I'm rather late in getting to this wonderful article in the Washington Monthly, but I urge you to read Ted Sorenson's speech, the one that he would like to hear the next Democratic nominee give. It's an eloquent summary of many important ways the Bush administration and its cronies have tarnished the country, and it has some great ideas for first steps in rehabilitating our politics and international reputation. One part of this is his enumeration of immediate foreign policy goals:
To meet the threats we face and restore our place of leadership in the free world, I pledge to do the following:Hopefully some of our presidential candidates have read this, too.
First, working with a representative Iraqi parliament, I shall set a timetable for an orderly, systematic redeployment and withdrawal of all our troops in Iraq...
Second, this redeployment shall be only the first step in a comprehensive regional economic and diplomatic stabilization plan for the entire Middle East, building a just and enduring peace between Israel and Palestine, halting the killing and maiming of innocent civilians on both sides, and establishing two independent sovereign states, each behind peacefully negotiated and mutually recognized borders.
Third, I shall as soon as possible transfer all inmates out of the Guantanamo Bay prison and close down that hideous symbol of injustice.
Fourth, I shall fly to New York City to pledge in person to the United Nations, in the September 2009 General Assembly, that the United States is returning to its role as a leader in international law, as a supporter of international tribunals, and as a full-fledged member of the United Nations which will pay its dues in full, on time, and without conditions, renouncing any American empire...
Fifth, I shall personally sign the Kyoto Protocol, and seek its ratification by the United States Senate... and I shall call upon the Congress to take action dramatically reducing our nation’s reliance on the carbon fuels that are steadily contributing to the degradation of our environment.
Sixth, I shall demonstrate sufficient confidence in the strength of our values and the wisdom and skill of our diplomats to favor communications, negotiations, and full relations with every country on earth, including Cuba, North Korea, Palestine, and Iran.
Finally, I shall restore the constitutional right of habeas corpus, abolish the unconstitutional tapping of private phones, and once again show the world the traditional American values that distinguish us from those who attacked us on 9/11.