Monday, July 07, 2008

Proposal for a National Integrity Strategy

[Sorry for two political posts in a row. I promise we'll talk about food next.]

In an act of uncharacteristic transparency, the Bush administration published The National Security Strategy of the United States of America in 2002 ( you can read it here if you like.) Generally referred to as the Bush Doctrine, the document is a revision of an internal defense department white paper dubbed the Wolfowitz Doctrine, written in 1992 by then Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Paul Wolfowitz.

It is essentially the roadmap for neocon foreign policy, making the case for unilateralism and pre-emptive intervention to maintain the United States' position as the sole political and economic superpower. Wolfowitz's initial draft states, "The U.S. must show the leadership necessary to establish and protect a new order that holds the promise of convincing potential competitors that they need not aspire to a greater role or pursue a more aggressive posture to protect their legitimate interests. In non-defense areas, we must account sufficiently for the interests of the advanced industrial nations to discourage them from challenging our leadership or seeking to overturn the established political and economic order. We must maintain the mechanism for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role."

There is little question that not only have these policies deteriorated our political standing around the world, but have also failed on the economic front, and perhaps most dangerously on the social and cultural front. The negative opinion of America which has developed over the past six years is due primarily to these policies. The results aren't benign. The aggressive posture outlined in the National Security Strategy is almost certainly responsible for breeding anti-American sentiment and increasing the threat of terrorism.

With this three pronged policy failure resulting in significant loss of political clout, an economy in free-fall, and a less safe world, I would like to suggest that Senator Obama write a National Integrity Strategy. Call it the Obama Doctrine.

Barack is at his best when he's writing or giving monumental speeches on big picture topics. There is no bigger picture topic than how we will behave and present ourselves as a nation during the next administration. Restoring integrity will require specific policies and immediate changes in how we act at home and abroad. We need to do as we say, be ethical and cooperative world citizens, and set an example for others to aspire to. This needs to be at the forefront of discussion and guide all other decisions. [We do have a pretty good document like that already, but it's been generally ignored in recent years.] Small policy changes won't fix anything. That will only send the message that it's business as usual and it really doesn't matter who's in the White House. I'd like to believe that's not true. This is an opportunity for Senator Obama to do what he does best and once and for all define Change™.

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