Monday, March 06, 2006

All this foreign policy done hurt my think-bone

L.A. Times published an editorial today analyzing the disaster that is George W. Bush's foreign policy by applying the 5 Principles of Foreign Policy laid out by William Ewart Gladstone nearly 130 years ago. These principles were laid out in a series of speeches during a heated political campaign in the U.K. and yet they remain quite relevant even today. The 5 Principles of Foreign Policy are summarized in the following list...
  1. Foster the strength of the empire by just legislation and economy at home
  2. The aim of foreign policy should be "to preserve to the nations of the world … the blessings of peace."
  3. "Even when you do a good thing," Gladstone observed, "you may do it in so bad a way that you may entirely spoil the beneficial effect."
  4. To avoid needless and entangling engagements.
  5. To acknowledge the equal rights of all nations.
Number 3 sure seems to just jump out at you when you think about U.S. foreign policy at the moment. Admittedly, foreign policy has to be far more flexible than would be allowed in such a list of general principles, but if the U.S. government thought about Gladstone's principles a little more often, maybe we wouldn't be stuck in a quagmire in Iraq.