Walz: Bush Preoccupied With National Security

By Eric Black, Star Tribune

Minneapolis Star Tribune , MN
April 13 2007

The Minnesota Democrat told a university audience that U.S. foreign
policy has more than one priority.

Since 9/11, Bush administration foreign policy has been myopically
focused on national security, U.S. Rep. Tim Walz told a Minneapolis
audience Thursday.

National security is a priority, Walz said at the University of
Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute, but not the only one. And the
single-minded focus has undermined the United States’ standing in
the world and other important interests, he said.

Walz listed several examples:

~U The United States has neglected Latin America because Latin America
can’t do much to help America fight terrorism.

~U The United States hasn’t involved itself enough in the humanitarian
disaster in Darfur because that disaster doesn’t pose a security
threat to this country.

~U A bill that Walz is cosponsoring to recognize the World War I-era
Turkish genocide against Armenians is running into administration
resistance for fear that it will anger Turkey, an important Mideast

In a talk titled "Tomorrow’s Foreign Policy," Walz said the worst
thing about politics is the tendency to reduce everything to false
dichotomies, as if every question must be answered in black or white
terms. Walz, a Democrat, said that was typified by Republican efforts
to portray all alternatives to President Bush’s Iraq policy as "cut
and run."

After Walz made an appearance on MSNBC’s "Hardball," he said, an
experienced Democratic operative told him that his only mistake was
the use of the word "nuance." The operative told him the word "just
confuses the American people."

But, Walz said, speaking as part of a Humphrey Institute series
designed to give elected officials a chance to go deep on an issue,
"the problems we face require us to look beyond the simple dichotomies
and sound bites."

The roots of the oversimplification of foreign policy were in the
attacks of 9/11 and the U.S. attitude that "everything changed,"
according to Walz.

Not everything changed, Walz said. Ethnic hatreds broiling within
many nations hadn’t changed, nor had the division of the world into
richer and poorer.

When the United States decided that because it had been attacked,
the whole world had changed, other nations felt Washington was
disconnecting itself from them, Walz said.

The U.S. standing in the world is at an all-time low, Walz said, "and
that matters."It may make a good country song to say, ‘The heck with
you, we’re tough enough and we don’t care what you think," Walz said,
"but it doesn’t make a good foreign policy."