Foreign policy community: credit where credit is due

My colleague Ilan Goldenberg pushes back against what has, I think, moved from an understandable critique of right wing foreign policy establishment crazies and a certain group of Democrats who enable them — almost exclusively members of Clinton’s second term security staff — to a condemnation of everybody who works on foreign policy for a living.

Go read it. It’s short, sweet, and on point.

The problem is not that Democrats don’t have anybody good working on foreign policy, it’s that the good ones are consistently overlooked for the likes of O’Hanlon, Pollack, Beinart, etc. The fact that those guys keep showing up on your teevee is a *media* problem, not a policy one. Would I like for some of these guys — especially many of the Republicans; the Kagan family, anybody? — to be banished from the realm of respectability, the best way to effect that is to elevate better people. People like a Rand Beers (who resigned on the eve of the Iraq war after 35 years of government service and now runs a think tank) or Brian Katulis (a Middle East expert at CAP who actually speaks the language and has spent time in the region — crazy, I know) or Steve Simon (of the Council on Foreign relations — the horror!).

Established institutions such as New America Foundation and newer ones including the Center for American Progress and (I’m biased on this one, but still) the National Security Network do great things. Just Wednesday, after Bush’s horrifying speech on Wednesday, NSN immediately got dozens of reporters on a conference call with a who’s who of military and security people to push back against the president’s absurd conclusions, which helped establish a better media narrative.

I’ve mostly avoided the blogosphere debate over Very Serious People and the Foreign Policy Establishment, but I should say that I think many of the criticisms are insightful and legitimate. That doesn’t mean, however, that good people, pieces, and actions should be ignored.

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