The Doctrine of Fakism
Have you heard the news? The foreign policy realists are here. No more of that silly worldview stuff for us. On Tuesday, during her Senate confirmation hearing, Hillary Clinton set the record straight:
The President-Elect and I believe that foreign policy must be based on a marriage of principles and pragmatism, not rigid ideology. On facts and evidence, not emotion or prejudice. Our security, our vitality, and our ability to lead in today’s world oblige us to recognize the overwhelming fact of our interdependence.
“Interdependence” played a big role in
The President-Elect has made it clear that in the Obama Administration there will be no doubt about the leading role of diplomacy. One need only look to
But the real star of the show was “smart power”:
We must use what has been called “smart power,” the full range of tools at our disposal — diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal, and cultural — picking the right tool, or combination of tools, for each situation. With smart power, diplomacy will be the vanguard of foreign policy.”
In a planned attack of simultaneous “cooperative engagement,” John Kerry supported Hillary’s new realism with an opinion piece in Tuesday’s Boston Globe. Kerry wrapped up as follows:
The common element in this formula for a new foreign policy is replacing military solutions and unilateral action with diplomacy and multi-national consensus. Clinton’s work on the Armed Services Committee, her lifetime of public service, and her global stature have prepared her well to help pave this new road for American leadership.
Interdependence, diplomacy, cooperative engagement, multi-national consensus, “replacing military solutions.” If these are to be the hallmarks of a new foreign policy, how strange that on the very same day that Hillary Clinton spoke to the Senate about the sensible employment of “smart power” against Iran, and John Kerry wrote about enhancing “the ability of US diplomats to play the leading role in solving” global problems, Vice President-elect Joe Biden was in Iraq reassuring leadership in Baghdad that “the new administration will stick to the timetable in the [U.S.- Iraq status of forces] agreement,” and keep American troops in Iraq for at least three more years, if not much longer.
And how un-diplomatic was Joe Biden’s message of the following day. He told Barack Obama that things in
That’s because the most distinguishing feature of the new mushy realism is that it’s shamelessly fake. Hillary Clinton couldn’t possibly believe that, “The best way to advance
The Bush Doctrine is alive and well. This is because George W. Bush was not, as
What’s so bad about the doctrine of Fakism, some might ask. Are Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton not merely speaking softly and carrying big sticks? After all, even most of President Bush’s fans agree that his gunfight slang probably did more harm than good. If bold Bush policy has now been complimented by better PR, hasn’t the one sorely missing piece fallen into place?
Not exactly. If you enter into a contract with your leaders whereby you agree to be lied to, where is the accountability? Signing off on a government whose preferred mode of domestic communication is one big wink leaves you very little room to complain down the line. When can you say, “Alright, knock it off, you did something I don’t like,” if your leaders have already made it clear that what they do need not connect to what they say. And on what grounds would you trust their pledges to change course?
We are about to come under the governance of an administration that promises the end to wars it is simultaneously extending or ramping up, and that pretends it will keep doomsday weapons out of the hands of madmen by persuasion. Words matter. Until they don’t – wink wink.