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Foreign Policy Realism, or Surrealism?

10:04 AM, Aug 12, 2010 • By GABRIEL SCHOENFELD
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Here is Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yesterday making the case for Senate ratification of the new START agreement with Moscow:

I think we’ve had a remarkable year not only in the reset of our relations with Russia, but in furthering the President’s policy towards nonproliferation and setting a very ambitious goal of moving toward a world without nuclear weapons, one that has been endorsed by leaders in our country on both sides of the aisle.

Let’s parse this.

Russia is now flagrantly stepping into the breach to undermine tough U.S. and European sanctions on Iran, including by selling Tehran gasoline. The Kremlin has been consolidating its position in the near abroad and cracking down on dissent at home. Its effort to augment its military power—including by modernizing its arsenal of strategic weapons—continues apace. The only thing "remarkable" about our reset of relations with Russia is how little real progress has been made on the most critical issues.

As for non-proliferation, the facts are that nuclear-armed North Korea, whose nuclear arsenal we’ve declared “unacceptable,” has been acting ever more belligerently, Iran has been fast approaching the point of no return in its own covert nuclear program, while Burma and Syria, evidence suggests, have nuclear aspirations of their own. Are we making remarkable progress toward the president’s goal of a world without nuclear weapons? The only remarkable progress we’ve made, to judge by Clinton’s remarks, seems to be in deluding ourselves. 

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