December 02, 2004

Global Test Redux

Why the president misunderestimates "multilateralism". Hopefully the first of many posts on the topic. I should add that inevitably there are going to be times when the U.S. "goes it alone", and it may even be the right thing to do. But in those cases, the exceptions should prove the rule, rather than shatter it.

More crucially, whatever the path foreign policy takes over the next few years, the U.S. would do well to encourage dissent from the UN. If France and Germany are opposed to this or that action, it may well be because they genuinely believe it's a bad idea. That's important: Even if France and Germany also happen to have darker, ulterior motives for opposition, that certainly doesn't mean they're wrong about it being a bad idea. World leaders know a lot about the world, and their judgments are worth sounding out, especially since, in the case of Iraq, it doesn't seem like France and Germany were entirely wrong about the "bad idea" bit. This, I think, is where the ballyhooed "global test" matters: Even if you don't think you have pancreatic cancer, it's worth asking around and getting a second opinion. (Or whatever... the analogy's obviously not the point here.)
-- Brad Plumer 4:50 PM || ||