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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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Saturday, June 19, 2004


Gary Hart for SecHomeDef

posted by Aziz P. at Saturday, June 19, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
If there's one thing that the entire liberal blogsphere should agree on, it is that Gary Hart needs to be in the Cabinet as Secretary of Homeland Defense. His recent interview at The American Prospect is essential reading, where he lays out broad and muscular principles for applying all forms of American power, hard and soft, to both foreign policy and honeland defense. Excerpt:

What is the message of your book?

From the end of the Cold War until the terrorist attacks of 2001, America did not have a grand strategy. We did not take the time to define our purpose in our world. To rectify that, I propose that we strive toward three goals: achieve security, expand opportunity to ourselves and others, and promote liberal democracy. We have abundant power to achieve these aims. We have the largest economy, and we are a political and military power. In addition, America has a fourth power, which are its principles, including, of course, free press, freedom of assembly, human right, and rule of law. When we support a government that doesn't believe in those things, we are weakening ourselves. We did that during the Cold War. We should not do that in the war on terrorism.

Even Jimmy Carter, who believed strongly in human rights, aligned himself with unsavory characters.

It’s hard. We could become more European and say: "The world is a messy place. We understand. We'll have to get ourselves messy. We make no grand claims for being superior." But America does claim to be superior. And, like an individual, if you violate your own principles to achieve an objective, you should question the objective. It's probably wrong.

You're critical of an ad hoc approach to foreign policy. But why can't you just deal with a crisis in, say, Somalia as it comes up?

Well, that was basically the Clinton approach. Madeleine Albright -- or Sandy Berger -- said, "We don’t have a strategy; we deal with issues as they arise." The problem is the world surprises you. Having this kind of approach is like an individual who says: "I don’t know what my purpose is in life. I'm going to get up in the morning and see what happens."


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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.