Letter to Democrats on Foreign Policy
1039, Longworth House Office Building
Washington DC 20515
Wednesday, April 28, 2004
I am enclosing a copy of a letter that has been sent to British Prime Minister Tony Blair by a group of fifty former British ambassadors and senior diplomatic officials, including former British ambassadors to Israel, Iraq and the United Nations. According to former Foreign Secretary Robin Cook, this letter also had the support of currently serving ambassadors in the Middle East who cannot publicly criticize their government’s policy.
The letter expresses “deepening concern” at British support for illegal U.S. policies on the Arab-Israeli problem and for the war in Iraq, and at the inability of the British government to “exert real influence as a loyal ally”. It concludes, “If that (influence) is unacceptable or unwelcome, there is no case for supporting policies which are doomed to failure”.
This comes at a time when our country is increasingly isolated. Recent weeks have seen Spain, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Norway, Thailand, New Zealand, Kazakhstan and Singapore withdraw all their forces from Iraq, and large majorities in the UN Security Council and General Assembly opposed this war from the outset. The violence against civilians in Falluja and Najaf and the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib are only serving to strengthen resistance in Iraq and increase our isolation from the civilized world.
It is easy to criticize President Bush’s unilateral and violent policies, but they are the culmination of a larger failure of U.S. policymakers to develop a vision and a strategy for the post-Cold War era based on international law, peaceful cooperation, and incremental disarmament. Instead, our governing institutions have indulged in opportunistic and self-serving policies to exploit our present economic and military dominance at the expense of more general interests and concerns that are shared by the rest of the world. The resulting international isolation in which we find ourselves fifteen years after the end of the Cold War serves neither the narrow interests we have defined for ourselves nor the broader interests of humanity as a whole. This has been a sad experiment in “lose-lose” policymaking.
This election season is a belated opportunity for the Democratic Party to define a new vision for the 21st century and present it to the American people. We are listening. And so is the rest of the world.