Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Chait v. Giuliani I

Foreign policy is truly foreign to Rudy Giuliani

What are Giuliani's credentials? Everybody knows the basics. On September 11, 2001, he rolled up his shirt sleeves and gave reassuring speeches. He has a tough guy persona. He expresses extremely strong disapproval for enemies of the United States. (For instance, Giuliani has bragged about asking President Bush to let him personally execute Osama bin Laden.)

All this makes Republicans swoon....If having a macho swagger and talking tough about bad guys were enough to make a good commander in chief, we wouldn't have the worst foreign policy disaster in U.S. history on our hands right now in Iraq. And, need I remind anybody, one of the reasons Giuliani hasn't been able to fulfill his Bin Laden execution fantasy is that Bush allowed the Al Qaeda leader to escape at Tora Bora by using Afghan proxies instead of U.S. ground troops.

Last week, Giuliani said that Lincoln had "that ability that a leader has--a leader like George Bush, a leader like Ronald Reagan--to look into the future."

A few days later, The New York Times revealed that the 2002 postwar plan for Iraq envisioned a broadly representative Iraqi government, an intact Iraqi army, and just a handful of U.S. troops remaining. I would say this is not a good job of looking into the future

I'm sure Giuliani and his fans would dismiss such slip-ups, and there have been many, as mere detail. The important thing to them is leadership--Bush has it; Giuliani has it.

Giuliani raked in millions after 9/11, appearing at motivational seminars, where anybody with $49 could listen to him recount his 9/11 heroics and also take in speeches by such foreign policy titans as Zig Ziglar and Goldie Hawn. Giuliani also wrote a book promising to show "how the leadership skills he practices can be employed successfully by anyone who has to run anything."

But if anybody who buys his book can acquire the same leadership skills, why do we need Giuliani?

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