Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 15, 2003
By: Kevin Drum

THOSE EURO-LOVING BUSHIES....I've been meaning to congratulate Windy City bloggers Jacob Levy and Dan Drezner for landing monthly columns at The New Republic Online, so let me take the opportunity right now. It's good to see smart bloggers get recognized, although I hope this doesn't mean that we will be losing Dan to the insidious clutches of the Volokh Conspiracy anytime soon.

Of course, it also doesn't mean they should expect to be treated with, you know, any more respect than in the past. Take Dan's inaugural column, for example. He has taken on the contrarian task of trying to show that the Bush administration is really a pretty friendly, multilateral group. They've just gotten a bum rap.

Sure, they trashed Kyoto, and they bad-mouthed the International Criminal Court even after the Europeans made Herculean efforts to accomodate our concerns, and of course there was the whole deal with unilaterally pulling out of the ABM treaty. Oh, and they never bother consulting with our allies either. "What more evidence does the world need of the administration's disregard for it?" Dan asks.

But maybe things look better if we show all the good stuff the Bush administration has done. Like invading Afghanistan but without complaint from anyone else! And setting up steel and agricultural tariffs but only as a crass political maneuver so we could do all sorts of good stuff, um, later. And writing documents that say we love our allies. And ignoring areas like the Balkans that we don't care about and letting the Europeans take the lead there. And, as Dan himself puts it, "threatening to act in a unilateral manner if it doesn't get most of what it wants through multilateral institutions."

Sorry, what was that argument again?

Call me unconvinced. It's true that we haven't abrogated every single treaty we're part of, but the fact that an alcoholic drives drunk only a few times a years and drives sober the rest of the time doesn't make him any less a drunk driver or one to be feared. At the risk of stating the obvious, acting multilaterally when it works in our favor and refusing to when it doesn't well, that doesn't really count as multilateral, does it?

Kevin Drum 3:12 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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