- August 18, 2008 at 7:17 AM
Filed under Florida
, Foreign Policy
In the wake of the Russian invasion of Georgia, it has not been highlighted enough that U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL, sort of) was the sponsor of the April 28 House resolution which started the process of inviting Georgia and the Ukraine into NATO. Rep. Wexler should not get a free pass for this. When you recall that Article 5 of the NATO charter states that an attack on one member of the NATO alliance is considered an attack on all, you can see how dangerous and foolhardy this rush to expand NATO is.
America must maintain a free hand in foreign affairs and must retain the right to make its own determinations on whether U.S. interests are at stake in any situation and what response is appropriate.
The irresponsible move to expand NATO eastward began in earnest by the Clinton Administration and one must recall that the U.S.’s involvement in the battles of the breakaway Yugosalvian republics in the 1990s was under the NATO banner. Unchastened by that experience, Wexler today is the point man for House Democrats on this issue as he is a senior Member of the House International Relations Committee and has been selected as the Ranking Democrat of the Europe Subcommittee. Wexler serves as an American representative to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
The RLC of Florida has alerted Rep. Wexler’s Republican challenger, Ed Lynch, to this information. Lynch has appeared with Florida State Senate candidate and RLCer Dean Santoro at campaign events. Unfortunately, this is delicate as a campaign issue for Republicans, as our own Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) voted *for* the Senate version of the resolution along with co-sponsors Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Several other nominal conservatives have flipped on this issue as the presidential administrations changed.
This is partly due to the misperception that opposition to NATO expansion is necessarily an isolationist position. However, a free hand in foreign affairs does not imply an ideological commitment to non-interventionism nor interventionism. On the contrary, it permits the U.S. government the ability to independently determine if intervention is or is not necessary in any given case without its policy tethered to the actions of actors over which the U.S. has no control.
Traditionally, utopian Democrats have championed the approach of committing the U.S. to the decisions of international bureaucracies while many Republicans have championed retaining independence — as well as decrying the emergence of ballooning international bureaucracies.
While these partisan lines have become blurred with the shift of allegiance of the neoconservatives from the Democratic Party to the Republican Party during the late 1970s and early 1980s, Rep. Wexler is a good reminder that the Democratic Party has not abandoned its traditional –- and dangerous — Wilsonian utopianism.
To Bob Wexler and other Democrats, Big Government is a cure for all ills, foreign and domestic.
The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect official positions of the RLC.