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A Foreign Policy for the Left

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Something that has been needed for decades: a leftist foreign policy with a clear moral basis Foreign policy, for leftists, used to be relatively simple. They were for the breakdown of capitalism and its replacement with a centrally planned economy. They were for the workers against the moneyed interests and for colonized peoples against imperial (Western) powers. But thes Something that has been needed for decades: a leftist foreign policy with a clear moral basis Foreign policy, for leftists, used to be relatively simple. They were for the breakdown of capitalism and its replacement with a centrally planned economy. They were for the workers against the moneyed interests and for colonized peoples against imperial (Western) powers. But these easy substitutes for thought are becoming increasingly difficult. Neo-liberal capitalism is triumphant, and the workers’ movement is in radical decline. National liberation movements have produced new oppressions. A reflexive anti-imperialist politics can turn leftists into apologists for morally abhorrent groups. In Michael Walzer’s view, the left can no longer (in fact, could never) take automatic positions but must proceed from clearly articulated moral principles. In this book, adapted from essays published in Dissent, Walzer asks how leftists should think about the international scene—about humanitarian intervention and world government, about global inequality and religious extremism—in light of a coherent set of underlying political values.


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Something that has been needed for decades: a leftist foreign policy with a clear moral basis Foreign policy, for leftists, used to be relatively simple. They were for the breakdown of capitalism and its replacement with a centrally planned economy. They were for the workers against the moneyed interests and for colonized peoples against imperial (Western) powers. But thes Something that has been needed for decades: a leftist foreign policy with a clear moral basis Foreign policy, for leftists, used to be relatively simple. They were for the breakdown of capitalism and its replacement with a centrally planned economy. They were for the workers against the moneyed interests and for colonized peoples against imperial (Western) powers. But these easy substitutes for thought are becoming increasingly difficult. Neo-liberal capitalism is triumphant, and the workers’ movement is in radical decline. National liberation movements have produced new oppressions. A reflexive anti-imperialist politics can turn leftists into apologists for morally abhorrent groups. In Michael Walzer’s view, the left can no longer (in fact, could never) take automatic positions but must proceed from clearly articulated moral principles. In this book, adapted from essays published in Dissent, Walzer asks how leftists should think about the international scene—about humanitarian intervention and world government, about global inequality and religious extremism—in light of a coherent set of underlying political values.

30 review for A Foreign Policy for the Left

  1. 5 out of 5

    Scott Holstad

    Weak. I've been a progressive/"liberal" for most of my adult life but over the past five years have become really disgusted with the group. While I cannot stand (even believe) where the far right has gone, A) the left could look to them for some damn lessons, because B) the Dems eat their own, constantly bickering among themselves, constantly attacking their own while the right gets behind their candidates and fucking WIN while Berniebots hate their OWN leading candidates so much, they fucking v Weak. I've been a progressive/"liberal" for most of my adult life but over the past five years have become really disgusted with the group. While I cannot stand (even believe) where the far right has gone, A) the left could look to them for some damn lessons, because B) the Dems eat their own, constantly bickering among themselves, constantly attacking their own while the right gets behind their candidates and fucking WIN while Berniebots hate their OWN leading candidates so much, they fucking voted Trump INTO office last time! It's their damn fault that moron is president and so for the past four years, most of America, including nearly every liberal, has counted on seemingly ANYONE running against Trump to kick his ass and put some sanity back in the White House, ... but it's happening again, and it started at least two years ago. I've read some books by some disillusioned lifelong Republican strategists and advisors who are desperate to join with everyone in a centrist effort to vote Trump out, although they say they won't vote for a Hillary or Bernie. I understand that. It's called compromise and it used to be a big part of our government. These major players write that the Dems can be counted on to bicker with their pet projects and pet peeves so much that they lose sight of the election and lose the election as a result of infighting while the conservatives all rally around whatever asshole is their candidate, like him or not. And the Dems lose and they do this to themselves and they never learn. And these people are 100% right. Trump WILL win again because for the past two plus years the Berniebots have insisted that NO ONE except Bernie will be okay with them - Biden, Bloomberg, Warren, no one. Because he's the "outsider." HE'S BEEN IN FUCKING OFFICE LONGER THAN ANY OF THEM!!!!! You stupid dumbass hypocritical traitors! So because you hate people in your own *alleged* party so much (because obviously you're Republicans as you'd rather have an autocratic insane Republican president than someone from a party you claim to be a part of who is not your favorite choice...), you'd rather have a treasonous Russian puppet in office. You're the damn problem, not the conservatives! Idiots. And this book? Rewritten regurgitation with few new ideas. Neither party has a grasp on quality, successful, diplomatic-yet-cautious foreign policy and the leaders of both parties have taken the "winner" from the Cold War and they've fucked the country and world up with their idiot foreign policies, and we want these people recommending anything? The liberals are idealists with no concept of reality and the evangelical right wing nutjobs are fascist nationalists intent on getting behind an apocalyptic nationalist Mussolini wannabee. Awesome. And my wife won't let us move to New Zealand... Both parties have proven to be failures at public policy and foreign policy over the past 25+ years. Please get the centrists together and form a real, actual third party to wipe these idiots out of office and start over with some sanity and reason. This book? About as good as current conservative books calling for "change" -- bullshit.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Mitchell Bradford

    This book is neither radical nor revolutionary. Mr. Walzer's position on interventionism sounds like any mainstream politician with a penchant for more military exercises and continued American involvement across the world. its essential for the left to remain critical of American imperialism and skeptical of calls for democratization in other countries. the left has historically provided moral clarity in a political world devoted to power and domination. this book provides more of the same and This book is neither radical nor revolutionary. Mr. Walzer's position on interventionism sounds like any mainstream politician with a penchant for more military exercises and continued American involvement across the world. its essential for the left to remain critical of American imperialism and skeptical of calls for democratization in other countries. the left has historically provided moral clarity in a political world devoted to power and domination. this book provides more of the same and does not seriously challenging the status quo.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Radek Gabinek

    Osinskipoludzku.blogspot.com "Laickie oświecenie, prawa człowieka i demokratyczny rząd. Lewicowa polityka zaczyna się od obrony tych trzech idei". Podążając za tymi słowami Walzera, pozostaje mieć nadzieję że naprawdę będzie komu bronić lewicowej polityki gdyż na chwilę obecną znamiennym pozostaje fakt, iż miesiąc po premierze po tę książkę nie sięgnęło zbyt wiele osób. Pierwszą opinią o niej jest ta przeze mnie właśnie publikowana. Chciałbym wierzyć, że brak opinii na lubimyczytac.pl nie odzwier Osinskipoludzku.blogspot.com "Laickie oświecenie, prawa człowieka i demokratyczny rząd. Lewicowa polityka zaczyna się od obrony tych trzech idei". Podążając za tymi słowami Walzera, pozostaje mieć nadzieję że naprawdę będzie komu bronić lewicowej polityki gdyż na chwilę obecną znamiennym pozostaje fakt, iż miesiąc po premierze po tę książkę nie sięgnęło zbyt wiele osób. Pierwszą opinią o niej jest ta przeze mnie właśnie publikowana. Chciałbym wierzyć, że brak opinii na lubimyczytac.pl nie odzwierciedla rzeczywistego zainteresowania tą publikacją jednakże trudno oprzeć się wrażeniu, że lewicowcy są od dłuższego czasu w odwrocie i nie są realnie obecni w publicznej dyskusji. "Lewica. Stare błędy, nowe wyzwania" powstała zapewne po to by pokusić się o diagnozę tego jak kształtuje się potencjalne miejsce ludzi z tej opcji politycznej, a że nie wygląda to najlepiej, to autor pokusił się o pewne propozycje jak wyjść z podziemia i realnie wpływać na politykę jeśli twoje serce wciąż pozostaje po lewej stronie. Zacznę od tego, iż niejednokrotnie nie zgadzałem się z refleksjami Michaela Walzera, aczkolwiek trzeba mu przyznać że potrafił nie tylko zainteresować mnie swymi wywodami, a również zachęcić do rewizji własnych poglądów. Diagnozując przyczyny marginalizacji lewicy i wzrost popularności ultraprawicowych, populistycznych partii Walzer zwraca przede wszystkim uwagę na to, że wielu polityków lewicy jakby odseparowało się od problemów poprzez krytykę poczynań własnych rządów bez jednoczesnego realnego pomysłu na to jak mogą doprowadzić do zmiany tejże polityki. Odnosi się również do takich kwestii jak demonizacja Stanów Zjednoczonych Ameryki jako imperium zła, któremu przypisuje się odpowiedzialność za światową niesprawiedliwość, a każda międzynarodowa reakcja tego mocarstwa jest z założenia zła. Potępia też wprost Walzer tych lewicowców, którzy romansują z ruchami wspierającymi terroryzm jako metodę walki z uciskiem i imperializmem ( przykład choćby Algierii, Palestyny i Iraku). Wreszcie odnosi się do przestarzałych myśli po stronie lewicy czego przykładem ma być marksizm. Wydźwięk wszystkich zawartych w tej książce esejów jest taki, iż lewica jest bardzo potrzebna w kontekście walki o sprawiedliwość i ład nie tylko na przestrzeni poszczególnych krajów, ale również jeśli chodzi o porządek i redystrybucję potrzeb i dóbr na świecie. Właśnie z uwagi na potrzebę kształtowania instrumentów służących eliminowaniu tyranii, wyzysku i łamaniu podstawowych praw człowieka, lewica zwraca uwagę na potrzebę wyjścia ludzi lewicy ze swego kokonu i dostosowania się do głosu ludu. Chociaż zgadzam się z Walzerem jeżeli chodzi o kształtowanie ruchów służących zapobiegających chociażby skutkom globalnego ocieplenia czy działań na rzecz pokoju na świecie to nie uważam iż lewica powinna iść na ustępstwa jakie on w swej książce proponuje. W tym względzie chodzi mi chociażby o kwestie upaństwowienia. Myślę, że idea świata bez granic jest akurat ideą do której powinniśmy zmierzać i powinna istnieć realna przeciwwaga dla ultraprawicy i nacjonalistycznych ugrupowań bazujących na populizmie. Jest wiele kwestii w których lewica ma przestrzeń do ewaluowania, ale myślę sobie że bliżej mi jednak do krytykowanych przez Walzera myślicieli jak choćby Noam Chomsky. Uważam też, że trochę się autor pogubił w rozważaniach na temat islamu, ale może to też może zbyt jestem przywiązany do mojego punktu widzenia w tej kwestii.  Podsumowując, "Lewica. Stare błędy, nowe wyzwania" to książka nie łatwa w odbiorze, ale pozycja ważna dla każdego kto bardziej niż trochę interesuje się polityką i kto wieży że nie jest ona do krzty zepsuta. To również pozycja dla każdego kto w lewicowym sposobie myślenia na temat świata dopatruje się obrony słabszych, uciśnionych i widzi potrzebę laickiego oświecenia. Jeżeli cokolwiek ma zmieniać świat to myśl oparta na potrzebie współpracy na rzecz tego by było nam wszystkim lepiej i sprawiedliwiej, a nie byśmy okopywali się w szowinistycznych enklawach jak dzieje się to coraz częściej obecnie. Z tego też powodu książki takie jak ta Michaela Walzera są ważne.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Henning

    Den här boken är ett bra uttryck för vad som är vänsterns problem; den illustrerar tydligt inom vänstern, och är ett exempel på vad som sker när man försöker komma upp med alternativ. Visionerna som läggs fram här är relativt realistiska och i linje med det sunda förnuftet. Det är de gamla upplysningsidealen som måste återupplivas; politiken som framförs är misstänkt lik någon sorts socialdemokratisk pragmatism. Definitionen av "vänstern" hoppar omkring mellan socialdemokrati och kommunism. Att W Den här boken är ett bra uttryck för vad som är vänsterns problem; den illustrerar tydligt inom vänstern, och är ett exempel på vad som sker när man försöker komma upp med alternativ. Visionerna som läggs fram här är relativt realistiska och i linje med det sunda förnuftet. Det är de gamla upplysningsidealen som måste återupplivas; politiken som framförs är misstänkt lik någon sorts socialdemokratisk pragmatism. Definitionen av "vänstern" hoppar omkring mellan socialdemokrati och kommunism. Att Walzer skriver utifrån en amerikansk blick torde vara uppenbart. Vissa råd är handfastare än andra. Det kanske viktigaste som understryks i den här boken är att man måste kunna föra krig på två fronter. Exempelvis går det att vara kritisk mot USA:s ingripande i Vietnam utan att försvara Viet Cong. Men hur väl går det att sälja Walzers nyanserade, realistiska visioner till massorna? Jag hade gärna sett att han attackerade den "postmoderna" (i brist på bättre ord) kritiken av gamla upplysningsprojekt (typ Wendy Brown) på samma seriösa vis som han angriper Marxism och annan gammal skåpmat. Istället tycks han vägra att ens gå över på deras planhalva och förstå deras argument. Inte minst blir det tydligt i hur ytligt han hanterar problematiken med det "falska medvetandet". Religionen beskylls för att ha tagit vänsterns plats, men kan det inte vara så att det sker på grund av att vänstern inte har några trovärdiga visioner? Inte undra på att efterordet är så bittert.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Thomas Breen

    A thoughtful, even-handed, sobering critique of the left’s “default” position of isolationism. Walzer argues persuasively that all people on the left should prioritize a foreign policy that seeks to protect, uplift and empower the oppressed, wherever they are in the world. There are humanitarian causes for going to military engagement, he says, and not all American involvement overseas is de facto imperialist or destructive. As important as domestic politics of equality and freedom from hardship A thoughtful, even-handed, sobering critique of the left’s “default” position of isolationism. Walzer argues persuasively that all people on the left should prioritize a foreign policy that seeks to protect, uplift and empower the oppressed, wherever they are in the world. There are humanitarian causes for going to military engagement, he says, and not all American involvement overseas is de facto imperialist or destructive. As important as domestic politics of equality and freedom from hardship and freedom of self-determination are, the principles of democracy, individual freedom, gender rights are all human principles, not just American ones, and everyone is deserving of them.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

    Mostly a collection of previously written essays from Dissent, a leftist magazine. The author has written an essay with the same title of the book that is available online that briefly gives the main arguments in this book. Leftists will find this book interesting for revealing where their stances may be counterproductive in helping to reduce cruelty and promoting the wellbeing of the least advantaged, while those more on the right will appreciate the author's compassion and clear grasp of the f Mostly a collection of previously written essays from Dissent, a leftist magazine. The author has written an essay with the same title of the book that is available online that briefly gives the main arguments in this book. Leftists will find this book interesting for revealing where their stances may be counterproductive in helping to reduce cruelty and promoting the wellbeing of the least advantaged, while those more on the right will appreciate the author's compassion and clear grasp of the facts. The essay on Islam is particularly good.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paul Womack

    Not quite what I expected, but better. I appreciated his critique of a point of view from within the leftist orientation. There is so much consider from his point of view.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Raymond Lam

    According to Walzer, leftist foreign policies have exhibited themselves in various exemplifications such as support for revolutionary struggles and national liberations, anti-militarism and isolationism in international conflicts, support for justice and democracy abroad, and, the notion that the U.S. is the source of international wrongs. But these outlooks sometimes betray inconsistencies and show lack of nuances. Walzer provides in the book a better articulation of what a coherent leftist fo According to Walzer, leftist foreign policies have exhibited themselves in various exemplifications such as support for revolutionary struggles and national liberations, anti-militarism and isolationism in international conflicts, support for justice and democracy abroad, and, the notion that the U.S. is the source of international wrongs. But these outlooks sometimes betray inconsistencies and show lack of nuances. Walzer provides in the book a better articulation of what a coherent leftist foreign policy should consist. To support freedom, justice, and, democracy abroad, a commitment to an internationalism of agency is needed by establishing nation states that are decent societies for effectively providing minimal security, rights, and, welfare. For countries that don't offer decent societies, support should be offered to unions, interest groups, local organisations as well as international civil society such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch that support leftist humanitarian goals. Walzer also goes into details of humanitarian interventions (seen in his just war doctrine) that the left should support as well as how to work with various regimes, to include leftist ones, that have questionable policies. As in Walzer's other works, his discussions always feature many cases and examples in history to illustrate his points making it not a mere abstract exercise.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Michael Galant

  10. 5 out of 5

    Paweł Pieniążek

  11. 5 out of 5

    Galih Wisnuaji

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jakub

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jack Wertheimer

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Barsness

  15. 5 out of 5

    Ariella

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mauricio Santoro

  17. 4 out of 5

    Craig MacFarlane

  18. 4 out of 5

    Herman Fritz

  19. 5 out of 5

    Joel Magid

  20. 5 out of 5

    Luke Konopka

  21. 5 out of 5

    Fluorium

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jorg

  23. 5 out of 5

    Filip Lubinski

  24. 5 out of 5

    Andrei

  25. 5 out of 5

    Blake Plante

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rick Herrick

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chris Campano

  28. 4 out of 5

    Patrick

  29. 5 out of 5

    T. Timusk

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laura

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