Arguing for Shared Security in the NYTimes

May 5, 2016

I have a letter in today’s New York Times.  It’s title A New Foreign Policy Elite and responds to an op-ed piece yesterday by Evan Thomas (don’t know him) on Why We Need a Foreign Policy Elite.

The Times (as it does) edited my letter, largely by removing mention of Afghanistan/Iraq/Syria to the list of failings of the long-playing foreign policy elite we have.  They said Evan Thomas had noted that failing; I just don’t see that he did.  But I decided enough of my letter would survive that I wanted it published.  I wanted the occasion to say this:

Membership in that foreign policy elite requires unswerving commitment to the proposition that the United States must maintain overwhelming military superiority vis-à-vis the rest of the world. That commitment will bankrupt us while making us less and less secure.

And this:

We need a new foreign policy elite committed to seeking shared security in a partnership with other countries, one based in dignity and human rights, not unquestioned military might.

Of course I wouldn’t have used the word “elite” if I were writing my own piece, but a letter to the Times is a counter-punching opportunity.  I needed to stay somewhere in the frame that Evan Thomas provided.

I did want the term “Shared Security” to make it, and it did.  Shared Security is a Quaker view of U.S. foreign policy jointly produced by the American Friends Service Committee and Friends Committee on National Legislation.  I was one of many who helped launch that statement, and I’ve written about it before herehere, herehere, and here.

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About Doug Bennett

Doug Bennett is Emeritus President and Professor of Politics at Earlham College. He has a wife, Ellen, and two sons, Tommy (born 1984) and Robbie (born 2003).
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