Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Liberal hawks

Writing in The Nation, Anatol Lieven takes on the "liberal hawks" in a review of George Packer's newish book, The Fight Is for Democracy, and in the process revisits what will be at the core of Kerry's foreign policy, should he be elected -- the PPI's guidance paper, "Progressive Internationalism: A Democratic National Security Strategy."

"It is true that the vision of the Democratic 'progressive internationalists' differs from that of the American nationalist right on a range of other vital international issues, including the environment, foreign aid and various international treaties," Lieven observes. "And if actually implemented--a quite dubious possibility, given the past record of the Democratic Party in Congress with regard to these issues--such policies would not only be very good in themselves but would go far toward improving the entire atmosphere of relations between the United States and Western Europe in particular. However, when it comes to the specific issues of the conduct of the war on terrorism, and the use of force to improve the world, the 'progressive internationalists' present no real alternative to Bush Administration policies. Rather, like the neoconservatives, they represent a form of liberal imperialism, of a kind that characterized much of the liberal scene in America and Europe a century ago."

True enough. Also check out Ed Herman's review of the Packer book, which treads much the same water as Lieven's. Herman, though, is much harsher on the liberals.