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Foreign Policy Must Change

Moynihan, Kristol: U.S. Should Adapt to Post-Cold War Era

By Judith E. Dutton

The United States has not adjusted its foreign policy to the different parameters of a post-Cold War world, Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-N.Y.) and editor Irving Kristol said yesterday.

Before a crowd of more than 100 at the Yenching lecture hall, Moynihan said the Clinton administration has to "rethink ideological rigidities and the hard distinctions of the Cold War."

"We have emerged into a period not of relief, but of a different kind of conflict," said Moynihan. He said he blames ethnic tensions for the increase in violent conflicts around the world in recent years.

According to Moynihan, the U.S. is inclined to underestimate ethnic issues in other nations.

"In the 20th century, the vertical categories of nationalism are more crucial than horizontal concepts of class distinction," Moynihan said. "The U.S. has never realized this."

Moynihan said that the biggest problem in the American future is economic rebuilding.

"The Cold War has cost us dearly," he said. And he said because many government agencies will resist substantial change, "The new administration will not be able to get the Cold War out of the budget."

While Moynihan focused on global ethnic conflict, Kristol attacked a different aspect of foreign policy.

"We are a very moralistic people and morality gives us a headache," Kristol said, adding that Americans get "tied in knots" in attempts to form a cohesive moral policy.

Kristol warned that America should not try to impose a single moral standard on its foreign policy across different situations.

As an example, Kristol cited the disparity between U.S. involvements in Somalia and Bosnia. He said that the U.S.' different policies were justified by the specific conditions in the two areas.

Kristol also said that the U.S. struggles to resolve conflicts between the moral and practical approaches to foreign policy.

"This is the quandary you get into when you permit morality in common sense, general principles to get in the way of specific, concrete details," Kristol said.

Kristol described instances in U.S. history where he said Americans "were right to be wrong," when they did morally wrong things that ultimately reaped benefits.

Kristol said "the general rhetoric for foreign policy became moralized" after World War I with the establishment of the League of Nations.

And he said that morality has continued to the present.

"When the Cold War ended, the U.S. was left with a lot of unused moral energy," Kristol said. This energy was transformed into the goal of spreading democratic processes to every nation, according to Kristol.

"Today, we believe in the divine right of elections," Kristol said. "But elections amidst ethnic conflict are hopeless."

Yesterday's lecture was the first of the Warren and Anita Manshel Lecture series, an annual or at least biennial lecture on United States foreign policy

"Today, we believe in the divine right of elections," Kristol said. "But elections amidst ethnic conflict are hopeless."

Yesterday's lecture was the first of the Warren and Anita Manshel Lecture series, an annual or at least biennial lecture on United States foreign policy

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