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Will U.S. Foreign Policy Change if the Democrats Win the Midterm Elections?

Most pundits don't expect the Democrats to (be able to) change much. Foreign Policy Magazine asked a few experts to predict US foreign policy if the Democrats win. Mark Halperin expresses an optimistic opinion on bipartisan cooperation:
Forget partisan warfare matching that of 1993–2006. President Bush and Speaker Pelosi (and/or Majority Leader Reid) would recognize the need to work together or face two years of stalemate. Watch for an immigration deal, a bipartisan "peace with honor" Rose Garden announcement on Iraq, and a joint 41/42 (Bush/Clinton) presidential diplomatic mission to the Middle East.
The latest polls see Republicans keeping Senate control. Lee Feinstein, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former Defense and State Department official during the Clinton administration, opines that Iraq policy will not change much, even if the Democrats gain control of the Senate. Joe Biden would be elected chairman of the Foreign Relations committee and "hold hearings that look comprehensively at what the administration has described as the 'global war on terrorism' in an effort to disaggregate the problem. This would entail hearings on Iraq, Afghanistan, and on counterterrorism strategy more broadly." President Bush, however, will stay the course, according to Feinstein's prediction:
On the strength of this conviction he was prepared to go into Iraq without international support. He is prepared to stay there now without domestic support. This White House believes there is already too much congressional oversight so it will push back against efforts to apply more scrutiny.
While Feinstein also opines
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has pursued a policy of undoing the Bush policies of the first term, for example, proposing talks with Iran and North Korea. Democratic control of the Senate in particular would tend to reinforce the more moderate direction in foreign policy undertaken by Secretary Rice.
Neocon Joshua Muravchik launches "Operation Comeback": "Neoconservatives have the president's ear, but they also have lots of baggage. To stay relevant, they must admit mistakes, embrace public diplomacy, and start making the case for bombing Iran."

The Feinstein interview was recommended by Dr. Andrew Denison, director of Transatlantic Networks, a research consortium based in Koenigswinter, Germany. On November 3, 2006, he participated in the German TV debate "International Military Missions: Where are the Results?", which focuses on Germany's participation in ISAF (Afghanistan) and UNIFIL (Lebanon). You can watch the video of English language debate at DW World.

UPDATE: "As the U.S. Congressional elections draw near, Democrats and Republicans disparage their opponents in ways Germans cannot even imagine.", opines Reymer Kluever in the Sueddeutsche Zeitung. The editorial is translated into English at Watching America.

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Atlantic Review on : US Election Results and Direct Democracy

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According to CNN projections at 4:30 a.m. EST (10:30 in Germany):  Democrats and Republicans have secured 49 seats in the Senate. Two Senate races are still undecided. In the House of Representatives, Democrats secured 227 seats and Republicans 191 s

Atlantic Review on : Two American Experts Comment on the European Reactions to the U.S. Elections

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The Atlantic Review has already written about German Reactions to the Midterm Elections. Americans are now commenting about the European reactions to the elections: "Aspen Institute Berlin Director Jeffrey Gedmin has an interesting and useful piece,

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Don S on :

I hae to disagree with the MSNBC link about the US Senate races you cited, Joerg. What we're seeing is two almust certain Democratic pickups with 4 races hanging by a gnats eyelash. In the latter 4 races the difference is less than the margin of error of the polls. There is one Democratic seat which may go GOP (about a 25% chance of that in Maryland). The momemtum may be going the GOP way in RI and Montana but it's running against Allen (R) in Virginia. Missouri is hard to tell. Maryland is getting very close with Steele now within 3 points of Cardin (D). Steele got the endorsement of many of the states black leader next week & that could make the difference in a state 30% black. Hard to say whether he can make uop the distance in time....

David on :

The Democrats will do what Senator Fulbright did during the Vietnam War: hold hearings on the deception and massive incompetence in the conduct of the Iraq War. President Bush has promised to stay the course with the wretched incompetence of Rumsfeld and "Vice President Waterboard", but perhaps we can limit the damage for the next two years with some congressional oversight.

joe on :

David, Jon Curry would be a great replacement for Rummy, don't you think?

Zyme on :

Yeah, as Jon Pepper is clearly not qualified enough.

Chris on :

The commander in chief in 2007 will be the same commander in chief we have today. However, there are some potential changes from either a Democratic House or Senate. 1.) Testifying. There will be a lot of under-oath sessions in the Congress. This has been lacking under GOP leadership. 2.) Rumsfeld. George W. Bush may be the Decider, but he is decidedly prone to bucking his gut when there is a political firestorm. Case in point: Harriet Miers. Look for Don to be a major punching bag as 2008 approaches. He will eventually produce more drag than the mediocre Fighter pilot in chief can tolerate. 3.) Gridlock. There will be no partisan renaissance -- no era of good feelings. Politicians mirror the electorate, and the electorate is divisive. When America is prosperous and peaceful, consensus rules the day in the Congress and on Main Street. 2006, 2007 and 2008 do not appear to be years that match that description. 4.) Biden. Joe Biden is a foreign policy addict with clear ambitions for 2008. He's going to press hard, if he has a committee to do it. While I think his idea of partition is not sound, he will at least have a positive impact on the level of public discourse. We may see a smarter electorate for 2008, and that is a very good thing no matter which party wins. 5.) (Or Biden 2.0) We will see much more partisanship from the Senate than we will from the House -- it's a historical precedent and likely just with the populations involved. If the Democrats take the former, the political climate will be far more productive than if the Democrats can only see the latter.

Dr. Dean on :

The question: "Will U.S. Foreign Policy Change if the Democrats Win the Midterm Elections?" My answer: "Yes, indeed!" [b]A new Zeitalter will begin.[/b]

David on :

Chris, Good points all. Have you heard Jim Webb speak? If he wins today, he may replace Biden as the go-to person in the Senate on foreign policy issues.

Don S on :

"As the U.S. Congressional elections draw near, Democrats and Republicans disparage their opponents in ways Germans cannot even imagine." Ah you civilised Europeans.... Remer, think again. If you want to 'imagine' US-style denunciations look closer to home. Look at the pages of Der Speigel, Paris Match, Le Monde, and 'leading' Spanish and Italian newspapers. Bush has been equated with an ape fairly regularly. Neither Bush nor Kerry went that far in 2004. Not nearly.....

JW-Atlantic Review on :

Why do you talk about parts of the independent media rather than election campaigns?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

"Bush has been equated with an ape fairly regularly." I don't think so. Got some evidene?

Don S on :

'"ho do you believe? Me or you're lyin' eyes?" I've seen it in the pages of the Guardian and the Independent. I also spend time on MedienKritik.

Don S on :

I doubt it. Webb will be popular with the news media to be sure. He has a lot of controversial things to say - thinks which will cause Hilary Clinton or Howard Dean as much or more discomfort as George Bush or John McCain....

David on :

What an insult to primates everywhere...

JW-Atlantic Review on :

@ Don In God we trust. Everyone else must bring data. I have tried to verify your claim "Bush has been equated with an ape fairly regularly." but Google only gives me examples of commentators at David's Medienkritik, who [b]believe [/b]that Bush is equated with monkeys/apes. I think they are just believers in Truthiness (i.e. making up the "truth" as they see fit, without relying on evidence). They probably suffer from the hostile media phenomenon: [url]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hostile_media_phenomenon[url] (These commentators also talk about French "surrender monkeys", and "jihad monkeys") I have not found a single post at Davids Medienkritk about a single example in the German media equating Bush with an ape. Since I am not a big fan of Truthiness, I think you need to substantiate claims like "Bush has been equated with an ape fairly regularly." Besides, "fairly regularly" sounds like "once a month" (or like "every two months" or so), does not it? So where in Medienkritik did you see it?

influx on :

Don S's comment seems to be symptomatic of more than a few US bloggers and commentators whose only news source on all things German is medienkritik.

Don S on :

Ah well, my comments usually seem to be symptoimatic of something. If only symptomatic of pseudointellectual pretentioisness on the part of the observer.... ;)

joe on :

influx, I agree. Germany is a solid ally of the US. Where would the US be without Germany and france?

Don S on :

Where would the US be? Better off? At least we'd know who our adversaries are. If it walks like a duck & quacks like a duck and gets together with lady ducks in the springtime and little duck eggs soon appear - chances are that it's a duck. France is an adversary. Germany is a slightly more half-hearted adversary. I prefer Russia, China, and India......

influx on :

I was merely pointing out that by exclusively relying on medienkritik for your German news you may well end up thinking that "Bush has been equated with an ape fairly regularly", a claim you couldn't back up with a single link. I never said that Germany is a solid ally of the US, but if it makes you feel better to put words in my mouth, go ahead, you obviously are quite creative when it comes to facts.

JW-Atlantic Review on :

I agree. I have written [url=http://medienkritik.typepad.com/blog/2006/11/deutsche_welles.html#comment-25104567]a few comments at Davids Medienkritik asking them about this[/url]. David has inserted his response within my first comment.

influx on :

Hey, I rest my case, the reasonable folks over at medienkritik have produced one example where a comparison between Bush, Blair and chimpansees was implied. Now, one example obviously amounts to "fairly regularly". How about some non-sequitor Nazi remarks now, joe, I think it's about high time.

joe on :

Well this should make all here very happy. Ted Kennedy has redefined Europe. The demos new Europe are members of the "chocolate summit". They are now to be brought into the loop on US foreign policy. I guess having learned Americans really were not all that impressed with the idea of have US foreign policy dictated by the UN, he feels the members of the "chocolate summit" are better. They are more in agreement with the left in the US. I think with maybe the exception of few nations like Poland, UK, Denmark, the demos should expand this to include all the euros. So yes it does seem American foriegn policy will change. The question is can berlin and paris agree on where America should spent its treasure.

influx on :

joe, Poland really has been a model democracy in the last year or two. No corruption, no xenophobia, a vibrant economy.

Don S on :

I googled Edward Kennedy and could not find anything particularly recent. The 'Chocolate Summit' seems to have been a meeting between France, Germany, Belgium, and Luxemborg just after the combat phase of the Iraq War finished. It doesn't seem to have been particularly memorable as 'summits' go.... I think Joe is saying that Senator Kennedy agrees with the positions taken by those four countries at that time.

Don S on :

Having fun over there, Joerg? BTW, of COURSE the ape comparisons are in the editorial cartoons! It was pretty unusual to see an 'serious' editorial sneering ar Bush's intellect captioned by a cartoon of Chimpy Bushitler. It's a single message, Joerg. Whether you wish to believe it or not. And no, it's not in good fun. Funny once perhaps. After 10 variations on the theme the humor has worn off. After 100 or 300 the 'humor' has been pureed like the bodies of a soldier at Verdun....

Don S on :

Pardon Moi - I meant usual. There is an editorial cartoonist at the Times who draws a 'chimpy cartoon' twice a week, I swear. Tuesdays and Fridays. It's the quintessance of wit...

joe on :

influx you mean....... No corruption, no xenophobia, a vibrant economy. Yes you are correct nothing like this exists in either france or germany. Those Poles are just stupid for being allies of the US. They need to stand up to power like Gerhard did......he showed the US. By do you think the Kennedys want only members of the chocolate summit to be considered europe.... because these are the brave warriors of europe.. they will defend us all....

joe on :

I don't get this ... you germans and euros are back in the loop and you don't even know it.... this is truly sad come on poeple keep up... the demos are in charge now and this is a speed train ... jump on board http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20061109/pl_nm/usa_elections_kennedy_dc_1 Don, As reported by Reuters

influx on :

joe, could you please just once try not to put words in my mouth and just address the things I actually said? Just because I mention some shortcomings in Poland does not mean I deny their existence in Germany, although I do have to wonder if you think that Poland's economy is anywhere near the German. And why do you always have to bring up France, what's that obsession about? Oh, and speaking of alliances, does the name Kenneh Hillas mean anything to you?

JW-Atlantic Review on :

I have not heard about Kenneth Hillas. Thanks to Google: SignOnSanDiego.com > News > World: [b]Polish ministry summons U.S. ambassador over accusation diplomat overstepped his bounds[/b] Deputy Prime Minister Roman Giertych has alleged that Kenneth Hillas, the No. 2 diplomat at the U.S. Embassy, suggested Giertych – a longtime opponent of Poland's support of the U.S. in Iraq – be dismissed. Alleged details of the conversation with the aide to Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski were leaked to the media and the case has generated intense coverage that could complicate otherwise-close relations between Warsaw and Washington. According to segments of a Polish government document summarizing the conversation published by Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper, the comments were made in reaction to [b]demands by Giertych for a parliamentary debate focusing on the civilian casualties in Iraq. Hillas allegedly said: “If the deputy prime minister of a country like Germany, France or Denmark made such comments, he would be dismissed.”[/b] Giertych, who heads the ultraconservative League of Polish Families, a junior member in government, called for “firm intervention in relation to these unacceptable practices of interference in the internal affairs of our country.” Schilling confirmed the meeting and said it was confidential. He denied Hillas called for Giertych's removal. [url]http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/world/20061107-1336-poland-us.html[/url]

JW-Atlantic Review on :

You don't like German humor and Spiegel covers? Check out this cover of a Polish magazine: [url]http://www.wprost.pl/cover/?I=1086[/url]

Don S on :

I have no idea who (or what that cover is about, Joerg. Gerhard Schroeder and his 5th wife? Has Gerd switched to the olymic symbol (5 gold rings)? ;)

influx on :

That's Erika Steinbach, president of the "Federation of Expellees" in an SS uniform, riding Gerhard Schroeder, a picture that should be right down joe's alley: uncalled-for nazi references.

Don S on :

Well - I think that what Gerd and Erica do in the privacy of their own bedoom is private. Or in hotel rooms, rest areas on the autobahn, farmer's fields, or in the middle of the Reeperbahn.... What starts in the bedroom stays in the bedroom. It's a core principal of the Republican Party. Er, well - it's become one ever since Democratic inestigators began sniffing GOP scanties for evidence of sportiveness. And if Gerhard and Erica need a little symbology to revive flagging powers - well why not?

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