy and Clinton? Where are you, Richard Holbrooke?

Extra Credit Reading

Peter Beinart, Can the Democrats Fight? Cold War Lessons for Reclaiming Trust on National Security The Washington Post, December 2004

Marshall Wittman, Calling Scoop, Bull Moose Blog, October 2004

Scoop Jackson, Wikipedia article

The Dayton Agreement, Wikipedia article

Ari Berman, The Strategic Class, The Nation, August 2005

The Democratic Party, a list of press releases on foreign policy that seem only to respond to Republican actions

(via RichardNash) Paul Berman, Power and the Idealists: Or, the Passion of Joschka Fischer and Its Aftermath

Update, 11/02 2:03 pm

Forget the Republicans. Peter Beinart writes about Democrats, ‘To the contrary, key organizations, echoing Wallace, see liberalism’s enemies almost exclusively on the right.’ And the posts so far bear him out. … So, here is my challenge: carry on the discussion without once referring to the Republicans. Answer instead the questions: What is the threat? What should be done? And why?

Raymond, from a comment on this post

David Rieff

Senior Fellow, World Policy Institute, The New School

Contributing Editor, The New Republic

See TPMCafe‘s America Abroad for his dissent on Wilsonianism

Steve Clemons

Senior Fellow, The New America Foundation

Writes The Washington Note


Samantha Power

Professor of Practice in Public Policy, Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University

Related Content