Our foreign policy debate right now pits radicals against conservatives. Republicans are the radicals. Democrats are the conservatives.
That jarring but shrewd perspective, offered by Anthony Lake, President Clinton's former national security adviser, explains much that is strange in our national discussion. And while Lake is critical of President Bush's policies, he does not use the word 'radical' to make a partisan point. He is also critical of his party's newly discovered conservatism.
Democrats have been in a box since the Iraq debate began because they have always identified with the emphasis on spreading democracy that is at the heart of Bush's rhetoric, but are deeply uneasy with the use of military force to impose new regimes, even democratic ones, on other nations. They want to preserve alliances and the old institutions of international cooperation.
All this, says Lake, now a professor at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service, is why Democrats are today's conservatives.
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