matt yglesias distills something strong

Matt Yglesias has something important to say about the difference between Republican and Democrat foreign policy.

When the GOP sees a regime that’s hostile to the United States and that it is within America’s capacity to topple militarily, they say: “Go for it.” A hostile state always might become an al-Qaeda sponsor, and Republicans think the possibility of state sponsorship of al-Qaeda is very, very, very bad, so it’s worth going way out of our way to make sure it doesn’t happen. Fundamentally, Republicans are eager to overthrow regimes not because they’re democracy-promoting idealists (though some are democracy-promoting idealists, that’s just not the dominant strain of thought) but because they’re very worried about state sponsorship.

The Democratic foreign policy establishment sees this very differently. Democrats worry about failed states. Democrats think al-Qaeda grows — and grows powerful — where institutions of governance break down. Iraq wasn’t governed pleasantly, but it was governed. Hence, Democrats are loathe to destroy a regime unless they’re prepared to put it back together. This makes Democrats more hesitant to overthrow regimes, not because they’re stability-worshipping realists (though, again, some probably are) but because their collective nightmare is more failed states. Democrats take nation-building seriously — too seriously to want to do it more often than is really necessary.

Comments are closed.

Staypressed theme by Themocracy