Nation-Building >> Gates: the right man for the job? | return to front page

"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

Add to Google Reader or Homepage Subscribe in Bloglines Subscribe in NewsGator Online Add to netvibes

website stats

Previous Posts
Netflix, Inc.
ThinkGeek T-Shirts will make you cool!
illy coffee - 2 cans, 2 mugs for just $26.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Gates: the right man for the job?

posted by Aziz P. at Wednesday, November 15, 2006 permalink View blog reactions
Joe Katzman is flummoxed by the choice of Gates for Secretary of Defense. In a nutshell, his argument is that he is tainted by his previous roles during previous administrations. He concludes,

Gates has shown that he's a capable man - but that doesn't make him the right man.

but why not? His history in the 80s and early 90s are steeped in the realpolitik of the day but that was during the Cold War. nuff said.

As far as today, Gates' major change will be to treat Iran and Syria as the rational actors they are. Classic Westphalianism. Neither Iran nor Syria are served by anarchy in Iraq, a breakup into three nation states (which would guarantee Turkey's meddling in their domain as well as a hostile Sunni state on their doorstep). In fact if anything stability in Iraq might well lead to more freedom in Iran and a weakening of the mullah's grip (economic prosperity is directly correlated with liberty. See Zakaria's "Future of Freedom"). And once we dangle carrots in front of Syria then we have the leverage to influence them on the Israel/Hizbollah front.

A classic diplomat like Gates can do a lot. Diplomacy isnt as sexy as military solutions but as Gary Hart says, we are a multipolar power. Gates is the right man to start flexing those muscles that have atrophied. Diplomacy is arguably more effective than brute force - especially in a cauldron like the ME - because everyone has a stake in the outcome.


Post a Comment


View blog top tags
The Assault on Reason

Obama 2008 - I want my country back

I want my country back - Obama 2008

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.