Bill Richardson may be a joke in so many ways, and the idea of him as President fills me with unmitigated horror, but his article on foreign policy (while mind-numbingly conventional in many, many ways) is many things that Obama’s was not: focused, organised and specific.  When he talks about reforming international institutions, he lays out at least a couple specific proposals:

US leaders also must restore their commitment to international law and multilateral cooperation, which means many things. It means promoting expansion of the UN Security Council’s permanent membership to include Japan, India, Germany, and one country each from Africa and Latin America. It also means ethical reform at the United Nations so that this vital institution can help its many underdeveloped and destitute member states meet the challenges of the 21st century. Finally, it means expanding the G8 to include new economic giants like India and China.

These may or may not all be terrible ideas.  I think that an expanded Security Council, if we have to have one, is more desirable than the current anachronistic arrangement.  I might challenge the list of countries to be included, but in principle there is no reason why a country as large as, say, Brazil should be ruled out for consideration for a permanent seat.  “Ethical reform” is still too vague, but it is more than what Obama has offered.  The G8 proposal is as intriguing as it is far-fetched and unlikely to be accepted in the other G8 states.  Then again, if you are including Russia for geopolitical reasons, why not bring in the two largest countries?  The short answer for why you would keep them out is that you don’t want China dictating any part of world currency policy.  Even so, compared to Barack “Pie In The Sky” Obama’s foreign policy, where the health of every Indonesian chicken will be looked after, Richardson’s article is strangely refreshing and seems almost sane by comparison.  Richardson’s priorities are often the wrong ones, and I wouldn’t support many of the things he proposes, but at least he has some minimal grasp on what he’s talking about.  Obama had best watch out.  The “New Mexican” may surprise him before all is said and done.

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