Lieberman's Latest

Courtesy of Sam Boyd, I see the Financial Times reporting on Joe Lieberman's views. Apparently, the Wise One "argued that George W. Bush and the Republican presidential candidates remained truer than the Democratic party to its tradition of a 'moral, internationalist, liberal and hawkish' foreign policy that was established by Presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman and John Kennedy."

This reduction of, say, FDR's understanding of foreign policy to the idea that he was "hawkish" is really insipid. It's true, of course, that FDR responded to the policy environment he faced in a "hawkish" manner but the situation, clearly, was entirely different. Similarly, I entirely agree that Democrats should continue to emulate the Truman-in-Korea (or Bush-in-Kuwait) model of being willing and able to deploy military forces in order to protect foreign countries from conquest. You'd have to be an idiot to draw from the FDR-Truman school of internationalism the simple lesson that a disposition to start wars is a good idea. After all, JFK was "hawkish," too, but Lieberman seems to forget that his act of hawkery in Vietnam turned out to be a huge fiasco, and his foreign policy triumph came during the Cuban Missile Crisis when he wisely rejected the counsels of the preventive war crowd and instead struck a pragmatic deal.

Obviously all-war all-the-time has long been Lieberman's signature contribution to Democratic Party thinking (like Bill Kristol on the other side) but the willingness of others to swallow the idea that the "internationalism" of the liberal tradition amounts simply to a disposition to kill foreigners is really insane. Bush and Lieberman are bloodthirsty they're not internationalists. They've founded no institutions, they've made America despised, they actively seek to undermine international law, and they've brought our relationships with allies -- the ones the real internationalists built -- to unprecedented new lows.