Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Howard Dean

Those wondering why I haven't jumped on the Howard Dean bandwagon should check out Matthew Yglesias's comments on his promise to renegotiate NAFTA. The key issues: "The thing about renegotiating a deal is that normally it takes two to renegotiate. In the case of a trilateral agreement like NAFTA, it takes three. I've seen no sign from Mexican President Vincente Fox, Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chr├ętien, or Chr├ętien's heir apparent Paul Martin that there's any interest in persuing a renegotiation of this sort. What, exactly, does Dean propose to offer his negotiating partners in exchange for these concessions? Alternatively, if he's not offering anything, what is he threatening to do if they don't agree? Will he pull out of NAFTA? For that matter, before we get into the question of what Dean's going to offer, what is he asking for?"

I like Howard Dean a lot, but wonder if he can play international politics, especially in terms of more complex foreign policy issues. He's made headway on this with me as I've heard more from him, but the ability to implement ideas is as important, of not moreso, than the ideas themselves. The jury remains out...


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