Rudy Giuliani's campaign for the Republican presidential nomination is based on one big issue: his image as someone who will be tough in fighting the War on Terrorism. That is the issue that he hopes will be so important to Republican voters that they will agree to back a twice-divorced pro-choice candidate who wants to keep his religious views private, arguing that "My religious affiliation, my religious practices, and the degree to which I am a good or not-so-good Catholic, I prefer to leave to the priests."
I have been very sympathetic to his candidacy for precisely this reason. As an advocate for the "secular right"—a political viewpoint that favors free markets, a strong national defense, and strict separation of church and state—I think it would be terrific if Republican voters chose to regard the war as a higher priority than the agenda of the religious right.
But I have also noted that Giuliani's reputation as a "hawk" is based largely on his rhetoric and on his local leadership in New York City following the September 11 terrorist attacks. Yet he has not discussed in much detail either his foreign policy "grand strategy" nor the details of what he would do (and do differently) as president.
Now Giuliani has begun to do so, in a long article in Foreign Affairs.
The article clearly reveals Giuliani's appeal to the "hawks." The overall theme that emerges from the article is: peace through strength. Following up on the article's title, "Toward a Realistic Peace," Giuliani writes:
The first step toward a realistic peace is to be realistic about our enemies. They follow a violent ideology: radical Islamic fascism, which uses the mask of religion to further totalitarian goals and aims to destroy the existing international system. These enemies wear no uniform. They have no traditional military assets. They rule no states but can hide and operate in virtually any of them and are supported by some.
Above all, we must understand that our enemies are emboldened by signs of weakness. Radical Islamic terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in 1993, the Khobar Towers facility in Saudi Arabia in 1996, our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the USS Cole in 2000. In some instances, we responded inadequately. In others, we failed to respond at all. Our retreat from Lebanon in 1983 and from Somalia in 1993 convinced them that our will was weak.
This is a good analysis of the nature of the enemy and how he was emboldened to attack us—with one glaring error. When Giuliani says of the Islamofascists that "they rule no states," he is forgetting Iran. (President Bush has done somewhat better; in a speech about a year ago, he described the Iranian regime as the equivalent of al-Qaeda taking over a large nation.)
I will return shortly to this issue of what to do about Iran, but Giuliani continues to do an excellent job of sketching out the consequences of defeat in our current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan:
We cannot predict when our efforts will be successful. But we can predict the consequences of failure: Afghanistan would revert to being a safe haven for terrorists, and Iraq would become another one—larger, richer, and more strategically located. Parts of Iraq would undoubtedly fall under the sway of our enemies, particularly Iran, which would use its influence to direct even more terror at US interests and US allies than it does today. The balance of power in the Middle East would tip further toward terror, extremism, and repression. America's influence and prestige—not just in the Middle East but around the world—would be dealt a shattering blow. Our allies would conclude that we cannot back up our commitments with sustained action. Our enemies—both terrorists and rogue states—would be emboldened. They would see further opportunities to weaken the international state system that is the primary defense of civilization. Much as our enemies in the 1990s concluded from our inconsistent response to terrorism then, our enemies today would conclude that America's will is weak and the civilization we pledged to defend is tired. Failure would be an invitation for more war, in even more difficult and dangerous circumstances.
Strength is also the issue on which Giuliani closes, invoking the disastrous policy of appeasement from the 1930s.
The 9/11 generation has learned from the history of the twentieth century that America must not turn a blind eye to gathering storms. We must base our trust on the actions, rather than the words, of others. And we must be on guard against overpromising and underdelivering. Above all, we have learned that evil must be confronted—not appeased—because only principled strength can lead to a realistic peace.
So what does Giuliani propose to do, specifically, to make the US strong and to put us "on the offensive" against terrorists? Among other things, he proposes to increase the size of the US military.
For 15 years, the de facto policy of both Republicans and Democrats has been to ask the US military to do increasingly more with increasingly less. The idea of a post-Cold War "peace dividend" was a serious mistake—the product of wishful thinking and the opposite of true realism. As a result of taking this dividend, our military is too small to meet its current commitments or shoulder the burden of any additional challenges that might arise. We must rebuild a military force that can deter aggression and meet the wide variety of present and future challenges. When America appears bogged down and unready to face aggressors, it invites conflict.
But the big question is: will this expanded military be used to go on the offensive against Iran? Iran is now clearly revealed as our central enemy, controlling an "Islamist Axis" with tentacles from the Mediterranean to the Himalayas. So what would Giuliani do about it?
It is revealing that his answer comes under the heading "Determined Diplomacy," in which he argues for the need to use diplomacy, but to make sure that diplomacy is backed by the credible threat of force.
America has been most successful as a world leader when it has used strength and diplomacy hand in hand. To achieve a realistic peace, US diplomacy must be tightly linked to our other strengths: military, economic, and moral. Whom we choose to talk to is as important as what we say. Diplomacy should never be a tool that our enemies can manipulate to their advantage. Holding serious talks may be advisable even with our adversaries, but not with those bent on our destruction or those who cannot deliver on their agreements.
Iran is a case in point. The Islamic Republic has been determined to attack the international system throughout its entire existence: it took US diplomats hostage in 1979 and seized British sailors in 2007 and during the decades in between supported terrorism and murder. But Tehran invokes the protections of the international system when doing so suits it, hiding behind the principle of sovereignty to stave off the consequences of its actions. This is not to say that talks with Iran cannot possibly work. They could—but only if we came to the table in a position of strength, knowing what we wanted.
The next US president should take inspiration from Ronald Reagan's actions during his summit with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in Reykjavík in 1986: he was open to the possibility of negotiations but ready to walk away if talking went nowhere. The lesson is never talk for the sake of talking and never accept a bad deal for the sake of making a deal. Those with whom we negotiate—whether ally or adversary—must know that America has other options. The theocrats ruling Iran need to understand that we can wield the stick as well as the carrot, by undermining popular support for their regime, damaging the Iranian economy, weakening Iran's military, and, should all else fail, destroying its nuclear infrastructure.
This is a disappointment. In short, what Giuliani is offering is pretty much the same policy as the Bush administration: to engage in diplomatic negotiations in an attempt to convince Iran to drop its nuclear weapons programs and to stop supporting insurgents in Iraq—backed by the eventual threat of economic sanctions and air strikes. Giuliani brings to the issue of Iran no heightened sense of urgency, no need to rapidly accelerate our efforts to undermine the Islamic Republic.
The use of a Cold War analogy—Reagan's summit with Gorbachev—is revealing. Giuliani would continue to confront Iran on the slow, plodding Cold War model favored by the current administration: through proxy battles and the brinksmanship of diplomatic standoffs.
That's why "peace through strength" is the best way of summing up Giuliani's theme. He wants to fight our conflict with Iran while avoiding a "hot" war that would directly topple the Iranian regime. Instead, he wants to increase America's military and diplomatic strength and persist in our proxy wars against Iran in Iraq and Afghanistan, in the hope of collapsing the Iranian regime through indirect economic and military pressure, the way we did with the Soviet Union.
So why is Giuliani not more hawkish against Iran? A big clue is his repeated use of a phrase that constitutes another, largely implicit theme of the article. Throughout his essay, Giuliani repeatedly refers to "the international system." Here are a few examples:
"Civilization itself, and the international system, had come under attack by a ruthless and radical Islamist enemy."
"The second [key foreign policy challenge] will be to strengthen the international system that the terrorists seek to destroy."
"The purpose of this fight must be to defeat the terrorists and the insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan and to allow these countries to become members of the international system in good standing."
"A lasting, realistic peace will be achieved when more effective diplomacy, combined with greater economic and cultural integration, helps the people of the Middle East understand that they have a stake in the success of the international system."
"NATO should dedicate itself to confronting significant threats to the international system from territorial aggression to terrorism"
The stressed repetition makes it clear that "The international system" is not a mere stock phrase, and at several points Giuliani also refers to "the international state system" or "The sovereign state system." Giuliani never explains these phrases or defines exactly what they mean, but these formulations have the sound of specific catchphrases or "terms of art" taken from a larger theory of international relations.
And that is exactly what we find. A little digging reveals the origin and meaning of this appeal to "the international system"—and what it implies for Giuliani's foreign policy grand strategy.
So why is Rudy Giuliani not more hawkish against Iran? A big clue is his repeated use of a phrase that constitutes another, largely implicit theme of the article. Throughout his essay, Giuliani repeatedly refers to "the international system."…
The stressed repetition makes it clear that "the international system" is not a mere stock phrase, and at several points Giuliani also refers to "the international state system" or "the sovereign state system." Giuliani never explains these phrases or defines exactly what they mean, but these formulations have the sound of specific catchphrases or "terms of art" taken from a larger theory of international relations.
And that is exactly what we find. A little digging reveals the origin and meaning of this appeal to "the international system"—and what it implies for Giuliani's foreign policy grand strategy.
Recently, I posted a link to a brief profile of Yale professor and former diplomat Charles Hill, who has signed on as Giuliani's chief foreign policy advisor. Professor Hill is the source of Giuliani's new talk about the "international state system."
A quick search of the web turns up a 2005 essay by Hill in the Yale Israel Journal which explains what he means by "the international system" and how he applies that concept to the War on Terrorism. The title indicates we've hit paydirt: "The Islamist War on the International System."
Hill argues that there is "one big thing" our diplomats need to remember:
[T]he international order, the foundation on which world affairs have been organized and conducted for more than three centuries, is based on a system of sovereign states. Having forgotten this lesson of history, in recent decades we have allowed our international state system to be ignored, abused, and stretched dangerously out of shape. Nowhere is the decline of the state system—and the urgent need to revamp it—more significant than in today’s Middle East, where states across the region are threatened by militant Islamist radicals bent on destroying the current system and replacing it with an entirely different one. The extent to which these Islamists will be kept from reaching their goals and the chance that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will be resolved peacefully ultimately depend on our ability to strengthen and reinvigorate the international system of states.
So what is the "international state system"? In slightly opaque academic style, Hill briefly sketches out that system.
[T]here is general acknowledgment that out of the horrors of the Thirty Years’ War and the subsequent Peace of Westphalia in 1648 a new state system was born: the world of Christendom transformed into a world of states….
The elements of the state system are conceptually clear and few in number, yet profound in their effect. On the most fundamental level, there is the state itself as the building block of international affairs. International law—which also emerged from the Thirty Years’ War by way of Grotius’ De Jure Belli ac Pacis of 1625—international conferences, and the organizations they spawn are all features of the system, while norms, an unattractive word for a precious achievement, have provided the vital, substantive fluid for the system. Finally, in order to control the religious sources of the terrible European wars of the seventeenth century, the system required that relations between states be conducted on a secular basis.
Of these, the one that is least spelled out is what Hill means by "the state itself as the building block of international affairs." From what I can tell, he is describing the premise that every area of the world should be under the control and sovereignty of a particular state, which is answerable for what happens there; as we shall see, this is the opposite of the anarchic concept of Islamic rule. The other "elements" of the "international system" are international law or "international norms"—that is, basic standards of expected behavior by states—and the concept of states as secular rather than religious institutions.
Typically, when you hear a career diplomat talk glowingly of the "international system" and describe it as the answer to all of our problems, you can bet that he is talking about the UN and urging the US to harness itself to the edicts of UN commissions and the Security Council—organizations that have proven to serve the interests of the tyrants and dictators who wield votes there, rather than the interests of the free world. But Hill is more ambiguous in his view of the UN, which he regards as having failed to serve its intended function of maintaining the "international system." (As for Giuliani, we will see his views on this subject in a moment.)
Reflecting the occupational hazards both of a diplomat and of an academic, Hill's style is a bit overly formal and stilted. He tends to express his ideas in vague, general, and formulaic terms. He is a little more lucid when talking extemporaneously, so a quote from the American Spectator profile is a little more comprehensible.
To Hill, one of the biggest challenges we face in fighting terrorism is that the international mechanisms that we have established to deal with past threats are not applicable to it. This is one of the key differences between the War on Terror and the major ideological conflict of the 20th century.
"The Cold War was of course a long war," Hill said. "It was an ideological war being waged against the international system by a communist ideology that opposed every element of the international system, starting with the state. But the communists did in some sense participate within the system. They did conduct diplomacy. They did have embassies. They did have a professional military. What we are facing today is a war being waged on us by an ideology that is just as virulent, just as vitriolic as communism, and maybe more so, in its views of the international system, and its determination to undermine it and to destroy it and to replace it. But it has none of the attributes. It does not conduct diplomacy. It doesn't apply by the laws of war. It has no professional army. It regards the state as an abomination. It regards democracy as an abomination."
What is needed, said Hill, is "an adjunct to the established international system that will deal with enemies, or combatants, that simply don't fit the kind of mechanisms that have been developed for decades and generations to deal with international conflicts."
Here is how Hill expresses the same point in writing:
Into the vacuum created by faltering or failed state authority [in places like Somalia and Afghanistan] has come an adversarial system: Radical Islamism and associated forces who oppose the state and state system, or who seize it for their own purposes. The Islamism discussed herein should be distinguished from Islam the religion in general as a violent and radical revolutionary ideology committed to destroying virtually all aspects of the international system and replacing it with a new “Islamic” order.
For some years it has been clear from the fatwas of Osama bin Laden and other prominent Islamists that they regard the concept of the state as an abomination. To them, the very idea of a state is un-Islamic. They envision the revival of a traditional form of pan-Islamic rule, the Caliphate, which would have no place for the state. In remote stateless parts of the world, from the southern islands of the Philippines to Afghanistan to Somalia to the Paraguay-Brazil-Argentina tri-border area, that they plan, train, and launch their operations….
What we are now witnessing is nothing short of a civil war in the Arab-Islamic world. On one side are those who, on the basis of Islamist beliefs, reject the international system of states, international law and organization, international values and principles, and diplomacy as a means to work through problems.
On the other side of this civil war are those regimes in the Arab-Islamic world that, however much they may have appeased, bought out, or propagandized the terrorists, have recognized that they are members of the international system of states and must find a way to reconcile Islamic beliefs and practices to it….
The state and its fate are at the heart of nearly every major issue in the Middle East and around the world…. From the global perspective, the stakes are enormous. If the Islamists can defeat the Middle Eastern states that seek to reform and work with the international system, we will be faced with another world war.
There is a significant element of truth to this view. It is similar to an observation I recently made in arguing that we have to learn how to fight and win counter-insurgency wars.
Consider how the threat of radical Islam differs from the old Middle Eastern threat of Arab nationalism. Arab nationalism was a blend of Communist and Fascist ideology that envisioned a united Arab dictatorship led by a military strongman—the role coveted by a succession of dictators, from Nasser to Saddam Hussein…. [N]ote that this old dictatorial vision was one of large armies, masses of bureaucrats, and the conventional conquest of Middle Eastern lands to be controlled by an organized, all-powerful state.
For all their talk of an Islamic "caliphate," today's Islamists do not really have such an organized vision. Their ideology is not taken from Lenin but from Mohammed—a cruder, more primitive source. It is a charter, not for a modern state, but for tribal gang warfare, and the rule of the Islamists has been dominated by the capricious whim of holy warriors, usually without much pretense of scientific organization or the rule of law.
This can be seen in many of the societies where Islamists have risen to power: their model of the ideal society has been on display in Somalia, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Gaza, and Waziristan. It is best described as anarcho-totalitarianism: total control over the individual, not by an organized state, but by roving criminal gangs of religious zealots.
But in looking back at those comments, I realized I should have made it clearer that there is one big exception to this general trend. Iran is the one place where Islamists have managed to combine their tyrannical rule with the trappings of traditional, organized state power—though Iran still chooses to fight us by supporting terrorist insurgencies elsewhere in the Middle East. Because Iran is a conventional state with a conventional military power, I advocate a conventional military confrontation with Iran (even as we use the unconventional tactics of counter-insurgency war to wipe out Iran's agents and allies in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere).
Curiously, however, Iran seems to be a major blind spot in Professor Hill's world view. In his entire article on the War on Terrorism, Iran is not mentioned at all. Why? Because it is a state within the "international state system"—and thus regarding it as the central enemy in the War on Terrorism would undermine his argument that the "strengthening of the international system" is the fundamental issue of the war.
I mentioned above that one of the occupational hazards of diplomats and academics is an opaque style of writing. The other occupational hazard is the substitution of process for substance. They say that when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The tools of diplomats are the protocols of international conferences and the etiquette of international "norms." The biggest issue is how states talk to one another—not the substantive goals which those states are organized to achieve. The professional diplomat is tempted to imagine that all of the world's problem could be solved if only leaders accepted the negotiating process managed by the diplomats.
But the "international system"—to the extent that such a system exists and to the extent that it is valuable—is simply one means to a far more important goal: protecting free nations by limiting the power of dictatorships. And the fundamental evil of "rogue states" like North Korea or Iran is not that they "defy the international community," but that they do so in order to preserve and export tyranny.
Judging from this article, Professor Hill's process-focused ideas about the "international system" do not provide the framework we need to identify and defeat the enemy in this war. After all, his theory does not allow him to identify the conclusion that is obvious from the facts on the ground: the central role of Iran in supporting Islamic terrorism and Islamist insurgencies in the greater Middle East. To make that identification requires an outlook that focuses on the substantive goals of states, rather than just the process by which they wrangle with one another at international conferences.
There is, however, one issue on which Hill does begin to grasp the importance of a government's substantive values. Remember that one of his "elements of the state system" is the requirement that "relations between states be conducted on a secular basis." He argues that the "international state system" has its origin in the end of the Catholic-versus-Protestant religious wars that ravaged Europe in the 17th century. He returns to that observation in the final paragraph of his essay.
In recent years there have been many signs that the international system is nearing collapse. The most ominous sign has been the return of religion—in the present case, Islamism—as a cause of major warfare. The lesson of history that must be recalled today is that the modern age began with an international system that enabled states to cooperate without the non-negotiable pressure generated by differing religions. International affairs have been conducted within such a system ever since. A thousand years of confrontation and conflict between the Islamic world and Christendom was followed by more than a century of intra-Christian warfare that produced an essentially secular international system for Europe, and over time that system was adopted and worked well throughout the world. The system is far from perfect, and international thinkers have longed to replace it. But it is all that we have at present, and history teaches that we should shore it up, defend it, and make it work as best we can. A solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict depends on it, as does the stability and future of the rest of the world.
The idea that relations between states should be secular in nature, and that an imperial religious agenda has no place in the international system, is a vital concept that certainly ought to be applied to the current conflict. The answer to Islamofascism is precisely the concept of secular government, which we should seek to export and enforce throughout the Muslim world. It is also an issue that we might expect to resonate with a leader like Giuliani, who is essentially a secular politician who regards his religious convictions as a private matter.
And that leaves us with one final question. How deeply is Giuliani influenced by Charles Hill's theory of the "international state system" as the fundamental issue in the War on Terrorism? How does that theory influence Giuliani's own foreign-policy ideas, and to what extent are his views better than Hill's?
How deeply is Giuliani influenced by Charles Hill's theory of the "international state system" as the fundamental issue in the War on Terrorism? How does that theory influence Giuliani's own foreign-policy ideas, and to what extent are his views better than Hill's?
Giuliani's Foreign Affairs essay lays out his "grand strategy," a term that refers to a nation's highest-level foreign policy agenda, a strategy that integrates our military, diplomatic, and political strategies across the globe.
While Professor Hill tends to fall into the usual diplomatic error of focusing on "the international state system" rather than the kinds of states within that system and their goals, Giuliani does somewhat better. He accepts one of the biggest good ideas that President Bush has brought to America's grand strategy: the idea that America's national security is served by the promotion of liberty throughout the world.
At the core of all Americans is the belief that all human beings have certain inalienable rights that proceed from God but must be protected by the state. Americans believe that to the extent that nations recognize these rights within their own laws and customs, peace with them is achievable. To the extent that they do not, violence and disorder are much more likely. Preserving and extending American ideals must remain the goal of all US policy, foreign and domestic.
Giuliani's only concession to the current political backlash against President Bush is to say that the "idealism" of the Forward Strategy of Freedom must be "balanced" by "realism." Yet he explicitly refuses to embrace the old "realist" school of foreign-policy—the kind that dismissed the moral character of foreign governments as irrelevant and sought instead to achieve a pragmatic "balance of powers" within the international system. By contrast, Giuliani says,
A realistic peace is not a peace to be achieved by embracing the "realist" school of foreign policy thought. That doctrine defines America's interests too narrowly and avoids attempts to reform the international system according to our values. To rely solely on this type of realism would be to cede the advantage to our enemies in the complex war of ideas and ideals. It would also place too great a hope in the potential for diplomatic accommodation with hostile states.
All that Giuliani takes from the "realists" is the notion that we "cannot achieve peace by promising too much or indulging false hopes"—in effect, Giuliani's acknowledgement of the critics of President Bush's foreign policy, which assumed that a free society would rise in Iraq quickly after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and with little need for military support from the United States.
This does involve one substantive difference between Giuliani and Bush. Where Bush emphasizes "democracy," Giuliani emphasizes "good governance." Here is how he puts it:
America has a clear interest in helping to establish good governance throughout the world. Democracy is a noble ideal, and promoting it abroad is the right long-term goal of US policy. But democracy cannot be achieved rapidly or sustained unless it is built on sound legal, institutional, and cultural foundations. It can only work if people have a reasonable degree of safety and security. Elections are necessary but not sufficient to establish genuine democracy. Aspiring dictators sometimes win elections, and elected leaders sometimes govern badly and threaten their neighbors. History demonstrates that democracy usually follows good governance, not the reverse….
The election of Hamas in the Palestinian-controlled territories is a case in point. The problem there is not the lack of statehood but corrupt and unaccountable governance. The Palestinian people need decent governance first, as a prerequisite for statehood. Too much emphasis has been placed on brokering negotiations between the Israelis and the Palestinians—negotiations that bring up the same issues again and again. 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 terrorism. Palestinian statehood will have to be earned through sustained good governance, a clear commitment to fighting terrorism, and a willingness to live in peace with Israel.
All of this is good. The Bush administration has too often regarded "democracy" as a magic solution that can bypass the need for "sound legal, institutional, and cultural foundations." And Giuliani's application of his ideas to the Palestinians is particularly apt. The big news from this section is that Giuliani formally disavows the goal of creating a Palestinian state, instead calling for the creation of "decent governance" first—though he provides no answer to the question of who, other than the Israelis, would be capable of creating such a government there.
In this respect, he is significantly better than Hill. In his 2005 essay, Hill argues that "negotiations [between Israel and the Palestinians] have not made significant progress, despite some apparent high points, because there has been no state partner to sit across the table from Israel." He then goes on to laud the Bush administration's "road map" because "It provides for the establishment of a Palestinian state, not at the end of the negotiations, as in the Oslo process, but in the middle of the effort. That means there will be a state partner for Israel to negotiate with."
By contrast, Giuliani declares that "The problem there is not the lack of statehood but corrupt and unaccountable governance" and declares that the US must not "assist the creation of another state that will support terrorism."
Giuliani also adopts another worthwhile adjunct to the Forward Strategy of Freedom: a policy of free trade. I have called this the Forward Strategy of Capitalism—the idea that we can spread our values to other nations, not only by encouraging representative government, but also by encouraging global capitalism. Here is what Giuliani has to say on this:
Economic development and engagement are proven, if not fail-safe, engines for successfully moving countries into the international system…. Other nations have found that following the US model—with low taxes, sensible regulations, protections for private property, and free trade—brings not only national wealth but also national strength. These principles are not ascendant everywhere, but never has it been clearer that they work….
Foreign aid can help overcome specific problems, but it does not lead to lasting prosperity because it cannot replace trade. Private direct investment is the best way to promote economic development. The next US president should thus revitalize and streamline all US foreign-aid activities to support—not substitute for—private investment in other countries….
Today, we need a similar type of exchange with the Muslim countries that we hope to plug into the global economy. Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates are pointing the way by starting to interpret Islam in ways that respect the distinctiveness of their local cultures but are consistent with the global marketplace. Some of these states have coeducational schools, allow women to serve in government, and count shopping malls that sell Western and Arab goods side by side. Their leaders recognize that modernization is their ticket to the global marketplace.
So Giuliani's goal is to encourage as many states as possible to "plug into the global economy," giving them an incentive to "modernize" by "following the US model" of government.
So the "international system," as Giuliani means it, includes a system of free international trade and global capitalism. But what about the standard diplomats' meaning of the "international system"—the system of conferences, negotiations, and "peacekeeping" efforts managed through the bureaucracy of the United Nations?
I mentioned before that Hill seems to be equivocal on the role of the UN. Giuliani is markedly less enthusiastic. Relegating the UN to the very end of the section titled "Strengthening the International System," he notes:
The organization can be useful for some humanitarian and peacekeeping functions, but we should not expect much more of it. The UN has proved irrelevant to the resolution of almost every major dispute of the last 50 years. Worse, it has failed to combat terrorism and human rights abuses…. International law and institutions exist to serve peoples and nations, but many leaders act as if the reverse were true—that is, as if institutions, not the ends to be achieved, were the important thing.
This is Giuliani's clearest repudiation of the implication, in Professor Hill's theory, that the process of the international system takes precedence over the substance of the values on which governments are based.
So in place of the UN, Giuliani proposes that the "international system" be led by a consortium of free nations, in the form of an expanded, global NATO.
America is grateful to NATO for the vital functions it is performing in Afghanistan and elsewhere. Yet NATO's role and character should be reexamined. For almost 60 years, it has been a vital bond connecting the United States and Europe. But its founding rationale dissolved with the end of the Cold War, and the alliance should be transformed to meet the challenges of this new century. NATO has already expanded to include former adversaries, taken on roles for which it was not originally conceived, and acted beyond its original theater. We should build on these successes and think more boldly and more globally. We should open the organization's membership to any state that meets basic standards of good governance, military readiness, and global responsibility, regardless of its location. The new NATO should dedicate itself to confronting significant threats to the international system, from territorial aggression to terrorism.
We are seeing, in these passages, a greater emphasis on the idea that only free nations are good long-term allies of the United States, and a proposal to gather these nations together in a new global alliance that seems intended to bypass the UN.
So where is the influence of Professor Hill's belief that "strengthening the international system" is the fundamental issue in the War on Terrorism. Has Giuliani taken his advisor's catchphrase, but not the theory behind it?
First, remember that Iran was Professor Hill's blind spot. In talking about the War on Terrorism and the Palestinian terror war on Israel, Hill neglected to mention Iran at all, even though it is one of the prime movers supporting terrorism in Iraq and in Lebanon and the Palestinian territories. Since Hill wants to maintain that terrorism is primarily a result of the collapse of the state, he does not recognize how it also serves as the tool of a state with imperial ambitions in the Middle East.
And as I observed before, this helps explain why Giuliani does not make confronting Iran a more urgent priority, and why he seeks to do so primarily with diplomacy, saving military force as a longer-term threat used to support diplomacy. And Hill's views also influence Giuliani's proposal to commit a much larger portion of America's resources to "nation-building."
Giuliani is famous for cracking down on crime in New York City by relying on the "broken window effect." The idea was that vigorous law enforcement against minor crimes would send the message that the police, not the criminals, were in control of a neighborhood, which would deter other, more serious crimes. In his Foreign Affairs essay, Giuliani argues for what I have called a "broken country effect."
In this decade, for the first time in human history, half of the world's population will live in cities. I know from personal experience that when security is reliably established in a troubled part of a city, normal life rapidly reestablishes itself: shops open, people move back in, children start playing ball on the sidewalks again, and soon a decent and law-abiding community returns to life. The same is true in world affairs. Disorder in the world's bad neighborhoods tends to spread. Tolerating bad behavior breeds more bad behavior. But concerted action to uphold international standards will help peoples, economies, and states to thrive. Civil society can triumph over chaos if it is backed by determined action.
To implement this idea, he proposes a kind of international flying squad for nation-building:
[S]ometimes America will be compelled to act in those parts of the world where few institutions function properly—those zones that lack not only good governance but any governance—and in states teetering on the edge of conflict or recovering from it. Faced with a choice between leaving a troubled zone to anarchy or helping build functioning civil societies with accountable governments that can serve as bulwarks against barbarism, the American people will choose the latter.
To assist these missions, the next US president should restructure and coordinate all the agencies involved in that process. A hybrid military-civilian organization—a Stabilization and Reconstruction Corps staffed by specially trained military and civilian reservists—must be developed. The agency would undertake tasks such as building roads, sewers, and schools; advising on legal reform; and restoring local currencies. The United States did similar work, and with great success, in Germany, Japan, and Italy after World War II. But even with the rich civic traditions in these nations, the process took a number of years. We must learn from our past if we want to win the peace as well as the war.
I am not opposed to "nation-building" as such, though I believe it should be done very selectively, where the US has vital interests, and not as a kind of international altruist "meals on wheels," with US troops leaving Iraq, for example, in order to deploy to Darfur. Giuliani, however, seems to have a more expansive view.
So what is the final result from this overview of Giuliani's foreign policy? We get a mixture. We get rhetoric about refusing to appease terrorism or ignore gathering storms, and we get an attempt to bypass the UN and to promote free societies while opposing dictatorship. That is mixed with rhetoric about the importance of the "international system," advocacy of diplomacy as our primary approach to Iran, and a greater emphasis on the use of American power for potentially altruist "nation-building."
So on Iran, for example, we can expect to see a President Giuliani pursue a diplomatic strategy centered, not on the UN, but on our European and NATO allies—which is pretty much what President Bush is doing right now. We can expect to see a President Giuliani persist in fighting terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan, while claiming that he is doing so for the well-being of the people in these countries and to "strengthen the international system"—which is pretty much what the Bush administration is doing now. And we can see a President Giuliani holding back on endorsing a "road map" for Palestinian statehood until a Palestinian government can be formed that provides "good governance" (a development that is not likely to happen any time soon)—which is slightly better than our current policy.
In other words, we can expect a foreign policy that is pretty familiar. We can expect strong rhetoric about defeating terrorism and dictatorship and some acts of American self-assertiveness—combined with lip service to the "international system" and the frequent bogging down of American action in a morass of diplomacy.
The disappointment in Giuliani's foreign policy is that it is not much better than that of the current administration. It is not much stronger or more clear in its grasp of America's vital national interests.
I will probably still back Giuliani, if he gets the nomination, because he is still far better than his likely Democratic opponent. I will back him for the same reasons I backed Bush, but without the reservations about Bush's domestic religious agenda.
Unfortunately, it looks as if we will have to back Giuliani with the same enthusiasm—or lack thereof—with which we have had to support the current administration. We will still be backing a mixture of egoism and altruism, of American assertiveness and timid "multilateralism," and we will still have to hope that the mixture is just good enough to muddle through to victory in an unnecessarily drawn-out Cold War against Islamism.