OxBlog

Thursday, June 11, 2009

# Posted 5:50 PM by Ariel David Adesnik  

WHAT DEFINES A CONSERVATIVE FOREIGN POLICY?
Understanding the Hobbesian nature of international relations fundamentally grounds conservative foreign policy in reality.
That quote is from John Bolton's op-ed in today's Washington Times.

Does Bolton's description accurately characterize George W. Bush's foreign policy? What about Dick Cheney's? Hawkish policymakers like Cheney and Bolton certainly emphasize the Hobbesian nature of international relations. Yet there is a strong element of moral relativism in the Hobbesian approach that is at odds with Bush's democracy-promoting idealism.

In a Hobbesian world, conflict is the inevitable result of clashing interests and aspirations. It has little to do with right and wrong. In contrast, Bush asserted that conflict is the result of evil and aggression.

Bolton writes that
Conservative foreign and national-security policies do not need remaking, rebranding or remessaging. They need not be escorted by prefixes or adjectives, nor do they need "moderating."
I'm inclined to say that there is no consensus right now on what counts as a conservative foreign policy. And for as long as the economy is issue number one, leading conservatives may not even think much about where conservative foreign policy needs to go in the Age of Obama.

CLARIFICATION: The following sentence appeared at the end of this post when originally published:

"In particular, conservatives reject the idea that America's actions are the foundation for most international discord, and that it is our deviation from international "norms" that must be 'corrected' for the natural state of harmony to return."

That is a quote from the Bolton op-ed mentioned above, not my own words. Because of a faulty cut-and-paste on my part, it showed up in my post with no indication of where it came from.

Cross-posted at Conventional Folly
(3) opinions -- Add your opinion

Comments:
"natural state of harmony"

LOL! Good one! Does anybody actually use that phrase to describe international relations? You want harmony prior to American meddling, you gotta go back to the age of Roman meddling.

There aren't a whole lot of historical examples of peace without a superpower (preferrably just one)
 
Please see clarification above. My bad.
 
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