Zippidy Doo Da

I'm not stupid, I'm from Texas!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chupie file

The Houston Chronicle, an organ of the Hearst Corporation, the people that brought us the Spanish American War, surprised me with two Outlook articles that gave me hope of change for the better in our foreign policy next year.

The front page has a piece from Charles V. Pena, from the libertarian Cato Institute calling for a cutback in military spending. He suggests that we might be more secure if we didn’t spend hundreds of billions of dollars every year to keep hundreds of thousands of US troops in over one hundred and forty foreign countries.

And back on page four is an article by CIA-ex John Kiriakou, who tells of growing Iranian influence and investment in Venezuela, which it has been arming, Paraguay, whose president has appointed a Hezbollah-friendly Foreign Minister, and Bolivia, where Iranian citizens may now travel without a visa.

Kiriakou winds up the piece with policy proposals to deal with these developments. He says that the US must engage Latin America diplomatically to improve political and economic relations. We must pay attention to the region, invest money there, negotiate trade agreements; and come up with new immigration policies to win over Latin Americans.

I believe that ideas like this will be important as we try to get out from under Cheney and company. Democrats have long been vulnerable to charges of being squishy on defense, and we must keep the pressure on them lest they pull troops out from Iraq only to be sending them off to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Carjackistan, etc.

I’ve been listening to Andrew Bacevich speak about how the unintended consequences of military operations often outweigh any good outcomes; and reading Tim Weiner’s CIA history has me thinking that often the things we do in secret ought not be done at all.

We’ve sent a government off to Washington next year that’s equipped to do something beyond gridlock. Let’s see that it goes in the right direction.


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