Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Future of the Left (Foreign Policy edition)

Following up on the last post, I wanted to link to some great articles that are attempting to define the future of the Left/liberal project. Since the election night drubbing, it has seemed an essential question to ponder, albeit a difficult one with no right answers. I know that these are dark times, as it is hard to even pick up the newspaper knowing that you will read about more attacks on Social Security, women's choice, gays, liberals and anyone else who does not fall lockstep with this administration and their conservative allies. But, it is also not the time to stay down, to concede defeat, to get counted out, as getting up from a drubbing is the ultimate act. It is in the dark times that we figure out who really has the strength, the courage, the fucking backbone to stand up and lead.

We must see what went wrong, how we can gain back power, and ultimately what matters the most to us. I am going to begin with those contemplating the United States and its foreign policy, an essential issue in this post-September 11th world that hurt Kerry the most. Are Democrats perceived as weak on security, or do they just not provide a clear althernative to Republican aggression?

First up, read this essential piece by Peter Beinart, written in The New Republic in the aftermath of the November election, called "A Fighting Faith: An Argument for a New Liberalism". I am sure that most of you have read this, but it wouldn't hurt to look again. Here, here, here, here and here are some of the interesting responses, which attempt to determine the course of a liberal foreign policy in the age of terrorism.

In a similar vein, the editors of the American Prospect have an essay out this month on a foreign policy that makes us safer and upholds our core values, called "Liberal Use of Power". I think that it is a brilliant piece, attempting to straddle the line between pragmatism and idealism to create a safer, more democratic world. Their mix of liberalism and realism serves as a recipe to fight against terrorists and Islamic extremism, while also fighting for big ideas like democracy and human rights.

Finally, I want to direct you to a wonderful discussion in the pages of Dissent magazine, the most important political journal around. Suzanne Nossel lays out the situation America faces in the world before the election, and what needs to be done regardless of the winner of said election in the next term. Mitchell Cohen, Stanley Hoffmann, and Anne-Marie Slaughter respond. Finally, Nossel ends the debate.

I would imagine that one can sense my affinity for the liberal hawk ideal, but I hope that those who think othewise will direct us to great arguments coming out of the dove, Howard Dean camp. I know that they exist, but I have not come up with too many definitive statements.

These pieces appeal to my pseudo-intellectual heart, as they attempt to think big thoughts. I know that many will argue now is not the time for debate and intellectual masturbation, but I disagree. Sure, they won't get anyone elected, or lead to a snappy ad. But, they do remind us of what we are fighting, and what sort of world we want to live in. More to come, probably on the domestic side. Don't worry, though, as this is only a brief respite from Philly, music, cities and my usual topics. I will occasionally try to direct you to people who are doing big things in the political world, however, and I hope that you will do the same if something catches your eye (comments section, people!)

No comments: