Saturday, July 22, 2006

Seven Sins

Having just posted on the subject of John Bolton's performance at the UN, this might be a good time to mention a new book I've just received. Loch K. Johnson of the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia has just published a book entitled Seven Sins of American Foreign Policy. I haven't had a chance to read it yet, but I can list the sins. (In fact, however useful his summary and discussion may be, Johnson is not breaking any new ground here. Most people could probably come up with a similar list of sins without ever having seen this book.) Here they are:
  1. Ignorance
  2. Executive Branch Dominance
  3. Excessive Emphasis on the Military
  4. Unilateralism
  5. Isolationism
  6. Lack of Empathy
  7. Arrogance

As Johnson aptly notes (p. xvi), "The sins of American foreign policy have roots that extend more deeply than just the controversial decisions of the second Bush administration." As an example of this point, it's worth noting that when President Clinton traveled to Rwanda to offer an apology for the United States' failure to respond to the genocide in 1994, he disingenuously apologized for American ignorance rather than for the nation's lack of empathy. Still, the current administration seems to be breaking records--and perhaps counting on some cheap grace.