Hawkish Doves, Dovish Hawks

Politics and policy.
April 17 1999 3:30 AM

Hawkish Doves, Dovish Hawks

The confusing taxonomy of Kosovo.

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Unlike the Europeanists, the Liberal Humanitarians have turned hawk for moral reasons. These folks have opposed every American military operation from Grenada to the Gulf War. Sen. Paul Wellstone of Minnesota is a pre-eminent Liberal Humanitarian. The Democratic senator opposed the Gulf War because Saddam Hussein is no Hitler, and the control of Kuwaiti oil was not a cause worth dying for. But Wellstone favors Kosovo intervention to stop the "Holocaust-like atrocities" occurring there.

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The Liberal Humanitarians are a product of the post-Cold War peace. During the Cold War, liberals shunned military intervention--even humanitarian military intervention--because such adventurism could provoke conflict with the Soviets and tended to buttress thuggish right-wingers. The end of the Cold War has freed them to pursue humanitarian ends: The United States now can be the world's policeman, so it should be.

(A special place in the Liberal Humanitarian pantheon belongs to New York Times columnist Anthony Lewis. Click to read why.)

3. The Third Worlders

The Rev. Jesse Jackson is the principal of this small group. Jackson opposed the Gulf War but has since favored U.S. intervention in Haiti, Somalia, and Bosnia. The Third Worlders share most of the concerns of the Liberal Humanitarians but are particularly hawkish about helping groups traditionally shunned by the West, notably Africans and Muslims. In this case, Jackson avidly sides with the underdog Muslim Kosovars.

4. The Credibility Fanatics

Henry Kissinger is the intellectual leader of the Credibility Fanatics. They are conservatives who fundamentally detest U.S. involvement in Kosovo and have little interest in the morality of the issue. They don't believe Kosovo is important enough to fight for, they wish we had never gone to Rambouillet, and they think it will be a horrible, ugly conflict. But while their Kosovo instincts are dovish, they are Realhawks (pronounced "ray-all"): Now that the president has committed U.S. forces, we must win. If we don't, the credibility of NATO and the United States will be shattered. Unsurprisingly, Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Chuck Hagel of Nebraska, the Senate's leading veterans, are Credibility Fanatics.

5. Caspar Weinberger

Weinberger, a kind of conservative counterpart to the Europeanists, deserves his own category. His Weinberger Doctrine, which precludes U.S. military action except in absolutely vital cases of national security, would seem to bar any Kosovo intervention. But Weinberger has declared that the Balkans are a vital national interest because they "were at the heart of two world wars." Hence the United States should intervene--and with overwhelming force.

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Hawks Into Doves

1. The Neo-Isolationists

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