Friday, August 24, 2007

The New Centrism of American Foreign Policy

Hilary Clinton might be portrayed as a communist on talk radio in Kansas, but set her alongside France's Nicolas Sarkozy, Germany's Angela Merkel, Britain's David Cameron or any other supposed European "conservative", and on virtually every significant issue Clinton is the more right-wing. She also mentions God more often than the average European bishop. As for foreign policy, the main Democratic candidates are equally staunch in their support of Israel. None of them has ruled out attacking Iran. Barak Obama might take a shot at Pakistan. And few of them want to cede power to multilateral organizations.

Americans seem in general to be less-trusting of government in this generation. Forty years ago Americans revolted against a left elite encircling them with the Great Society welfare state. In this generation we have had to endure a right-wing version of a kind of Secure Society. In democracies political revolutions usually become obvious only in retrospect. In 1968, with America stuck in another bruising war, few liberals saw Richard Nixon's southern strategy as part of a long-term turn to the right. All that was clear then was that most Americans urgently wanted a change of direction. That is also true of this generation.

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