Tuesday, March 16, 2004

Kolko: The American elections, the future of alliances and the lessons of Spain: "The Bush Administration, through ineptness and a vague ideology of American power that acknowledges no limits on its global ambitions, and a preference for unilateralist initiatives which discounts consultations with its friends much less the United Nations, has seriously eroded the alliance system upon which U. S. foreign policy from 1947 onwards was based... As dangerous as it is, Bush's reelection may be a lesser evil because he is much more likely to continue the destruction of the alliance system that is so crucial to American power."

"Politicians who place America's imperious demands over national interest have less future than those who are responsive to domestic opinion and needs. The tragedy in Madrid and the defeat of the ruling party in last Sunday's Spanish election is a warning that no politician in or out of power will ignore... This process of alienating traditional close friends is best seen in Australia ... As Alexander Downer, the foreign minister, admitted earlier this month, "it wasn't a time in our history to have a great and historic breach with the United States," and the desire to preserve the alliance became paramount."

"Without accurate information a state can believe and do anything, and this is the predicament the Bush Administration's allies are in. It is simply not to their national interest, much less to their political interests or the security of their people, to pursue foreign policies based on a blind, uncritical acceptance of fictions or flamboyant adventurism premised on false premises and information. It is far too open-ended both in terms of time and political costs. If Bush is reelected, America's allies and friends will have to confront such stark choices, a painful process that will redefine and perhaps shatter existing alliances. Independent, realistic foreign policies are likely to be the outcome, and the dramatic events in Spain over the past days have reinforced this probability. But America will be more prudent and the world will be far safer only if the Bush Administration is constrained by a lack of allies and isolated."

No comments: