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Wednesday, February 23, 2005

An unlikely alliance?


Liberals and neo-conservatives have come together in an unlikely alliance in Washington. Driven by shared concerns over the erosion of democracy in Russia, both camps are piling the pressure on President George W. Bush to take a tough line at his meeting with President Vladimir Putin in Slovakia on Friday. Yet within Mr Bush's own party the issue has once more exposed fundamental foreign policy differences, with several prominent Republicans urging him to adopt a tempered approach, lest he damage vital strategic US interests.
First off, while I don't think we should try to impose any sanctions or trade barriers with Russia at this point, I support strongly calling a spade a spade. We may need to 'deal' with an increasingly undemocratic Russia, but we do not need to encourage it or pretend that we support the way Russia is heading. I am somewhat surprised by the idea that Liberals and neo-cons are considered an unlikely alliance. Historically, most of the leading neo-cons were once liberals who felt that the Democratic Party and Liberals in general had betrayed some of their basic principles as the left side of the political spectrum became increasingly anti-war, isolationist, and (on the fringes at least) anti-capitalism and anti-american. Obviously, many Liberals have continued to hold pro-democracy and pro-capitalist beliefs and they are the natural allies of the Neo-cons. Especially since the more traditional conservatives (paleo-cons) have long held a real-politic and often isolationist view of foreign policy. Of course one reason that an alliance between Liberals and Neo-cons is considered unlikely is the tendancy of both groups to treat the other as 'heretics.'


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