Saturday, October 02, 2004

Hart in Tucson Tommorrow

Via The AZ Daily Star:

Gary Hart wrote a wonderful opinion article on how pursuit of Empire can cost America one of our greatest stregths: our principles. Hart again shows the sort of leadership in a complex and dangerous world that marries wisdom with realism. Gary Hart will be in Tucson tommorrow at the Border's bookstore on Oracle to speak and sign his book, The Fourth Power. Following is the full text of Hart's article:

Are we now, or are we in the process of becoming, an empire? As the world's sole superpower, America confronts a historic crossroads concerning our role on the global stage.
Adrift and unfocused until the first terrorist attacks in September 2001, the "war on terrorism," which surfaced doctrines of pre-emption and preventive wars, has become the catalyst for American action.
As we are finding in Afghanistan and Iraq, however, pre-emption and regime change - or, stated more directly, government overthrow - inevitably require prevention of chaos and eventually prolonged nation-building in the aftermath of invasion.
Nation-building requires continued occupation, a long-term military presence, interim administration (sometimes for a good deal of time), considerable financial and economic assistance, rebuilding infrastructures, providing social services, arbitrating among rival factions and endless entanglement.
All these are hallmarks of even the most benign empires. And this is exactly where we now find ourselves in occupied Iraq.
To which the inevitable question arises: What principles of a democratic republic are sacrificed when it assumes the role of empire?
Principles are violated or abandoned less in the abstract and more in their application. As with an individual, if the United States applies its power contrary to its principles, it risks its political, and eventually its moral, authority.
As a republic - in contrast with an empire - we should resist hegemony without seeking hegemony. We should ally with nations of good will to prevent any other power from exercising its dominion.
But we should not seek dominion for ourselves. This notion must become the centerpiece of U.S. diplomacy and international relations.
Coalitions are formed by roughly commensurate nations with equal purpose, not by token contributions from lesser nations to the designs of the dominant power.
The argument here is not strictly for principle over power in foreign policy. It is a more positive brief for incorporation of America's highest principles into the range of its powers, the more familiar military, economic and political powers, applied to achieve an early 21st century American strategy.
Where some have seen American ideals as an inconvenience at best and an outright hindrance to the exertion of American power abroad at worst, America's core principles, its canon of beliefs, are a fourth power, a positive advantage, in achieving the nation's larger purposes in the new century.
Who we are gives us our strength. We start with natural advantages in the world, given the desire of most of the world's peoples to share our norms, albeit in their own cultures where possible.
They do not necessarily want to become us. They want to share what we have, what we have achieved, as much as possible under their own terms and conditions.
They readily understand our prosperity and material success are in large part the product of our political system, our political standards and beliefs.
When we abandon our principles for short-term political or economic advantage, we abandon one of our greatest strengths.
For America to act imperially, expediently or ignobly is to weaken rather than strengthen itself.


At 9:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I’m writing to inform you and your readers about the new BUSHISMS THE DVD. Al Franken, Jacob Weisberg ( and Brian Unger marvel at over 50 video clips of Dubya’s nucular-sized malapropisms. The DVD will be in stores on Tuesday, Oct. 5th and is available right now @


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