America needs a "revolution in diplomatic affairs."
Even the State Department's chardonnay and brie brigade suspects we have entered a new era of grimy, street-level foreign policy. It's an era where effective diplomacy starts with long days in bad neighborhoods, as culturally-savvy diplomats identify the hopes, fears and trends that seed future crises, and -- preferably -- create American-influenced opportunities to positively shape events.
Rudy Giuliani's essay "Toward a Realistic Peace" (published in the most recent issue of Foreign Affairs) recognizes the need to implement the integrated, coherent policy-making and policy-executing system Washington has lacked since the Eisenhower administration. Crediting the Eisenhower administration may also be a bit of a stretch, but Ike's five-star general's brain was the strategic ringmaster that occasionally united America's disjointed foreign policy circus.
Giuliani's essay addresses a range of foreign policy issues and is thus far the most significant and thoughtful foreign policy statement by a 2008 presidential candidate.
Giuliani's article anticipates three major foreign policy challenges the next administration must confront: "setting a course for victory in the terrorists' war on global order, strengthening the international system the terrorists seek to destroy and extending the system's benefits."
In what is clearly a shot at Bill Clinton (and hence Hillary), Giuliani scalds pre-9/11 counter-terror policy. "We have responded forcefully to the Terrorists' War on Us," Giuliani writes, "abandoning a decade long -- and counterproductive -- strategy of defensive reaction in favor of a vigorous offense."
He advocates expanding the size of the Army's active duty forces -- with ballpark numbers somewhat larger than an increase advocated by former U.S. Army Chief of Staff Pete Schoomaker.
But the section titled "Determined Diplomacy" is particularly striking. In it, the prosecutor who busted the Mafia is "putting down a marker" for the State Department and Pentagon mobs.
Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
Be the first to read Austin Bay's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.