Tuesday, October 12, 2004


Security Scholars for a Sensible Foreign Policy

George W. Bush seems to be unable to admit any real mistakes. Of course, everybody (especially on the left) knows this and loves to bring it up as much as possible. Still, these people that bring it up the most are unlikely to have ever supported Bush. So why should Bush care? Why should he admit a mistake, when it would probably give these people even more fuel than his refusal to admit mistakes?

A good example of the negative impact of Bush's refusal to admit mistakes can be found in the open letter that a group called Security Scholars for a Sensible Foreign Policy just released. As Abu Aardvark points out:
Open letters with hundreds of signatures by academics are a dime a dozen. But this is not a list of the usual suspects. These are centrist, moderate, pragmatic foreign policy and security specialists appalled at the Bush administration's reckless, irresponsible, and dishonest foreign policy and deeply concerned about its long term impact on America's leadership role in the world.

This is emphatically not about liberal bias in the academy. If anything unites this list of signatories, it is a professional and personal commitment to a responsible and effective foreign policy. International relations scholars usually can't agree on anything. The field has been deeply divided for decades on matters political and theoretical. This overwhelming consensus among security studies professionals is so rare and so striking that it deserves serious attention.

This is a big deal: pretty much every scholar who has written seriously about international relations and international security in the last four decades agrees on one thing, and one thing only: Bush's foreign policy has been so disastrous that a change in direction is a matter of urgent national and international security (my words, not the open letter's words).
Even I, hardly a security scholar or foreign policy expert, know the names of these signatories. People like Richard Falk, Clifford Geertz, Charles Glaser, Michael Hudson - these are people even I've heard of. And there are about 650 more people on that list.

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