John B. Judis
The First Casualty
June 30, 2003
Foreign policy is always difficult in a democracy. Democracy requires openness. Yet foreign policy requires a level of secrecy that frees it from oversight and exposes it to abuse. As a result, Republicans and Democrats have long held that the intelligence agencies--the most clandestine of foreign policy institutions--should be insulated from political interference in much the same way as the higher reaches of the judiciary. As the Tower Commission, established to investigate the Iran-Contra scandal, warned in November 1987, "The democratic processes ...
June 09, 2003
History is not physics. Studying the past does not yield objective laws that can unerringly predict the course of events. But peoples do draw lessons from history and change their behavior accordingly. Western European countries, for instance, took the experience of two world wars as reason to change radically their relations with one another. The United States took the experience of the Great Depression as reason to alter the relationship between government and the market.Historical lessons can also be unlearned or forgotten.
May 19, 2003
Believe it or not, the United States is on the verge of another donnybrook at the U.N. Security Councilthis time over whether to extend the oil- for-food program in Iraq, which expires on June 3. The Bush administration is divided over what to recommend, but conservatives have been strongly urging the Bushies to let the program die.
Blood for Oil
March 31, 2003
Ask pessimists why Iraq will never be a democracy, and they most often cite its ethnic and religious divisions. A post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, they warn, could devolve into an Arab Yugoslavia, with open warfare between the Sunnis, Shia, and Kurds, and with Iran, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia taking sides. Optimists like The New Republic's Lawrence F. Kaplan respond that a federation could manage these divisions.
March 03, 2003
Liberals are no strangers to foreign intervention. Democratic presidents took the United States into two world wars, as well as Korea and Vietnam; Bill Clinton himself sent American forces to Haiti, the Balkans, and Iraq. But, if there was a connection between liberalism at home and intervention abroad, it generally ran from the former to the latter. Liberals believed that by intervening abroad they were spreading or defending liberal values. The Clinton administration's 1996 National Security Strategy, for instance, was based on "enlarging ...
January 27, 2003
Next to nuclear facilities, chemical plants pose the greatest danger in the case of a terrorist attack. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified 123 facilities where an attack could injure or kill more than one million people and 750 other facilities where more than 100,000 people would be threatened. A refinery near Philadelphia, for instance, has 400,000 pounds of hydrogen fluoride on hand, which, if released into the air, can cause blindness; kidney, liver, or lung damage; and even death. Terrorists know this.
Over a Barrel
January 20, 2003
The preferred slogan of those opposed to war with Iraq is "No blood for oil"--an explicit assumption that the Bush administration, dominated by former oilmen, is going to war primarily to secure Iraq's copious reserves for U.S. oil companies. "'Regime change' to a pro-U.S. government would permit the privatization of Iraq's state-controlled oil resources--and a bonanza for U.S. oil companies," warns Miriam Pemberton of Washington's left-wing Institute for Policy Studies. Administration officials, on the other hand, reject any oil connection whatsoever.
December 16, 2002
For decades, Republicans have attacked Democrats' alliance with labor, slamming union "bosses" as corrupt and undemocratic. It's more than a touch ironic, then, that as the Bush administration tries to make political inroads with labor, it continues to favor unions whose recent record on these scores has been particularly problematic. The most notorious of these are the Teamsters, who appear to be currying favor with the administration in the hope that it will lift the Independent Review Board that has overseen the union since 1992 (see "Dirty Deal," April 1 & 8). But, fond as George W.
December 16, 2002
For decades, Republicans have attacked Democrats' alliance with labor, slamming union "bosses" as corrupt and undemocratic. It's more than a touch ironic, then, that as the Bush administration tries to make political inroads with labor, it continues to favor unions whose recent record on these scores has been particularly problematic. The most notorious of these are the Teamsters, who appear to be currying favor with the administration in the hope that it will lift the Independent Review Board that has overseen the union since 1992 (see "Dirty Deal," April 1 %amp% 8). But, fond as George W.
November 18, 2002
Democrats are gradually coalescing around an interpretation of why their party did so poorly. The party, the argument goes, failed to get out its base; and the reason it failed to do so was because it didn't draw a clear enough distinction between its policies and the Republicans'. As former political consultant Paul Begala argued on CNN, "The Democrats didn't fight Bush hard enough on the tax cut, and they didn't campaign on it. They didn't fight him hard enough on the war.