Scholars flunk Bush on foreign policy


Jeff Horwitz
October 13, 2004 1:54AM (UTC)

An open letter to the Bush administration from a group called "Security Scholars for a Sensible Foreign Policy" argues that the Bush administration's foreign policy is a catastrophe of historic proportions.

With more than 700 signatories from professors of politics and international relations at institutions including Stanford, Princeton and the University of Wales, the letter begins by declaring, "We judge that the current American policy centered around the war in Iraq is the most misguided one since the Vietnam period," and goes on to catalog the low points of the Bush administration's foreign relations (with proper footnoting, of course).

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More from the letter:

"It is a fact that the early shift of U.S. focus to Iraq diverted U.S. resources, including special operations forces and intelligence capabilities, away from direct pursuit of the fight against the terrorists.

"The excessive U.S. focus on Iraq led to weak and inadequate responses to the greater challenges posed by North Koreas and Irans nuclear programs, and diverted resources from the economic and diplomatic efforts needed to fight terrorism in its breeding grounds in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and elsewhere in the Middle East. Worse, American actions in Iraq, including but not limited to the scandal of Abu Ghraib, have harmed the reputation of the U.S. in most parts of the Middle East and, according to polls, made Osama Bin Laden more popular in some countries than is President Bush. This increased popularity makes it easier for al-Qaida to raise money, attract recruits, and carry out its terrorist operations than would otherwise be the case."

Dr. Stuart Kaufman, a professor at the University of Delaware who organized the letter, told War Room that trying to assemble an equal number of academic supporters for the Bush administration would be "exceptionally difficult," and added, "what we wrote represents the overwhelming consensus of people in the field."

"We're educators," he said. "We want to educate the American public and move beyond the debate over the facts, which shouldn't be in question, and start to think about what we can do now."

What would members of the group suggest as a first step toward fixing America's foreign policy? "We're advising the administration, which is already in a deep hole," says professor Richard Samuels of MIT in the accompanying press release, "to stop digging."

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Jeff Horwitz

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