Tuesday, May 3, 2011

J.E. Dyer on 'The Palin Doctrine' and her new foreign policy advisor

Palin is talking in the terms on which we need to be carrying on the public debate
Gov. Palin outlined a doctrine for the use of force in her speech to military families in Denver Monday evening, and, as we noted today, replaced two advisers who were holdovers the McCain campaign team with Hoover fellow and author Peter Schweizer. J.E. Dyer, in a commentary for Hot Air finds these developments to be good news:
Many volumes could be written on the distinctions between the prevailing ideas on the use of force overseas, but this passage of Palin’s speech, combined with her taking on Peter Schweizer as an adviser, argues for a more Reaganesque than progressive-activist view.


Schweizer is a fan of Reagan’s approach, which had no compunction about trying to undermine oppressive governments, but did so by supporting freedom movements where they were indigenous, and arming the insurgents under Soviet occupation in Afghanistan. The commitment of US force was a matter of coming to blows very rarely under Reagan: besides invading Grenada, Reagan conducted a reprisal against Libya in 1986 after the Berlin nightclub bombing, and another one against Iran in 1988 for mining the Persian Gulf and inflicting mine damage on USS Samuel B Roberts (FFG-58). The US armed forces had a high and very active profile during the Reagan years, but the actual use of force was considered necessary very seldom.

I tend to share Israpundit’s view that Schweizer’s advice will involve the sparing and summary use of force – in a shooting role. If you haven’t read his books on the Reagan approach – a comprehensive one that emphasized political and economic campaigns against the Soviet Union – I can highly recommend them. Meanwhile, compare Palin’s five points to the “Weinberger Doctrine,” a rubric that played a major role in US decisions about the use of force in Desert Storm.

As is typical of her, Palin is talking in the terms on which we need to be carrying on the public discussion of national security, our national interests, and interventions overseas. There has been a very long and extensive national dialogue on these topics over the last 100 years; we have never settled most questions as if there were a single answer. Palin – alone among potential GOP candidates – is harking back to the philosophical discussions launched by presidents and candidates like Reagan, Goldwater, Adlai Stevenson (agree with him or not, he launched a substantive debate that colored Democratic positions for the next 40 years), Wilson, and Theodore Roosevelt.

I believe people intuit the need for this debate, as overseas interventions seem to be stalemated in Afghanistan and Libya, and the world begins to behave as if there is no US power. Palin apparently recognizes the need to talk about fundamentals – and love her or hate her, I don’t see anyone else out there doing it.

- JP

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