Sunday, September 11, 2005

The French Make the Connection

This 9/11 is even sadder than the first. Not only do we recall the thousands who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks, but this time we also recall the thousands who lost their lives in a natural disaster, and the hundreds of thousands who have had their lives shattered by the disasterous governmental response to Hurricane Katrina.

Both tragic incidents seem years and miles apart, but if one considers both carefully, one will find that there is a connection. France's Le Monde has done a brilliant job in making that connection.

Four years after the attacks of September 11, 2001 which so shook up American foreign policy, will Hurricane Katrina also have a fundamental effect, but in the opposite direction?

It is undoubtedly too early to answer this question, but it is not too early to ask it. Before September 11, George W. Bush advocated a "humble" foreign policy. Afterwards, he launched, dragging his allies with him, a crusade against Middle Eastern dictatorships, believing that the security of the United States would best be defended by the war against terrorism and its offshoots.

The magnitude of the catastrophe in the southern United States, the high number of victims, the clear negligence of the authorities, a negligence often due to a lack of means, all indicate that Katrina could prompt the American public and the administration to rethink their priorities and to return to a policy centered more on domestic problems and the immediate needs of its citizens, including its security needs.
[Emphasis added]

Bush's doctrine of "Pre-emptive War" (fight them over there so we don't have to fight them here) resulted in an outflow of money, troops, and national will that left the domestic front completely unprotected. I, like the writer of the Le Monde editorial, are not suggesting the US hunker down into an isolationist stance, merely that a more rational national policy towards security, a Jeffersonian approach might serve us and the rest of the world better.

All of this argues in favor of a reexamining the relationship between domestic and foreign policy. It will perhaps not take place before the next presidential election in 2008. George W. Bush has too closely linked his fate to an ideologically messianic and militarily interventionist fight against terrorism to imagine changing direction again.

After having spent several years fighting the threat from outside, Americans could be led, under the influence of other leaders, to attack the domestic weaknesses revealed by the forces of nature, so as not to give the rest of the world the image of a superpower that is hiding pockets of the Third World within itself. In other words, the "Jeffersonians" should pick up their heads in the political debate, whether they are traditional Republicans or Democrats.

It would not be a return to any sort of isolationism, which in a globalized world is utterly untenable. But by returning to the principle of "Jeffersonianism," the United States better serves the cause of universal democracy by creating an example to follow rather than by exporting a model.
[Emphasis added]

Exactly right. Now, where are those leaders?


Blogger Eli said...

Leaders? Here?

I don't see any.

Maybe that wacky El Medico Dean, but he only appears sporadically.

7:33 AM  

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