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View Diary: KOS member gets secret hidden agenda FOI doc on draft -- Posted on Rock the Vote Blog (145 comments)

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  •  I see zero corrollary to Kosovo. (none)
    Kerry's NO-DRAFT PLAN and competent diplomacy will solve this without a draft, as the Democrats did in Kosovo.

    Depends on what you mean by "solve."  What are the range of scenarios if we just pull out?  Maintain current troop levels?  Increase them?  

    I agree with Sy Hersh and Howard Dean that what we have gotten ourselves into this time is much worse than Vietnam.  Think Cambodia only larger, with anti-western religious fundamentalists pouring in to find a haven and launching pad, and in possession of a large quantity of one of the basic resources that makes our modern world go round.

    Kerry and his advisors aren't talking about solving -- they're talking about "winning"  -- (Holbrooke even fairly recently said that we lost in Vietnam because we didn't expend the necessary resources to win) and to this old woman's ears this sounds just like Nixon in 1968.  

    •  This article by Josh Marshall is the best one to (none)
      explain this:

      In the Balkans, Holbrooke, Clark, and other leading figures found themselves confronting problems that required not only American military force but also a careful synthesis of armed power, peacekeeping capacity, international institutions, and nongovernmental organizations to stabilize the region and maintain some kind of order. Though the former Yugoslavia has continued to experience strife, the settlement in the Balkans remains the most successful one in recent memory, and offers the model on which a Kerry Administration would probably build. As Holbrooke told me, the Bush Administration's actions in Iraq have shown that the Administration understands only the military component of this model: "Most of them don't have a real understanding of what it takes to do nation-building, which is an important part of the overall democratic process."

      A key assumption shared by almost all Democratic foreign-policy hands is that by themselves the violent overthrow of a government and the initiation of radical change from above almost never foster democracy, an expanded civil society, or greater openness. "If you have too much change too quickly," Winer says, "you have violence and repression. We don't want to see violence and repression in [the Middle East]. We want to see a greater zone for civilization--a greater zone for personal and private-sector activity and for governmental activity that is not an enactment of violence." Bush and his advisers have spoken eloquently about democratization. But in the view of their Democratic counterparts, their means of pursuing it are plainly counterproductive. It is here, Holbrooke says, that the Administration's alleged belief in the stabilizing role of liberal democracy and open society collides with its belief in the need to rule by force and, if necessary, violence: "The neoconservatives and the conservatives--and they both exist in uneasy tension within this Administration--shift unpredictably between advocacy of democratization and advocacy of neo-imperialism without any coherent intellectual position, except the importance of the use of force."

      Because Afghanistan was the Bush Administration's first order of business following the 9/11 attacks, the results of this policy have advanced the furthest there. And because Kerry is on record as saying he would increase the number of U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan, it's probably the clearest measure of how a Kerry Administration would differ from Bush's. Afghanistan is a subject that Kerry's advisers and other senior Democrats turn to again and again. When I interviewed Joseph Biden in late March, he recounted a conversation he'd had with Condoleezza Rice in the spring of 2002 about the growing instability that had taken hold after the Taliban was defeated, in late 2001. Biden told Rice he believed that the United States was on the verge of squandering its military victory by allowing the country to slip back into the corruption, tyranny, and chaos that had originally paved the way for Taliban rule. Rice was uncomprehending. "What do you mean?" he remembers her asking. Biden pointed to the re-emergence in western Afghanistan of Ismail Khan, the pre-Taliban warlord in Herat who quickly reclaimed power after the American victory. He told me: "She said, 'Look, al-Qaeda's not there. The Taliban's not there. There's security there.' I said, 'You mean turning it over to the warlords?' She said, 'Yeah, it's always been that way.'"

      Biden was seeking to illustrate the blind spot that Democratic foreign-policy types see in Bush officials like Rice, who believe that if a rogue state has been rid of its hostile government (in this case the Taliban), its threat has therefore been neutralized. Democrats see Afghanistan as an affirmation of their own view of modern terrorism. As Fareed Zakaria noted recently in Newsweek , the Taliban regime was not so much a state sponsoring and directing a terrorist organization (the Republican view) as a terrorist organization sponsoring, guiding, and even hijacking a state (the Democratic view). Overthrowing regimes like that is at best only the first step in denying safe haven to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. Equally important is creating the institutional bases of stability and liberalization that will prevent another descent into lawlessness and terror--in a word, nation-building.

      This marriage of power and values is the essence of the foreign-policy vision espoused by leading Democratic thinkers. Out of political caution Kerry's campaign advisers still tend to seek the safety of a Scowcroftian middle ground, but the foreign-policy advisers who would serve President Kerry have quite a different vision--much more ambitious and expansive than anything pursued by the first Bush Administration. In my interviews with the people around Kerry, it became clear how this Democratic world view would apply to some of the major problem areas in the world. For example, Kerry Democrats do not believe that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the cause of Middle East instability and extremism. But they do believe that almost nothing the United States does to liberalize and pacify the region can have much chance of success so long as the standoff on the West Bank remains unresolved.

      This is another area of disagreement between Bush and Kerry. Before the war Bush Administration hawks said that the road to Middle East peace ran through Baghdad. They meant that deposing Saddam Hussein would ease negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians. This claim was based on three beliefs: that ousting Saddam would remove a threat to the Israelis, making them more willing to accommodate; that regime change in Iraq would deprive Palestinians of a potential ally; and that building a modern democracy in the heart of the Middle East would blunt persistent doubts about U.S. intentions--doubts that had hampered previous efforts. Today that vision looks increasingly improbable, and Kerry's team believes it is deeply misguided.

      The Kerry team's plan for handling the looming crises in North Korea and Iran is similarly distinct from the Bush Administration's, principally in its willingness to seek a negotiated settlement in each case. Whether such settlements can be achieved is debatable. But the approach is a marked departure from that of the Bush Administration, which has been unwilling to negotiate with the North Koreans but equally unwilling to risk using force--the only serious alternative to some sort of agreement.

      On Iraq, Kerry's policy is more obscure, in part because, as his advisers point out, they simply don't know what the country will look like next January--and the possibilities are becoming ever more limited in light of the worsening state of affairs there. But Kerry's top advisers make clear that their main priorities would be internationalizing the occupation and adopting a broader regional approach to stabilizing the country. As the situation deteriorated throughout the spring, Bush grudgingly embraced several policy alternatives long advocated by his critics, including Kerry--such as increasing the number of troops in the country and creating a substantially larger role for the United Nations. But Kerry's advisers argue that the Bush team is simply too invested in ideology and too compromised by its mistakes in Iraq ever to truly make the right decisions. Some allies simply distrust the Administration too much to lend a hand. Only a new Administration, they argue, can make the clean break that America needs in Iraq.

    •  You don't really think Kerry (none)
      means the same thing by "winning" as Nixon (and the Swift Lying Liars for Lying Liar Bushit) do you?

      Sometimes the way to win is to stay out.  Sometimes, get out.  Kerry has indicated he isn't about staying in Iraq longer than absolutely necessary.  (At the same time, he has to avoid being accused of "cut and run" -- else he'll have to point to Reagan's turning tail and running from Lebanon.)

      A lie is halfway around the world before the truth can get its shoes on -- Mark Twain

      by jnagarya2 on Sun Oct 10, 2004 at 06:48:06 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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