Rudy Giuliani is scary

Bits from Giuliani’s essay in Foreign Affairs

  • Civilization itself, and the international system, had come under attack by a ruthless and radical Islamist enemy.” Our “Islamist” enemy has no civilization, apparently… I wonder why they hate us?
  • He keeps referring to the “Terrorists’ War on Us” — what an awkward phrase.
  • “America must remember one of the lessons of the Vietnam War…” For Rudy, this lesson is that the United States should have never withdrawn from Vietnam. Pulling out of Vietnam resulted in “numerous deaths in places such as the killing fields of Cambodia, a newly energized and expansionist Soviet Union, and a weaker America.” Rudy doesn’t like history much — the Khmer Rouge wouldn’t have even come to power were it not for the U.S.; shortly after Vietnam, the U.S.S.R. was drawn into Afghanistan and became weaker and weaker, and America remained the dominant global power. Rudy’s on crack.
  • “We must rebuild a military force…” The way to stop terrorism evidently is to make our military even bigger. We’re not doing so poorly in Iraq due to marginal equipment and a poorly trained military! Are we to believe that 9/11 wouldn’t have happened if our military was stronger?
  • “Constellations of satellites that can watch arms factories everywhere around the globe, day and night, above- and belowground, combined with more robust human intelligence, must be part of America’s arsenal.” Sounds great, but I don’t know how effective satellites really will be to stop terror. Also, how does a satellite observe “belowground”? That’d be impressive.
  • “Holding serious talks may be advisable even with our adversaries, but not with those bent on our destruction or those who cannot deliver on their agreements.” How would one make the distinction between “adversaries” and “those bent on our destruction”? Seems to not really be saying all that much…
  • “Transnational terrorists and other rogue actors have difficulty operating where the state system is strong, and they flourish where it is weak.” What does this mean? Is Saudi Arabia not a strong enough government? 
  • “Washington should also make clear that only if China and Russia move toward democracy, civil liberties, and an open and uncorrupted economy will they benefit from the vast possibilities available in the world today.” That’s kind of like Spud Webb trying to block Shaquille O’Neal. Laughable. 
  • “Finally, we need to look realistically at America’s relationship with the United Nations. The organization can be useful for some humanitarian and peacekeeping functions, but we should not expect much more of it.” Giuliani spends the entire time arguing for strengthening the “state system,” and then also wants to start moving away from the UN. The strong state system he supports seems to be the United States doing whatever it wants, with weaker states accepting what they’re forced to accept. I’m sure that’ll be a hit internationally.
  • “The steadfast leadership of President Reagan, working alongside British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Pope John Paul II, helped the Soviet Union understand that it could not bully the West into submission.” Clearly, Soviet fear of Reagan, Thatcher, and the Pope led to their collapse, and nothing else. Giuliani is the next Reagan. Terrorists would hear his strong leadership, and disband immediately.

Giuliani would be another George W. Bush: another president with no foreign policy experience who views everything through a Manichaean lens. He appears willing to bend history to fit his own foreign policy goal of continuing the unilateral turn in U.S. foreign affairs under Bush 43. Why are we supposed to believe that Giuliani’s experience as mayor of New York City gives him any special authority on terrorism? Furthermore, Giuliani never seriously addressed terrorism after the 1993 WTC attack, and didn’t do much either after 9/11, despite all the hyperbole about “America’s Mayor. It wouldn’t seem like such a big deal were it not for Giuliani running on his supposed national security credentials. NYC Firefighters aren’t buying it, and hopefully Republicans won’t either. Rudolph Giuliani would not be a good president. 


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Graham Davis lives in Lansing, Michigan.

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