Monday, July 11, 2005

No More Foreign Policy

I'm betting that this article in yesterday's Los Angeles Times escaped your notice, Bush. It's by Britisher Timonthy Garton Ash (I nearly said "fellow Britisher," but then I remembered I'm not technically British any more: I just feel that way, and frankly a lot more frequently since you took office) in response to the London bombngs last week. He argues--and I agree with him--that the rhetoric of "war" is inappropriate in what's happening with the terrorists, and that they can't be fought by armies, as you are trying to do in Iraq, with disastrous results.

These terrorist acts, Garton Ash argues, are rightly described by the London authorities as "crimes," and are best addressed not by armies but by good policing--both before and after such attacks. This may explain why your war in Iraq remains obstinately ineffective, if its intention is (now, it seems) to combat terrorism: far from defeating the plague, it has served only to multiply the number of actual and potential terrorists exponentially, along with the sources of motivation for their dreadful acts.

But it's Garton Ash's conclusion that impressed me most: "These days," he writes, "events that happen far away, in Khartoum or Kandahar, affect us directly--sometimes fatally--as we commute to work, sitting in the underground train between Kings Cross and Russell Square." His conclusion? "There is no such thing as foreign policy anymore." By which I take him to mean precisely what I've been trying to persuade you of, these past few days particularly: the only sane and viable policy, in the face of current realities, is a global policy. "America first" won't hack it--not on any front--in what you yourself so frequently refer to as the post-9/11 world.

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