Joe Bidens

Joe Bidens syn på omvärlden nedan kan vara värd att läsa. Speciellt som han troligen får rollen som främsta utrikespolitiska rådgivare. Räkna med fler ’liberala’ amerikanska interventioner i världen.

MotherJones Blog: Biden’s Worldview

Biden’s Worldview

Barack Obama’s pick for his running mate Sen. Joseph Biden
(D-Delaware) chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and has a
more than three decade track record in the Senate on foreign policy and
national security issues. I asked a former Senate Foreign Relations
committee staff member of his about Biden’s worldview and foreign
policy sensibilities. ”Liberal interventionist,” says the former Biden
staffer, who asked to speak on background, comfortable with the use of
American miliary power, in some contrast perhaps to Obama’s inner
circle of foreign policy advisors. Here’s more of the former staffer’s

Joe Biden firmly fits into the liberal interventionist
school of thought that dominated the Democratic Party during the latter
half of the 1990s through 2003. At his core, he is a man comfortable
with the use of American military power, as demonstrated by the key
role he played in encouraging the Clinton Administration to launch air
strikes in the former Yugoslavia, setting the stage for the successful
Dayton peace talks and the NATO peacekeeping mission. Biden came of age
politically in the 1970’s, when he saw first hand what the “Vietnam
syndrome” did to the Democratic Party for more than a generation. By no
means is Biden a ”Scoop Jackson” Democrat, as Joe Lieberman has become.
He recognizes that military power is but only one tool in our nation’s
arsenal, and that soft power plays an equally critical role. However,
he is not afraid to advocate for military power where appropriate, as
he did correctly in the Balkans, to his regret in Iraq in 2002, and
today when it comes to Darfur (the judgment remains out on that score).

Obama’s worldview, by contrast, appears to be a work still
in progress. In his speeches and writings, Obama has made clear that he
is not afraid to exercise the ultimate powers of the Commander in
Chief. Indeed, he drew criticism from all sides in the summer of 2007
when he advocated the unilateral use of American military force to go
after Al Qaeda in Pakistan if Islamabad would not do the job itself.
Yet the fact remains that Obama came of age politically this decade,
when we all witnessed the disastrous results of a hasty and ill-thought
U.S. military intervention. One cannot deny that this experience will
have influenced Obama’s thinking when he faces the decision on a future
U.S. military intervention.

As such, in an Obama Administration, Biden – and the legion
of current and former foreign policy staffers he will bring into the
Administration – will provide a healthy counterpoint to those advisors
closest to Obama. A number of Democrats are concerned by the fact that
his two leading senior foreign policy advisors are Tony Lake and Susan
Rice. Lake was a disaster as NSC Advisor and Rice had mixed reviews as
the leading Africa policy maker in the Clinton Administration,
especially in her role leading the U.S. response to Rwanda. Both
individuals don’t seem as comfortable with the use of military force as
people in the Biden orbit, which include Richard Holbrooke, Jamie
Rubin, and Tony Blinken.

I think this tension will be productive and healthy. But it
will be interesting to see whether, after eight years of an
Administration split into warring camps, e.g. the Cheney camp vs. the
Powell/Rice camp, we see another replay of internal tension regarding
foreign policy in the next Administration, only this time it may well
be Lake/Rice vs. Biden/Holbrooke, perhaps.

One more note: Biden unequivocally believes America is a
force for good in the world. In this respect, his view dovetails with
those liberal interventionists like Paul Berman and George Packer. He
carries this belief to the core of his heart. I think Obama also shares
this view, but it is less derived from passion and gut and more of an
intellectual belief. Obama brings a uniquely multi-cultural
perspective, and he has lived in places where America is not seen as
the good guys. We’ll see how this plays out in an Obama Administration.

Om Claes

A blogger and general internet nerd from Sweden. I write about politics, internet, technology, the world around me and whatever else interest me. I write mostly in swedish but some english.
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