Fearing Rudy

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One thing I'm wrestling with is finding a way to convey how terrified I am of the prospect of a Rudy Giuliani presidency in terms of its impact on our foreign policy. The Bush administration has been so bad, and characters like Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson so absurd, that I think it's hard for a lot of people to seriously credit the notion that Giuliani would represent a quantum leap of lunacy and just the time when the country desperately needs a clean break and a lurch in the other direction. Josh Marshall tries to get at some of this here:

But the danger of phoniness, aesthetic or otherwise, cannot hold a candle to the truly catastrophic foreign policy Giuliani would likely pursue if he got anywhere near the Oval Office. Watching him campaign it's pretty clear that the guy has no real sense that posturing and pandering to ethnic paranoia in New York City simply isn't the same as running a national foreign policy. The people he's coalescing around himself as his foreign policy advisors are the ones who are going to help him learn as he goes. And they are simply the most dangerous, deranged and deluded folks you can find in American political and foreign policy circles today.

That's right. And, of course, there's a nexus here as a disproportionately large quantity of Giuliani's advisors spent years before 9/11 toiling away in semi-obscurity with their stock-in-trade being precisely fostering a climate of ethnic paranoia and then exploiting it -- offering up lurid tales of the perfidy of the Arab and of Muslim infiltration of American society. Another way of thinking about it is that the "a squad" of neoconservative foreign policymaking has basically been discredited by their conduct inside the Bush administration, so Giuliani, in reaching for the non-discredited, has wound up just reaching into the deep bench rather than trying to find anyone with sounder views. It seems to me that he almost certainly won't win, but if he does I think we may all wind up nostalgic for the Doug Feith Era.

UPDATE: Check out the latest TPM TV epsidode that runs down Giuliani's advisory team. The part where Daniel Pipes calls on Israel to raize more Palestinian villages is especially sweet.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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