In adopting neoconservatism as its grand strategy, the Bush administration took a breathtaking gamble. It broke from the conventional foreign-policy wisdom of both parties, cleaving to an aggressive but idealistic new vision of America's role in the world. The strategy would either succeed spectacularly, touching off the promised domino effect of freedom in the Middle East, or fail spectacularly, forcing a chastened, bloodied withdrawal from Iraq and a signiﬁcantly weakened American hand against other foes.
Presidential hopeful John Kerry seems in many ways the perfect foreign-policy foil to President George W. Bush. Educated partly in Switzerland and fluent in French, Kerry is the son of a diplomat who worked intensively with U.S. allies during the early Cold War. And so Kerry inherited the vision of a world rife with complexity and susceptible to reason--one where the power of diplomacy was an article of faith, even while military solutions couldn't be discounted. Kerry touts a “bold, progressive internationalism” in his foreign-policy speeches, and in his statements on Iraq, he has all but promised a return to the multilateralist, institution-based foreign policy so many Democratic strategists deem vital to U.S. security.
Last Wednesday, a group of 26 former senior diplomats and military
commanders spoke out against the foreign policy of the Bush
administration. Their statement did not explicitly endorse Senator John
Kerry's presidential campaign, but it called for Bush's ouster in
November. The group, which calls itself Diplomats and Military
Commanders for Change, made headlines more than anything for its
bipartisan composition and for its inclusion of career military and
diplomatic officials who specialize in regions of particular strategic
sensitivity. Among the signatories are Charles Freeman, ambassador to
Saudi Arabia under the first President Bush; Stansfield Turner, head of
Six months ago, the question on the lips of most critics of the occupation of Iraq was one that the Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani had posed: Why not hold elections by June 30? At the time, the U.S.–led Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) claimed that it was just not possible. The United Nations agreed. And so all parties settled for an appointed interim government and a January 2005 election date.