Phoenix Initiative

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When I found out that the Center for a New American Security had a project under way called the "Phoenix Initiative" I was naturally concerned. Is the Democratic Party foreign policy establishment really so crazy as to call for the destruction of the star D'Bari despite the inevitable conflict that will cause with the Shi'ar Empire? Call me an appeaser if you must, but that doesn't sound like a very good idea to me.

The good news is that based on their report, "Strategic Leadership: Framework for a 21st Century National Security Strategy", I don't think they're actually going to go in that direction. The documents authors are listed as Anne-Marie Slaughter, Bruce W. Jentleson, Ivo H. Daalder, Antony J. Blinken, Lael Brainard, Kurt M. Campbell, Michael A. McFaul, James C. O’Brien, Gayle E. Smith and James B. Steinberg but my understanding is that Susan Rice was also involved at one point before dropping out because she's so closely involved with the Obama campaign. Thus, it probably gives you a rough sense of what kinds of things an Obama administration foreign policy team will call for.

This is, naturally, not a wildly different document from other things you've heard from the big names of the foreign policy center-left but it does include a few noteworthy (and welcome) points, like:

The Iraq war is failing not just because it has been poorly executed. Even in the case of Saddam’s heinous regime, the core objective of overthrowing
one government and forcibly creating a new one in its place was fundamentally and fatally flawed.

It's music to my ears to see the thesis of "The Incompetence Dodge" adopted as quasi-official doctrine by the Democratic establishment. Similarly, "enunciating or embracing a doctrine of preventive war is unnecessary and counterproductive."

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

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