Fareed Zakaria takes on conventional Washington wisdom about foreign policy in his latest column in Newsweek. The key paragraph is the last:
The problem with American foreign policy goes beyond George Bush. It includes a Washington establishment that has gotten comfortable with the exercise of American hegemony and treats compromise as treason and negotiations as appeasement. Other countries can have no legitimate interests of their own—Russian demands are by definition unacceptable. The only way to deal with countries is by issuing a series of maximalist demands. This is not foreign policy; it’s imperial policy. And it isn’t likely to work in today’s world.
Zakaria is right, of course. There has been a weird kind of backlash to President Obama’s diplomatic initiatives. People like Leslie Gelb are complaining that the administration is “manic” because they are introducing a vigorous diplomatic approach to foreign policy. Zakaria gets it and shoots these naysayers down.