Middle East Expert: Rudy and Foreign Policy Brain Share “Boot in the Face” Mentality

When asked about Rudy Giuliani’s senior Iraq advisor, whom I profiled in today’s paper, Steve Simon, a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations and a former staffer on the National Security Council in the Clinton administration, said that “He and Giuliani are made for one another.”

He said both men share a belief, very different than that of President Bush, that America should embrace a less idealistic foreign policy.

“Giuliani seems to believe that the only thing the other guy understands is a boot in the face, and so he has a boot in the face foreign policy,” said Simon. He said that Kramer, a self-proclaimed democratization cynic, represented a view not uncommon amongst Israeli foreign policy experts, in that he stressed views Simon characterized as “the height of neorealism on international relations .”

Essentially, Simon said the two men viewed too much democracy promotion as counterproductive to American security interests.

“You’re just going to wind up with Hezbollah or Hamas running these countries if that gets out of hand,” Simon said, characterizing Mr. Giuliani’s and Mr. Kramer’s thinking. “On balance the only strategically sensible course is to put all this democracy stuff on the back burner and focus on what’s really important. That’s certainly a departure from the Bush view.”