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Clark’s Strawman


I haven’t read Wes Clark’s speech yesterday about forging a new anti-terror alliance. But I’m very dubious that he is going to get Israel and Arab countries to join the same security organization, as he apparently proposed. Clark said the Bush administration has been correct to modernize old notions of collective security and deterrence, “but it is wrong to insist that the alternative must be unilateral preemption.” This is an egregious strawman. I don’t think the administration has ever “insisted” on unilateral preemption as the alternative. Unilateralism is only the fallback when multilateralism fails. What Clark and others never explain is what they would have done once France made it clear that it didn’t consider UN Resolution 1441 the final chance it was supposed to be. Would France have had a veto over our invasion of Iraq, even when it was clearly acting in bad faith and in opposition to U.S. interests? Or would Clark have become a “unilateralist” too? It’s hard to take anyone seriously who won’t face up to that question.


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