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    india..., 2004-10-15 11:02:46 | Main | there is no reconstruction..., 2004-10-18 10:39:24

    Surprise! The U of Chicago Political Science Department doesn't like Democracy:

    I haven't whined about somebody glossing over some precedent in US history before jumping on a moral high horse about some precedent in somebody else's history in a while. Daniel Drezner gives us some plain white bread to pick at:

    In response to Germany's apparent endorsement of Kerry, he complains "This manipulation of foreign policy against a formal ally to provoke a change in government is somewhat distasteful. ... The European actions are a venal sin, in that they contradict long-standing norms about overtly attempting to influence an ally's election... My point here is that ... there is a pretty strong norm against this sort of thing taking place among the G-7.".

    So what about Whitlam? Or direct US interference in Italian elections in 1948 and 1972? Weren't we just threatening to close US bases in Germany in response to their non-cooperation in the Iraq war? And for that matter, hasn't Europe been threatening to target tradable goods in swing states for some time in an effort to sabotage Bush's candidacy? As mere exceptions to prove the rule, you see, perhaps these efforts helped establish the norm! I'm curious if it's a venal sin to interefere in the elections on non-G7 countries, say, overthrowing Greece's government three times. Is it less venally sinful to violate the sovereignty of a Guatemala or an Iran, to make threats that influence El Salvador's election last year or to make repeated attempts to upset the government in Venezuela, or are sins established by mere established norms that haven't in fact been established?

    We know that it's wrong - in fact even worse - for the US to manipulate its own foreign policy in order to influence US elections, Drezner tells us so, but one wonders at his reasoning: "a government's manipulation of its own foreign policy such that it temporarily acts against the national interest in order to get re-elected".

    How are we defining the "national interest" such that efforts to appeal to the electorate is against it? Isn't the venal sin here the plans to act against the electorate's interests after the election? Shouldn't a democratic government always be trying to act in accord to its nation's wishes rather than merely doing so temporarily every 4 years? But Drezner's problem is that it tries to appeal to voters at all, rather than simply ignoring them and doing whatever it is - in this case a 'aggressive large-scale offensive in Iraq' - Drezner thinks is "in the national interest", apparently something that has nothing to do with mere mortal voters or the citizens of the foreign country many of them now occupy.

:: posted by buermann @ 2004-10-15 13:27:59 CST | link

    go ahead, express that vague notion

    your turing test:

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