Giuliani’s loopy foreign-policy essay

17 08 2007

rudolph guliani

Fred Kaplan in Slate

Rudy Giuliani’s essay in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs, laying out his ideas for a new U.S. foreign policy, is one of the shallowest articles of its kind I’ve ever read. Had it been written for a freshman course on international relations, it would deserve at best a C-minus (with a concerned note to come see the professor as soon as possible). That it was written by a man who wants to be president—and who recently said that he understands the terrorist threat “better than anyone else running”—is either the stuff of high satire or cause to consider moving to, or out of, the country.

The article contains so many bizarre statements, it’s hard to know where to start, so let’s begin at the beginning and go from there.

“Confronted with an act of war on American soil, our old assumptions about conflict between nation-states fell away.”

Why? The biggest worry about al-Qaida after 9/11 was that it had essentially taken over a nation-state, Afghanistan. Giuliani’s (and President George W. Bush’s) stated fear now is that it might take over Iraq. The rise of transnational terrorist movements adds a twist to the system of nation-states but hardly supersedes it or nullifies the main assumptions about conflict. Giuliani contradicts his own point halfway into the essay when he writes, “There is no realistic alternative to the sovereign state system.”

More here

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