Saturday, January 13, 2007

Questionable Appointment

Nathaniel Hurd in New York, a senior fellow of the NCF, draws our attention to an Ethics and Public Policy Center, press release, "Rick Santorum Joins Ethics and Public Policy Center, Establishes Program on America's Enemies", 9 January 2007


Nathaniel comments : The press release and underlying program description are worth a full read.

When he was a US Senator, Santorum was spectacular on a lot of foreign policy issues, including HIV/AIDS, international abortion, the US foreign assistance budget and a long list of Africa-related issues.

On other foreign policy issues though, he regularly promoted inaccurate information, sloppy analysis and policies bad for the people in the countries most affected, as well as the US. His rhetoric about Iraq and Iran during the 2006 election were among the worst examples of this. He obviously knew very little about Iran, Iraq, the rest of the Middle East, South Asia, Islam, Muslims and policies most likely to help end conflicts in the Middle East and South Asia.

For the opposite approach and perhaps the best resource for information, analysis and policy recommendations on international conflict see International Crisis Group

Like Santorum's approach to national and international security when he was in office, the "America's Enemies" program is based on flawed information, analysis and assumptions that will contribute very little that's positive to American foreign policy. As a serious attempt to improve American foreign policy, it's only slightly less satirical than The Onion, "State Department To Hold Enemy Tryouts Next Week", 21 October 1998. The program's approach to foreign policy is an approach that fuels conflict and insecurity, rather than helping to resolving them.

Santorum is an active Catholic. The Ethics and Public Policy Center features some very prominent Catholics, including George Weigel. It's unfortunate that they all missed an opportunity to advance the approach to foreign policy that the Holy See and US Conference of Catholic Bishops regularly promote: Principled pragmatism.

William comments: We bow to Nathaniel's wisdom on this as on many issues - though it does seem odd to hear him praise the ICG in the same breath - an organisation that sometimes has programs "based on flawed information, analysis and assumptions" and whose approach to foreign policy is sometimes "an approach that fuels conflict and insecurity, rather than helping to resolving them". The ICG has caused problems in the past, notably and massively destructively by promoting "vertical sovereignty" for Haram es Sharif, the policy that helped undermine the Clinton initiated peace process.

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