This Is The World That Rudy Lives In

The world that the Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani lives in — and wants us to live, too — "is a dangerous place."  Ridden with "violence", plaqued with "collapse of governance",  Guliani’s world also struggles with "the spread of chaos and fear."

Fortunately, Giuliani has a universal fix for all world’s problems: "A peace through strength."  Military strength, to be precise.

In a nutshell, this is what Giuliani had to say in a piece for the September/October 2007 issue of the Foreign Affairs ("Toward a Realistic Peace") that outlined his foreign policy philosophy.

The world Giuliani lives in is very small, too.  There is not much space for Africa, which earned only a single paragraph ("The next president should continue the Bush administration’s effort to help Africa overcome AIDS and malaria "  Really?  Isn’t Giuliani confusing the Bush administration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?).  Russia and China don’t fair any better ("U.S. relations with China and Russia will remain complex for the forseeable future").  The North and Latin Americas got the same treatment: one passing paragraph for both combined.

What, then, is Giuliani’s world filled with? You’ve guessed it right: with the war on terror, or — using Giuliani’s fancy term — "the Terrorists’ War on Us."

To give him a credit, Giuliani did hit a few solid points.  Two of them stand out, in my opinion.  First, Giuliani calls for a broad NATO expansion.  The NATO membership should be offered, in Giuliani’s words, "to any state that meets basic standards of good governance, military readiness, and global responsibility, regardless of its location."  The countries that should be immediately invited aren’t mentioned in the Foreign Affairs piece, but during his recent trip in London, Giuliani specifically named Israel, Japan, Australia, and India.

The NATO membership for Israel looks particularly intriguing.  Giuliani must be aware of the fact that the idea will hardly survive, given the serious resistance to it in many corners, including the NATO headquarters.  The talk of Israel in the NATO may thus be simply a clever tactical move, as it will likely appeal to Jewish voters in states like New York and Florida, which hold early presidential primaries next year.

This is not to say that Giuliani’s support for Israel is opportunistic in nature.  Quite to the contrary, he insists that "America’s committment to Israel’s security is a permanent feature of our foreign policy."  This reason alone would seem to have sufficiently sharpened Giuliani’s tough stance towards Iran, which he unambiguously called "our enemy."  Speaking in London, Giuliani promised that the U.S. would use military force, if necessary, to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons:

"If they get to the point where thay are going to become a  nuclear power, we will prevent them.  Or we will send them back 5 0r 10 years."

Giuliani’s foreign policy positions, including his pro-Israel views, have been undoubtedly influenced by his advisors.  The New York Times reported that Giuliani’s top foreign policy consultants included Norman Podhoretz (a neocon who advocates bombing Iran) and Daniel Pipes (a prominent member of the pro-Israel lobby).  The presence of both Podhoretz and Pipes on Giuliani’s team may, yet again, play an additional tactical role: to reassure the G.O.P. conservatives — who have concerns about Giuliani’s positions on abortion and gun control — that Giuliani is "conservative" enough.

The second outstanding point is that Giuliani seems to be partying with the readiness of the two previous U.S. presidents (Bush and Clinton) to back the creation of a Palestinian state. 

Giuliani comes to this position from a rather unexpected angle: from his support for a "sovereign state."  Here is what he exactly says: 

"Some theorists say that … the age of the sovereign state is coming to a close.  These views are naive.  There is no realistic alternative to the sovereign state system.  Transnational terrorists and other rogue actors have difficulty operating where the state system is strong, and they flourish when it is weak. "

He then proceeds with the following:

"It is not in the interest of the United States, at a time when it is being threatened by Islamist terrorists, to assist the creation of another state that will support terrorisms.  Palestinian statehood will have to be earned through good govrnance, a clear committment to fighting terrorism, and a willingness to live in peace with Israel. 

Guiliani’s point is both clear and clever: for as long as the future Palestinian state has a chance to become "failed", it’s against the U.S. national interest to support its creation. 

Here, Giuliani is performing an interesting balancing act.  On the one hand, by withdrawing his support for an independent Palestinian state, he is trying to appeal to the G.O.P. neocons with ties to the pro-Israel lobby.  On the other hand, by pointing to the negative consequences of Hamas’ victory in the Palestinian elections, he’s distancing himself from the neocons — and the President Bush, too — on the issue of "spreading democracy" through the Middle East. 

As you would expect from a candidate who made "being tough on national security" the leitmotif of his campaign, Giuliani is a strong supporter of the American military.  Quite naturally, he calls for its expansion: 

"The U.S. Army needs a minimum of ten new combat brigades … We must also take a hard look at other requirements, especially in terms of submarines, modern long-range bombers, and in-flight refueling tankers."   

Here, the logic seems to abandon Giuliani as he fails to explain how additional submarines and long-range bombers will be used against terorists who, in Giuliani’s own words, "have no traditional military assets."   

This is not the only "lapse of judgement" present in the article.  Take a look at this strange statement:

"America is a nation that loves peace and hates war."

Well, this is hardly true.  Repeated polls have shown that Americans are generally supportive of military interventions abroad, be it the war in Vietnam, the Gulf War, or the war in Iraq.  It’s not love for peace, but, rather, increasing costs of war (in terms of human causalties and financial hardship) that eventually turn the Americans against their government’s military misadventures.  Instead of making hollow claims, Giuliani could have better shown his maturity as a political leader by explaining the roots of the American obsession with using military force. 

Speaking about American cultural influence — in the context of winning "a war of ideas" — Giuliani becomes outright ridiculous.  He believes that "companies such as Pepsi, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Levi’s helped win the Cold War by entering the Soviet market."  The same role is attributed to "Van Cliburn’s concerts in the Soviet Union."  Apparently, Giuliani had in mind Van Cliburn’s victorious performance at the Tchaikovsky Piano Competition in Moscow in 1958.

The world that Rudy Giuliani lives in is so shrunken and one-dimentional that it becomes almost caricatural.  And with the Giuliani administration in the White House, it may well become more "dangerous place."

About Eugene Ivanov

Eugene Ivanov is a PMI-certified Innovation Management Consultant who helps organizations increase the efficiency of their internal and external innovation programs.
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