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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Wednesday, June 25, 2003


Council on Foreign Relations speech

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, June 25, 2003 permalink View blog reactions
Sometimes, the Right Thing to Do cannot be described by a soundbite. This puts any attempt by Democrats to reclaim the title of Foreign Policy mastery from the GOP at a disadvantage, given that the media is not designed to convey ideas larger than soundbite size accurately to the American public.

However, Howard Dean recognizes that an articulate vision of foreign policy is essential - not just for politics, but for America's own sake. His speech to the Council on Foreign Relations is a boldly comprehensive and exhaustive vision, laid out with the attention to detail that demonstrates his knowledge that foreign policy demands more than mere disagreement with President Bush.

It's a long speech but it's essential reading in full. Here is the very core of his vision, however:

America is not Rome. We do not dream of empire. We dream of liberty for all.

In November 2004, the American people will seek a President who is prepared to use our brave and remarkable armed forces -- as I would -- to defend against any actual or imminent threat to ourselves or our friends and allies and, in concert with others to deal with grave humanitarian crises.

They will seek a President skilled at garnering the support of allies, but willing to act -- as I would -- when it is necessary to protect and defend our country.

They will seek a President focused -- as I would be -- on the dismantling of terrorist organizations, the disruption of terrorist operations, the apprehension of terrorist planners and the prevention of terrorist efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction.

But they will also seek a President who would strive -- as I would -- not to divide the world into us versus them, but rather to rally the world around fundamental principles of decency, responsibility, freedom and mutual respect. Our foreign and military policy must be about the notion of America leading the world not America against the world.

Presidents such as Truman, Eisenhower and Kennedy built and strengthened international institutions, rather than dismissing and disparaging the concerns of allies. They inspired and mobilized other countries because they believed there was no more powerful force on earth than that of free people working together.

They helped build global platforms such as the UN, NATO, and the World Bank on which free people everywhere could stand. Our greatest leaders built America's reputation as the world's leading democracy by never resting until they had given life to American ideals.

That is why I do not accept that a candidate's national security credentials should be considered suspect for opposing the war in Iraq at the time it was initiated with the limited level of international support we had, the lack of postwar planning that had been undertaken, and the failure to make the case that the threat was imminent enough to justify preventive action.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.