Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Walt right on
The Harvard political scientist and well-known realist Stephen Walt, who lectured against the Iraq war in the months preceding the conflict, wrote an article for the Winter 2001/2 International Security that I believe bears revisiting today. He argued,
Finally, the United States would be wise to reciprocate the foreign support that it has recently sought by making some concessions of its own. Committing itself to a serious effort to negotiate a replacement for the Kyoto Protocol on global warming would be an ideal first step and would go a long way toward defusing lingering fears of U.S. unilateralism. Similarly, the United States could accelerate preparations for a new global trade round and declare that it was especially interested in lowering its barriers against exports from the developing world, even if this hurt some special interests at home.

Well, I hope Walt wasn't waiting by the phone for those things to happen. Global warming has disappeared from the Bush administration's foreign agenda (largely because the ideologues who have his ear don't believe in it), and the global trade talks in Cancun last month collapsed precisely because G-8 countries like the U.S. weren't willing to slash their wasteful agricultural subsidies.

Walt also chastised the U.S. for its Israel policy:
The United States is not as reflexively pro-Israel as many Arabs believe, but its policies in the past have not been evenhanded....The United States should also clarify its position on the requirements for a Palestinian state and emphasize that a viable state will require Israel to offer more generous terms than it proposed at Camp David in July 2000. Specifically, Israel should offer to withdraw from virtually all territories it occupied in June 1967 in exchange for full peace.

Walt further stressed the need to manage its coalition and rebuild its relations with the Arab and Muslim world.

Oh well.

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