Cheat-Seeking Missles

Sunday, March 11, 2007

So What's Your Solution, Paleo-Lib?

Tony Smith, a warper of young minds at Tufts -- I know this because he authored a book called "A Pact With the Devil: Washington's Bid for World Supremacy and the Betrayal of the American Promise" (ranked #84,137 on Amazon) -- must see himself as a Paleo-Lib because he's pretty mad at those he calls the Neo-Libs.

Writing in today's WaPo, Smith chides the Neo-Libs for continuing to cling to the quaint idea that new enemies demand new tactics. He's mad at the Democratic Leadership Council and the Progressive Policy Institute for attacking Bush's execution of the war without attacking also the premise of the war.

This not a fringe group of the Dems, Smith tells us,

Many prominent Democrats are PPI stalwarts, including Sens. Joseph R. Biden
Jr., Evan Bayh, Thomas R. Carper and Hillary Rodham Clinton. Rep. Rahm Emanuel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, published a book last year, "The Plan: Big Ideas for America," co-authored by Bruce Reed, editor of the PPI's magazine Blueprint and president of the DLC.

... Not a word in their book appears hostile to the idea of invading Iraq. Instead, the authors fault Bush for allowing a "troop gap" to develop (they favor increasing the Army by 100,000 and expanding the Marines and Special Forces) and for failing to "enlist our allies in a common mission." The message once again is that Democrats could do it better.
Smith even says there are more Neo-Libs than Neo-Cons, and from this specious claim he draws a sound conclusion: It'll be tough going for the Dems in 2008 and beyond because they can't articulate a common party line on the future of America. Some want a robust defense, some want a limp-wristed isolationism.

Smith is speaking for the limp-wristed isolationists, the Paleo-Libs. I read with whetted excitement as he laid out his criticism of everyone else, figuring he'd tie it up with a pretty bow and give us the Paleo-Lib solution. But limp-wrist that he is, his is all he offered, his grand conclusion:

It isn't easy to offer a true alternative. The challenges to world order are many, as are the influential special interests in this country that want an aggressive policy: globalizing corporations, the military-industrial complex, the pro-Israel lobbies, those who covet Middle Eastern oil. The nationalist conviction that we are indeed "the indispensable nation" will continue to tempt our leaders to overplay their hand. The danger lies in believing that our power is beyond challenge, that the righteousness of our goals is beyond question and that the real task is not to reformulate our role in the world so much as to assert more effectively a global American peace.
Everything that's happened since Hezbollah, with Iranian assistance, bombed the Marine barracks in Beirut is summed up by Smith as "the challenges to world order are many" -- hardly sound recognition of the threat posed by Islamofascism.

All he can do is recite the tired old boogeymen, the Israel lobby, Big Oil, and OMG, there's the good old military-industrial complex. He has no ideas, no framework, nothing to offer that would secure America without war.

So he's right. It's going to be tough on the Dems as long as the party is split between Neos and Paleos, those who are trying to defend America withing the DNC context and those who care so little about America that defense is a nasty word, just as nasty as preemption.

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