Monday, August 29, 2011


I wish journalists and officials would refrain from trying to find or impose a "doctrine" on recent U.S. foreign policy. As I pointed out months ago, even Ralph Waldo Emerson thought that diplomats had a fetish for foolish consistencies. There are few 95-5 choices in national security; most are closer to 51-49. What may seem wise in one instance is risky or unattainable in another [e.g., Libya cf. Syria]. The latest example is from today's New York Times, where Ben Rhodes of the National Security Council staff claims that America's Libya policy illustrates important principles. Interesting, but not persuasive to me.

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