BEINART THE PROGRESSIVE. Odd composition of the panel aside, Baer, Beinart, and Clemons are doing a very good job. Beinart in particular has moved substantially left over the past few years, and now says things like, "What separates conservatives and progressives is the recognition that America's pathologies can threaten the rest of the world just as their pathologies can harm us. Interdependence is reciprocal. If other countries owe us more, than we owe them more. If you don't recognize the second part of that equation, than you are, indeed, in some ways, an empire." From there, he moved towards a full-throated defense of international institutions in their oft-loathed role as shackles on American autonomy. "The great triumph of the institutions built during after the Iraq War was that they constrained our power. By giving weaker nations some influence over our power, we make our power legitimate."
A few years ago, it would have been inconceivable that Beinart would be anchoring a YearlyKos panel on a progressive foreign policy. Now, he's not only do it, but he's doing it from within progressivism, rather than as a critic of the crowd's opinions. The degree of convergence among the intellectuals in the foreign policy left in recent years is quite impressive, even if it's not been quite as much in evidence within the class of foreign policy experts who advise Democratic candidates.