Since we have copious amounts of reading this week, I thought I'd start off with Kristol and Kagan's fluff essay, in the hopes that its elementary arguments would warm up my mind for the tougher articles ahead. It didn't disappoint. I have a lot of problems with the things they write, but for blogging purposes I'll just stick to two things: the morality in foreign policy stance and defense spending.
This article was written in the mid 90's and according to K&K the US was not spending enough on defense. They admit that the US is spending more on defense than the next 4 biggest spending countries combined, but they say that we need to spend more. Well, what exactly should we buy K&K? F-22s? DDxs? JSFs? Or none of the above? K&K don't say. These weapon systems certainly wouldn't help us fight terrorism. Also, K&K take a lot of time to bash Clinton's military, but it was his military that defeated the Taliban and Saddam.
Morality in Foreign Policy
Seriously? You're going to offer up Reagan as a man who put morality in in foreign policy? This is the same guy who gave tacit support to apartheid, and under whom Iran Contra occured, right? This article was also written after the Rwandan genocide and I don't remember The Weekly Standard encouraging American involvement there.
Second, no doubt K&K were instrumental in forming the foreign policy ideology of the current Bush administration, yet I don't see any consistent form of morality in their foreign policy. While Bush states that "liberty is a God-given right" and that Iran, North Korea, and Syria must become democratic, yet he doesn't threaten Saudia Arabia, Jordan, Pakistan, Egypt (US gives them 2nd most aid of any country after Israel), or Morroco because they are our allies. They talk like morals guide their FP, but they are more like opportunistic realists (Layne calls them offensive realists--on page 96-- but I don't find that entirely accurate). Talk of liberty only seems to apply where applicable.
Finally, it is wrong to believe in American exceptionalism. We are fallible, therefore prone to mistakes. It is arrogant to assume that we should be the ones that set the global agenda; however, it would be less arrogant if we at least were more consistent and less hypocritical in our FP.