President Bush supports testing in our schools for a good reason: it’s a very important tool in determining effectiveness. However, when it comes to testing foreign policy for effectiveness, he wants to avoid and even mocks the idea. Presidential candidate Kerry discussed his commitment in always defending our country. He also suggested it was important to test foreign policy for effectiveness, which he called the “Global Test”. This is not the best title since it has been an easy target of 10-second sound bites. But no matter what the term, it is an important and necessary concept.
In the “Global Test”, you recognize a problem, come up with a solution, and then test that solution by explaining to Americans and our allies what you are doing and why. From that you determine if you have the support you want and need to be successful. If you don’t then you either change your plans to account for the lack of support, or change to build support.
One reason Bush has mocked this concept; it should have been applied before Iraq. Looking at the US attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq, you see two very different results. Our attack on the Taliban in Afghanistan had solid support from all our allies; we all knew why we were going in before we did. This action passed the test; because of this, it has been a largely successful mission.
In Iraq, however, we explained why we were going in and still approximately 38% of Americans thought it was not time to invade Iraq. Also, most of the UN Security Council did not buy the reason we sold them. The reason stated to the UN was weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and Iraq as an imminent threat to the US. They wanted more proof on WMD, and did not see Iraq as an imminent threat to the US. And on both they have been proven to be correct. So the Iraq invasion failed the test, and this mission has not been as successful as we need.
If the current administration had applied the test before going into Iraq they may still have chosen to go in, but they would have known to re-plan. And if they had, they may have even tried telling the world the truth: that Iraq was fast becoming a failed state with a dangerous despot as a leader. And that such situations need to be dealt with by the world. Making that argument would have taken longer, but in the end would be far more effective, simply because it’s the truth!