In the aftermath of events in Benghazi (the background of which Professor Juan Cole pins down like a butterfly, and the interpretation of which is covered ably by Diplopundit), and considering the rise of a certain strand of Objectivism in Republican foreign policy, Jordan Bloom’s extensive essay on Ayn Rand and imperialism merits more than a glance.
Given all the 1979 references floating around, a discussion between none other than Phil Donahue and Ayn Rand (fiesty, worth a thousand diseased Krauthammers) in that horrible year seems apropos:
Linking all strands together, as usual, is Rand’s interlocutor Alan Greenspan, who apparently should have labelled China a “currency manipulator,” as this new China-focused Romney advertisement appears to assert.
All of the above would have a great deal more heft if Romney’s East Asia policy advisor, Evan Feigenbaum, would start knocking out a few working papers or shadow drafts for his presumptive boss about what Romney’s “vision” for East Asia really is. According to his CFR site, Feigenbaum doesn’t appear to have produced anything public since April. Can a guy at least give a comment about something inconsequential, like how Romney would handle China policy in the event of a major Politburo shakeup in Beijing? Given Romney’s blithe (though hardly irrevocable) dismissal of Japan as a legitimate partner in the region, Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy wonders if Romney even has such a vision.
It would be nice to see a slightly more aggressive debate going on about East Asia, and Feigenbaum would appear to be the ideal vehicle. Not that Feigenbaum should be as rabidly irresponsible or as visible as the slick yet tightly-wound bundle of faux-Arabist mendacity known as Dan Senor, but East Asia (and the whole Ayn Rand thing, given Paul Ryan’s entrance as potential chief executive) deserves a fuller airing in this campaign.
Meanwhile, Jon Huntsman (no Henry Kissinger, but far stronger than, say, Condi Rice when it comes to China) did not even attend the Republican Convention.
All things considered, maybe “Ayn Rand” is the best answer the presumably leading figures of the Republican Party can presently come up with in articulating a vision of the world. On the plus side, East Asia is no longer being blocked by Hermain Cain’s entrepreneurial jowls.
Talking about what is “civilized”, as Ayn Rand does: donnybrooks are certainly part of Western civilization, and that’s why talk shows like the one above are civilized.
As for Feigenbaum not offering a vision, could it be that there is simply no agreement between Romney and him, but that they don’t want to fall out, because that would be the only thing the general public would actually notice? After all, the whole Romney/Ryan campaign is more about getting Obama out of the White House, than about the man who they want to replace him, isn’t it?