Freedom Of Expression: Two Friday Benghazi Links-Eli Lake & David Harsanyi

Eli Lake at The Daily Beast: ‘Obama Administration Accused Of Slow Walking On Benghazi:’

‘Those emails suggested a haphazard process for arriving at the final talking points on Benghazi in the days and weeks after the attack. It also showed that ultimately the CIA’s then deputy director, Michael Morell removed lines in the drafts of those talking points saying it was an act of terrorism and linked to Islamic extremists.’

There was a tremendous amount of unrest throughout the Muslim world in the wake of the ‘Arab Spring.’ Long-standing governments of generations had fallen, while violent and potentially violent protests engulfed the region. One of the main thrusts of this administration’s foreign policy has been to appeal to those who would determine their own fates through democratic uprisings and ‘free and fair’ elections. This administration has placed a lot of faith, as well as arguably four American lives in this case, into a vision of the ‘moderate Muslim’ being able to lead to elective democracy in the wake of those changes.

Whether or not it would have saved lives is unclear, but I think it’s fair to speculate that a military response to the seven-hour firefight that went on in Benghazi would have inflamed, or been seen to inflame, these tensions, and certainly would jeopardize parts of this foreign policy vision.

I’m guessing this had a lot to do with the decision to send-out Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. at the time, to push this narrative and focus so heavily on a video made by an American citizen. Re-watching the video, and assuming no ulterior motives, Rice seems almost a little desperate, even, to cling to an explanation favorable to her interests:

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This part of David Harsanyi’s piece I definitely agree with:

‘First of all, the United States government should be actively defending the right of Americans to make stupid videos if they want. Not only does it have no right to make excuses for its citizens’ freedom of expression, it sets a dangerous precedent by doing so.’

Those are troubling instincts.

***In Egypt, a returned, al-Sisi led military autocracy executing Muslim Brotherhood members after the Brotherhood’s dramatic failure to govern is not exactly reassuring. In Syria, a full-on, protracted Civil War scenario attracting Islamists from all over is not exactly reassuring either. There’s been no real advancement on the presumed two-state solution for Israel/Palestine, while Libya remains a basket-case and funnel for Islamists around North Africa and also to Syria.

And from a reader.  Dexter Filkins at the New Yorker. Letter From Iraq-‘What We Left Behind.’

Not exactly a democracy, it seems:

‘When the last American soldiers left Iraq, at the end of 2011, the bloody civil war between the country’s Sunni and Shiite sects had been stifled but not resolved. Now the sectarian violence had returned, with terrifying intensity. For more than a year, thousands of Iraqis, nearly all of them members of the Sunni Arab minority, had been gathering to rail against Maliki’s Shiite-dominated government’

Addition:  How much of this is because of the withdrawal?

Via Mediaite: CBS 60 Minutes’ Lara Logan Apologizes for Erroneous Benghazi Survivor Report: ‘We Were Wrong’

Full video at the link.

This blog linked to the erroneous story, too, and shares in the wrongness:

‘In late October, 60 Minutes ran a report featuring the account of British security expert Dylan Davies – though he called himself Morgan Jones – who recounted in detail his actions in the early morning hours during the Benghazi attack.

It was later revealed that Davies told the FBI he did not visit the American diplomatic compound on the night of the attack and had not, as he claimed, seen the body of slain U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.’

Apologies.   Journalists and even rogue bloggers need to get the facts right as much as possible and use good judgment, even prudence, when in doubt.

This issue continues to be a hot-button politically while investigations continue (comments highlight the emotions and the partisan divide).

In the meantime, it’s probably more worthwhile to be thinking about how to come-up with a budget that lines-up with our expectations, tactics that line-up with strategy, and a strategy that lines-up to what’s possible politically at home, and what’s happening on the ground in other countries.

Update: Instead of using all available channels to pressure the Iranian regime from getting deliverable nukes, Obama has been easing those crippling economic sanctions to gain leverage.  More here.  This is probably not going to position us well at all.

Addition:  Eli Lake at the Daily Beast: Benghazi’s Al Qaeda Connection.

Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates’ From The BBC Via Michael Totten: ‘Libya: Islamist Militia Bases Stormed In Benghazi’

Via Reuters: ‘U.S. Ambassador To Libya Killed In Benghazi Attack’

Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest Online: ‘Obama’s War’From The WSJ: “Allies Rally To Stop Gadhafi”From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And PakistanFrom The New Yorker: ‘How Qaddafi Lost Libya’

Lara Logan At 60 Minutes Via Youtube-More on Benghazi

Update:  How reliable is that British contractor, anyways?

Logan interviews a British soldier hired to provide security to our mission in Benghazi, who was on-scene in the weeks leading-up to and during the attack.

Full embedded video can be viewed here at Legal Insurrection (addition: or CBS).

My takeaway, for what it’s worth: There were plenty of direct warnings that Benghazi was highly unsafe, and that the American mission there was specifically being targeted by Al Qaeda and enemy forces.   It was very risky to be there at that point, with unreliable, local security forces, relatively un-secure locations, and with Al Qaeda flags flying all over town.

After both the attack and the order to stand down during the attack, I suspect official messages given to the American public were part of a larger strategy:  To forward liberal internationalist policy and keep the administration’s goals in view.  They wanted to keep a lid on things, and not provoke other uprisings which were going on at the time throughout the Middle-East.   Basically, the State department didn’t want to rock the boat too much and was directed to continue the PR campaign to soothe the Arab Street in order to further the idea of democratic activism and grass-roots Arab-Spring civil unrest.  The U.S. and its military needed to be seen as a non-threatening force, subsuming itself to International institutions as well as carrots and sticks for democracy promotion.

Basically, I attribute very risky decision-making and possible incompetence for our decision to still be there under those conditions.  Perhaps there were other operations going on, as you never get all the facts, and it seems Chris Stevens was particularly dedicated.  I attribute incompetence and possibly other motives regarding the decision to stand-down and the ‘not a planned attack’ response the administration gave to the American people.  This could range from aggressively staying-on-message (look at Syria and Iran, as this administration’s proven to hold particularly idealistic objectives and a lack of strategy) to poor leadership to political calculation and maintaining the appearance of meeting political objectives despite obvious contrary evidence.

Tell me what I’m missing!

Any thoughts and comments are welcome

See previous posts below which indicate that if there was a cover-up, it likely has as much to do with CIA operations in the area.

Update:  See what’s become a very embarrassing story for Lara Logan: Via Mediaite: CBS 60 Minutes’ Lara Logan Apologizes for Erroneous Benghazi Survivor Report: ‘We Were Wrong’

Addition:  Thanks for the link: Eli Lake at the Daily Beast: Benghazi’s Al Qaeda Connection.

Related On This SiteLara Logan On Afghanistan Via Youtube: ’2012 BGA Annual Luncheon Keynote Speech’

Conor Friedersdorf At The Atlantic-’The Attack In Benghazi: Worth Investigating After All’

Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates’ From The BBC Via Michael Totten: ‘Libya: Islamist Militia Bases Stormed In Benghazi’

Via Reuters: ‘U.S. Ambassador To Libya Killed In Benghazi Attack’

Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest Online: ‘Obama’s War’From The WSJ: “Allies Rally To Stop Gadhafi”From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And PakistanFrom The New Yorker: ‘How Qaddafi Lost Libya’

Just how far Left is this administration anyways? Is Bernhard Henri-Levy actually influencing U.S. policy decisions..? From New York Magazine: ‘European Superhero Quashes Libyan Dictator’Bernhard Henri-Levy At The Daily Beast: ‘A Moral Tipping Point’Charlie Rose Episode On Libya Featuring Bernhard Henri-Levy, Les Gelb And Others

Conor Friedersdorf At The Atlantic-‘The Attack In Benghazi: Worth Investigating After All’

Full piece here.

There’s probably a cover-up here, but as discussed, it’s likely got much more to do with CIA operations in Benghazi.   Perhaps they were putting a lid on radical Islamist factions gathering within the power vacuum of post-Gadhfi Benghazi and points east, or trying to run guns elsewhere, including Syria.

As this blog noted, Eli Lake was on this a while ago:

Full piece here.

‘The honor given behind closed doors to “Bob,” the officer who was in charge of the Benghazi intelligence annex and CIA base that was attacked in the early morning of September 12, 2012 and then abandoned for nearly three weeks, illustrates the murky lines of command that preceded the attack, and helped make it a politically volatile issue. While the State Department was responsible for elements of the security for the diplomatic mission at Benghazi, the mission itself was used primarily for intelligence activities and most the U.S. officials there and at the nearby annex were CIA officers who used State Department cover.’

Walter Russell Mead’s take on Benghazi:

‘A Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that more than half of Americans believe the Obama administration is covering up over Benghazi, and that a narrow plurality also thinks the congressional GOP is in on the whole fiasco for political gain. That seems about right to us.’

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Surprise!:

-Al Qaida doesn’t appear to be ‘on the run,’ as the State Department has issued a travel (alert) for Americans, and those jailbreaks in Libya, Iraq, and Pakistan appear to be coordinated.  A return to realism would be nice, but where are the James Baker types in the Republican Party?  Are we even the same country anymore and what problems would hard-core Westphalian realists face?

Should we have gone into Syria?

Relax at your own peril with Islamic terror, but don’t necessarily build a huge Homeland Security bureaucratic complex either, as Americans are looking at their Federal government with increasing suspicion?  Tough to get the balance right, and America is currently undergoing a civil liberties/libertarian anti-Statist resurgence with a Progressive in power and the Snowden affair in the mix.  Meanwhile, there are real threats out there: Lara Logan On Afghanistan Via Youtube: ’2012 BGA Annual Luncheon Keynote Speech’

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Just as Bush was criticized for thinking that inside every Iraqi is an American waiting to get out (Reaction to 9/11? To finish the first Gulf war?  Shame over having abandoned the Kurds?  Getting rid of Saddam on Bernard Lewis’ thinking that the tyrant hybrids to go?) …

…it could be said that Obama could be criticized for thinking that inside every protester in Egypt is a proto-community activist waiting to get out.  The Cairo Speech and the liberal internationalists are running up against unpleasant reality. In this blog’s opinion, putting human rights activists turned diplomats in charge will have consequences.  Events are already catching up.

Predictions are hard, especially about the future.  It’s tough enough just to figure out what’s going on now.

Related On This SiteEli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates’ From The BBC Via Michael Totten: ‘Libya: Islamist Militia Bases Stormed In Benghazi’

Via Reuters: ‘U.S. Ambassador To Libya Killed In Benghazi Attack’

Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest Online: ‘Obama’s War’From The WSJ: “Allies Rally To Stop Gadhafi”From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And PakistanFrom The New Yorker: ‘How Qaddafi Lost Libya’

Just how far Left is this administration anyways? Is Bernhard Henri-Levy actually influencing U.S. policy decisions..? From New York Magazine: ‘European Superhero Quashes Libyan Dictator’Bernhard Henri-Levy At The Daily Beast: ‘A Moral Tipping Point’Charlie Rose Episode On Libya Featuring Bernhard Henri-Levy, Les Gelb And Others

Eli Lake At The Daily Beast-‘Exclusive: CIA Honored Benghazi Chief In Secret Ceremony’

Full piece here.

‘The honor given behind closed doors to “Bob,” the officer who was in charge of the Benghazi intelligence annex and CIA base that was attacked in the early morning of September 12, 2012 and then abandoned for nearly three weeks, illustrates the murky lines of command that preceded the attack, and helped make it a politically volatile issue. While the State Department was responsible for elements of the security for the diplomatic mission at Benghazi, the mission itself was used primarily for intelligence activities and most the U.S. officials there and at the nearby annex were CIA officers who used State Department cover.’

The State Department and the CIA are going at one another under such political pressure.  I can remember thinking that we seemed to be embarking on a rather different course for Middle East policy under Obama, and I’ve yet to be persuaded his worldview is accurate enough (I tend to disagree with his ideals), and his leadership deep and competent enough to deliver.

Walter Russell Mead’s take on Benghazi:

‘A Washington Post-ABC News poll shows that more than half of Americans believe the Obama administration is covering up over Benghazi, and that a narrow plurality also thinks the congressional GOP is in on the whole fiasco for political gain. That seems about right to us.’

I still think the primary motivating factor for getting to the bottom of Benghazi is why we didn’t at least make all attempts possible to help, as nothing is worse for troop morale.  The administration particularly needs to be seen as succeeding in Libya, and is particularly sensitive to any criticism that it isn’t.

The liberal internationalist, former human rights campaign folks guided by realpolitik, and yes, Bernhard Henri-Levy’s input in the face of Gadhafi’s tyranny were motivating factors in our involvement.

Here’s a quote from Anne-Marie Slaughter, on liberal internationalism:

‘The central liberal internationalist premise is the value of a rules-based international order that restrains powerful states and thereby reassures their enemies and allies alike and allows weaker states to have sufficient voice in the system that they will not choose to exit’

We also formed an alliance with Anglo-French interests.  Our Middle-East policy is hinged upon a worldview that doesn’t seem to be lining up that well with events on the ground in the Muslim world, and I fear sacrifices too many of our strengths for too few gains, exposing too many of our weaknesses.

In addition, our military is stretched pretty thinly right now and the Republican establishment isn’t showing deep understanding of the issues either.  The Muslim world is not about to live up to our ideals, and this is as much about living up to our own.  To me, this generally means our sovereignty and interests first, solid alliances and international institutions next, and we’ll take it from there.

As always, it’s up for debate.

Related On This SiteEli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates’ From The BBC Via Michael Totten: ‘Libya: Islamist Militia Bases Stormed In Benghazi’

Via Reuters: ‘U.S. Ambassador To Libya Killed In Benghazi Attack’

Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest Online: ‘Obama’s War’From The WSJ: “Allies Rally To Stop Gadhafi”From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And PakistanFrom The New Yorker: ‘How Qaddafi Lost Libya’

Just how far Left is this administration anyways? Is Bernhard Henri-Levy actually influencing U.S. policy decisions..? From New York Magazine: ‘European Superhero Quashes Libyan Dictator’Bernhard Henri-Levy At The Daily Beast: ‘A Moral Tipping Point’Charlie Rose Episode On Libya Featuring Bernhard Henri-Levy, Les Gelb And Others

Some Saturday Benghazi Links

So what happened at Benghazi that night, and more importantly, what happened in the months leading up to the attack, and what happened after the attack?  Here are some links I’ve rounded up after watching the State Department testimony.

It’s worthy of mention that State Department officials feel it necessary to speak out against the chain of command.

Eli Lake At The Daily BeastIn Benghazi, CIA Trusted Local Militia That Melted Away.  I think the State Department testimony showed that most people knew how sketchy the hired help was.  Benghazi was a mission designed to establish an eventual embassy there.  It was very dangerous, and getting more so.  Pushing ahead with the embassy, despite increasing security threats, lines up with the political goal of succeeding in Libya, and being seen as having succeeded in Libya in the run-up to the presidential election.  Signs of terrorism and a direct attack would compromise the leadership.

It was a judgment call, and the response to that judgment call is pretty political.

Also from LakeThey Knew It Was Terrorism-One would hope (such is politics) that the loyalty of the State Department employees would be met with similar loyalty from our political leaders when the shit hit the fan.  A decision was made to stand down (which gets at the heart of morale and why people serve, and the ethos of those who do).  Then, the video narrative took over, and it seems pretty clear the administration was happy to leave it at that, and try and keep it as quiet as possible, even making life uncomfortable for Hicks.  There was a lengthy, none-too-impressive, highly compromised FBI investigation.

They just wanted it to go away. How far did they go?  How much did they whitewash?

Peggy Noonan At The Wall Street JournalThe Inconvenient Truth About Benghazi-CYA and rather petty politicking probably took precedence over a more responsible leadership.

Adam Garfinkle At The American InterestBenghazigate, Republicans Missing The Point-For Garfinkle, the point is that the Libyan war was a mistake in the first place, not the Bush-lite, masterfully played pivot off of Obama’s Cairo speech.  It’s spilling out all over the place.   It’s not meeting its objectives.  Regardless, politics does have its uses, and the main one is to hold our leaders accountable, regardless of party affiliation.

We’ve got to get the incentives right.

Addition: Conditions on the ground in Tripoli are unstable.

Related On This Site:  Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates’ From The BBC Via Michael Totten: ‘Libya: Islamist Militia Bases Stormed In Benghazi’

Via Reuters: ‘U.S. Ambassador To Libya Killed In Benghazi Attack’

Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest Online: ‘Obama’s War’From The WSJ: “Allies Rally To Stop Gadhafi”From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And PakistanFrom The New Yorker: ‘How Qaddafi Lost Libya’

Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘Remember Libya?’A Few Thoughts On Watching Operations In Libya

From The Weekly Standard: ‘The Benghazi Talking Points’

Full piece here.

Every administration has its aims, its worldview, and shapes its message accordingly.

If the attack on the Benghazi consulate was right away understood to be an act of terrorism, then putting Susan Rice (or any similarly willing messenger) out on CBS news to ply a different message is curious.  Rice’s talking points on the program came directly after the Libyan President declaration that it was pre-planned and pre-determined.

Some reasons might include:

     1.  We gave a lot of latitude to Ambassador Stevens and his team to stay proactive in the area.  When the call came in that the consulate was under attack, and that some of the security threats in Benghazi finally materialized, it was deemed a loss. Now, many months later, that attention is being paid, we’re seeing standard State Department ass-covering and the political fallout make its way down the food-chain.  The threat may not have been properly addressed.

     2.  The administration’s goals needed to stay faithful to his own Cairo speech to some extent, and sought out people who believed similarly to stay on message (even Hilary Clinton and her team were more hawkish).  Remember, the Arab Spring and deep unrest was roiling the region, with dozens of protests going on simultaneously, with long-standing regimes falling like dominoes.  Here’s what I wrote speculatively back then:

‘This could explain Secretary Of State Hilary Clinton’s PR tour across the region, the insistence on the video as the source of the attack (Susan Rice as well), and the lengthy, slow and visible, investigation. 

Engaging directly and aggressively with terrorism, radical Islam, and forms of Islamism is a subject that still does not line up with this administration’s stated goals and worldview.  The base is ‘pro-peace.’

     3.  There was political calculation involved, and incentive to simply push anything anything that would appear to compromise the administration’s ability to realize its goals aside until after the election (natural to all politicians).

     4.  Something was going on at the Benghazi consulate that the rest of us probably still don’t want to know about.

Related On This Site:  Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates’ From The BBC Via Michael Totten: ‘Libya: Islamist Militia Bases Stormed In Benghazi’

Via Reuters: ‘U.S. Ambassador To Libya Killed In Benghazi Attack’

Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest Online: ‘Obama’s War’From The WSJ: “Allies Rally To Stop Gadhafi”From March 27th, 2009 At WhiteHouse.Gov: Remarks By The President On A New Strategy For Afghanistan And PakistanFrom The New Yorker: ‘How Qaddafi Lost Libya’

Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘Remember Libya?’A Few Thoughts On Watching Operations In Libya

Michael Totten At World Affairs: ‘Benghazi Circles The Drain’

Full post here.

It was a mess when Ambassador Stevens was there, and was killed, but is it getting worse?:

‘As Westerners evacuate Libya’s eastern city of Benghazi, Islamist militias—whose fighters apparently number in the thousands—are moving in.’

The destabilization of Libya post-Gadhafi has also added to the destabilization of Algeria, and Mali as well.  Our policies and the assumptions behind them are not lining up well with conditions on the ground.  This can help create the vacuum that invites the real radicals in.

What difference does it make?  Well, quite a bit actually, for troop morale, for protecting our interests, pursuing our interests, and making and executing good policy with enough realism to not put ourselves in worse positions.

***Comments are very much worth a read.

Want to understand Islamism better and the forces in the region which will require much better policy out of us?  Totten mentions checking out Sayyid Qutb. A must read.

Totten’s new book: Where The West Ends.

Do you have a few minutes? Lawrence Wright At The New Yorker: ‘The Man Behind Bin Laden’From Slate: ‘In Aleppo, Syria, Mohamed Atta Thought He Could Build The Ideal Islamic City’…Link sent in by a reader to Alexander Hitchens essay:  As American As Apple Pie: How Anwar al-Awlaki Became The Face Of Western Jihad…Christopher Hitchens At Slate: ‘Lord Haw Haw And Anwar Al-Awlaki’…From The AP: ‘Al-Awlaki: From Voice For Jihad To Al-Qaida Figure’…Repost-’”The Rebellion Within” At The New Yorker: Dr. Fadl and Al Qaeda’

Dexter Filkins Book On Afghanistan And Iraq: “The Forever War”Repost-’Dexter Filkins In The NY Times: The Long Road To Chaos In Pakistan’…Lara Logan On Afghanistan Via Youtube: ’2012 BGA Annual Luncheon Keynote Speech’

See related pieces on this site: Paul Berman At The New Republic: ‘From September 11 to the Arab Spring: Do Ideas Matter?’From Foreign Affairs: ‘Al Qaeda After Attiyya’

Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates’ From The BBC Via Michael Totten: ‘Libya: Islamist Militia Bases Stormed In Benghazi’

Via Reuters: ‘U.S. Ambassador To Libya Killed In Benghazi Attack’

Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘Four Months After The Benghazi Attack, Where Are The Killers?’

Full piece here.

‘Ever since an armed mob torched a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, President Obama has vowed to bring the killers of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans to justice. Yet four months after the assault, U.S. counterterrorism and intelligence officials tell The Daily Beast that the hunt for those responsible remains stymied by poor cooperation by North African governments’

Well, there’s a surprise.

Addition:  France will be intervening in Mali, as Al-Qaeda affiliated Islamists now control about 1.3 million people and much of the country.

As discussed many times on this blog:  The current administration’s position on Bush’s War On Terror policies (whatever problems arise from that definition) has mostly been to continue them.  We’re still doing the dirty work.

It’s also clear we need to prevent the kinds of conditions that lead to safe haven for groups like Al Qaeda to actively plan and coordinate attacks that would occur on our soil.  That could be happening in Mali right now.  Under the neo-cons (use American military force to spread democracy and pursue our self-interest) we invaded Afghanistan to do exactly the same, and we’re still there for primarily this reason.

A few questions:

Some people are clearly not worth sitting around the table with, discussing options.  Do we just continue the War On Terror indefinitely on our own?

Some people can be cajoled, threatened, and enticed into recognizing international law, courts and institutions, at least for a while.  The U.N. has some benefits, but is notably dysfunctional, so why should we continue with the same model if it doesn’t lead to outcomes we want?  Shouldn’t we at least try and tweak the model if it can’t intervene in Syria and if tyrants like Gadhafi have a seat at the table?

***For American conservatives, these international institutions generally operate under ideals that are more common to Europe and the Western, universalist Left, and have been used to create world and international institutions which pursue Western interests.  They don’t always represent American conservative interests, and in fact, depending on the institution, they can be leveraged against those interests.

Philosophical consistency for American conservatism would mean recognizing that the good reasons for open trade, freer markets, taxation with representation and smaller government here at home could also extend into the broader world, but that self-interest and common interests are often at odds when we come into contact with that world.  Practically speaking, the more liberal, universalist worldview has been most successful in projecting Western power and interests abroad (often being underwritten with our military capabilities).  Human rights campaigns and ‘girl power’ can do some good, but I’d argue shouldn’t be the primary focus of our foreign policy, but rather a recognized part of it.

There are many broader human endeavors, especially the Sciences, medicine, and much education which transcend the American pursuit of self-interest, that should naturally be expected to flourish and at times, guide our interests, but not necessarily under the current framework.

Addition:  I’ve gotten some pushback for the open trade and freer markets from the conservative side.  These are libertarian goals, according to some conservatives, that fall outside the scope of a purer, traditional conservative.

Related On This Site:  A Few Thoughts On Foreign Policy-Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘Conservative Principles Of World Order’

Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘What Did The Arab Spring Really Change?’

Via Reuters: ‘U.S. Ambassador To Libya Killed In Benghazi Attack’From Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘Exclusive: Libya Cable Detailed Threats’Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates’ From The BBC Via Michael Totten: ‘Libya: Islamist Militia Bases Stormed In Benghazi’

How does America lead or pursue its interests in this new landscape?:  We need to confront the rise of Islamism and the realities of many Muslim societies through our policy.  Putting women’s rights and international institutions front and center when you’re dealing with Al Qaida and the Taliban, assorted enemies, a suspicious China and a weaker adversarial Russia has serious problems …Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill…Daniel Deudney tries to build a global raft partially upon Kant’s idealism and says the global institutions we’ve got are better than nothing: Repost-Daniel Deudney On YouTube Responding to Robert Kagan: ‘Liberal Democracy Vs. Autocracy’

Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘In Wake of Benghazi, State Wants $1.3 Billion to Beef Up Security Around the World’

Full piece here.

‘The State Department is looking to tap into unspent money meant for reconstruction in Iraq to beef up the security of diplomatic posts in dangerous parts of the world, according to a new proposal from the State Department sent to Congress on Monday. The request came just ahead of the release Tuesday night of a report by an independent inquiry that faults the State Department for a lack of security on the night of the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.’

It wouldn’t hurt to discuss how well the overall liberal internationalist approach taken by Obama is working, either.

Related On This Site:  A Few Thoughts On Foreign Policy-Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘Conservative Principles Of World Order’

Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘What Did The Arab Spring Really Change?’

Via Reuters: ‘U.S. Ambassador To Libya Killed In Benghazi Attack’From Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘Exclusive: Libya Cable Detailed Threats’Eli Lake At The Daily Beast: ‘U.S. Officials Knew Libya Attacks Were Work of Al Qaeda Affiliates’ From The BBC Via Michael Totten: ‘Libya: Islamist Militia Bases Stormed In Benghazi’

How does America lead or pursue its interests in this new landscape?:  We need to confront the rise of Islamism and the realities of many Muslim societies through our policy.  Putting women’s rights and international institutions front and center when you’re dealing with Al Qaida and the Taliban, assorted enemies, a suspicious China and a weaker adversarial Russia has serious problems …Via Youtube-Uncommon Knowledge With Fouad Ajami And Charles Hill…Daniel Deudney tries to build a global raft partially upon Kant’s idealism and says the global institutions we’ve got are better than nothing: Repost-Daniel Deudney On YouTube Responding to Robert Kagan: ‘Liberal Democracy Vs. Autocracy’