A Foreign Policy for the Left

1396847598kosovo_bldg_antonis_lamnatos_666Michael Walzer at Dissent:

Is there such a thing as a leftist foreign policy? What are the characteristic views of the left about the world abroad? When have leftists, rightly or wrongly, defended the use of force? The arguments about what to do in Syria have led me to ask these questions, but I am after a more general answer, looking not only at the left as it is today but also at the historical left. The questions aren’t easy—first, because there have been, and there are, many lefts; and second, because left views about foreign policy change more often than left views about domestic society. Relative consistency is the mark of leftism at home, but that’s definitely not true abroad. Still, it’s possible to make out a kind of default position and then to describe the various alternative positions and the arguments for and against them. I want to join those arguments and suggest why they have gone well, sometimes, and very badly at other times.

The basic position appears early in recorded history. I first discovered it when reading the biblical prophets, who have often been an inspiration to Western leftists. The prophets argued that if the Israelites obeyed the divine commandments, stopped grinding the faces of the poor, and established a just society, they would live in their land forever, safe against Assyrian and Babylonian imperialism.

more here.