"How is it in our nation's interest," asked U.S. Sen. Carl Levin recently, "to have civilian contractors, rather than military personnel, performing vital national security functions... in a war zone?" The answer lies in humanity's long history of contracting force and the changing role of today's private security firms. Even as governments debate how to hold them accountable, these hired guns are rapidly becoming indispensable to national militaries, private corporations, and non-governmental groups across the globe.
As U.S. President George W. Bush's first term draws to a close, FP dips into its archive for a look at first terms of the past.
Why John Kerry's foreign policy would emulate George W. Bush's -- and vice versa.
The 2004 U.S. presidential election may be the first in decades to center on the candidates' foreign-policy views. So what do most Americans really think about Iraq, terrorism, North Korea, and free trade? Herewith an "interview" with the American people, with each answer reflecting majority positions in recent opinion polls. Americans' surprising preferences offer insight into what voters want from their next president.
How does U.S. President George W. Bush's preelection spending binge stack up against history?
Excerpts from U.S. President George W. Bush's speech on freedom in Iraq and the Middle East at the 20th anniversary of the National Endowment for Democracy on Nov. 6, 2003.
If you want to understand why the Bush administration invaded Iraq, read Freud's Interpretation of Dreams, not the National Security Strategy of the United States. Only the twisted logic of dreams can explain why the United States thinks that the aggressive pursuit of contradictory goals -- promoting democracy, affirming U.S. hegemony, and ensuring stable energy supplies -- will produce success.
A cabal of neoconservatives has hijacked the Bush administration's foreign policy and transformed the world's sole superpower into a unilateral monster. Say what? In truth, stories about the "neocon" ascendancy -- and the group's insidious intent to wage preemptive wars across the globe -- have been much exaggerated. And by telling such tall tales, critics have twisted the neocons' identities and thinking on U.S. foreign policy into an unrecognizable caricature.
Worried about the aggressive and unilateral exercise of U.S. power around the world today? Fine -- just don't blame U.S. President George W. Bush, September 11, or some shadowy neoconservative cabal. Nations enjoying unrivaled global power have always defined their national interests in increasingly expansive terms. Resisting this historical mission creep is the greatest challenge the United States faces today.
Anti-American sentiment is rising unabated around the globe because the U.S. State Department has abdicated values and principles in favor of accommodation and passivity. Only a top-to-bottom reform and culture shock will enable the State Department to effectively spread U.S. values and carry out President George W. Bush's foreign policy.
As befits a nation of immigrants, American nationalism is defined not by notions of ethnic superiority, but by a belief in the supremacy of U.S. democratic ideals. This disdain for Old World nationalism creates a dual paradox in the American psyche: First, although the United States is highly nationalistic, it doesn't see itself as such. Second, despite this nationalistic fervor, U.S. policymakers generally fail to appreciate the power of nationalism abroad.
Why knee-jerk criticism of the United States carries dangerous hidden costs.
North Korea is not crazy, near collapse, nor about to start a war. But it is dangerous, not to mention dangerously misunderstood. Defusing the threat that North Korea poses to its neighbors and the world will require less bluster, more patience, and a willingness on the part of the United States to probe and understand the true sources of the North's conduct.
George W. Bush's policies toward North Korea and Iraq are under fire, and public approval of his presidency is declining. What's the Democratic alternative?
George W. Bush should use a U.S.-Brazil trade deal to jolt Latin America out of its drift toward political morass and economic chaos.