Saturday, July 07, 2007

"The U.S. is more hawk than dove and is heading toward vulture status"

Thank goodness for John H. Brown, who e-mails me “PUBLIC DIPLOMACY PRESS AND BLOG REVIEW from USC Public Diplomacy. If I didn’t receive these frequent alerts from Brown, I wouldn’t really what’s going on. For instance, yesterday I received links to 57 articles, and the 4th article was titled Going from Hawk to Dove, by Gretchen Greiner, posted July 3 at Foreign Policy in Focus.

The article opens with this bolded paragraph: “The United States is more hawk than dove and heading toward vulture status, according to the recently launched Global Peace Index (GPI) ranking of 121 countries. Finishing up far back in the pack at No. 96, the United States was deemed less peaceful than Yemen, Cambodia, and Serbia. In particular, America won demerits for the number of prison inmates, size of military, and overseas troop deployments.”

The article includes an explanation of how the GPI is weighted and a suggestion that to move from hawk to dove, the U.S. needs to change its feathers, which Greiner describes as “transfeatheration,” which I find clever and apt.

Greiner gives several examples of transfeatheration, including:

1. “At the level of foreign policy, the Senate Armed Services Committee is currently writing its version of the FY 2008 defense authorization bill and is expected to make appropriations by the end of the summer. Previously, in its version of the bill, the House defeated both an amendment to permit U.S. bases in Iraq as well as an amendment to increase ballistic missile spending. Also, funding for the “Reliable Replacement Warhead,” a dangerous new generation of nuclear weapons programs, was cut by $45 million. Finally, an amendment to investigate the status of Guantanamo Bay detainees passed.

2. “…[T]he House just passed the State Foreign Operations Appropriations bill and sent it to the Senate. The bill provides for greater spending on public diplomacy, $6.5 billion in spending on global health, and modest cuts in foreign military financing. These are incremental steps, to be sure, but they point in the direction of greater diplomacy, dialogue, and development.”

Greiner concludes, “The GPI doesn’t measure these attributes of national policy. But if the U.S. government continues in this direction, not only will it rebuild its reputation in the world, it will no longer rank so embarrassingly low on the Global Peace Index.”

Greiner appears ambivalent, stating that we are moving to "vulture status," then expressing hope that we can rebuild our reputation in the world if we continue to move in the direction indicated by her examples. I understand being ambivalent; I keep waffling on whether or not Bush is likely to attack Iran.


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