Frame #2: The "Global Alliance" Frame Major Proponent: Russ Feingold Key Points: - Iraq is an occupation. - Iraq has created U.S. national security problems that previously did not exist. - The main problem is isolation from international allies in...

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Jeffrey Feldman, Editor-in-Chief
Frameshop, 07/05/2006

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Frame #2:   The "Global Alliance" Frame
Major Proponent:   Russ Feingold
Key Points: - Iraq is an occupation.
- Iraq has created U.S. national security problems that previously did not exist.
- The main problem is isolation from international allies in the global fight against terrorism.
- For America to achieve that goal, Democrats must redeploy troops and recruit allies.
- As long as we are in Iraq, U.S. national security is compromised.

The second alternative to the Republican view of Iraq is the "Global Alliance" frame, promoted by a variety of Democrats, but associated most clearly with Presidential candidate Russ Feingold.

The Logic of the "Global Alliance" Frame
The logic of the "Global Alliance" frame can be seen in this snippet from Russ Feingold's "On The Issues" statement about U.S. foreign policy:

Fighting terrorism must be our our first foreign policy and national security priority. The United States must take focused, careful, and decisive steps to combat terrorist networks and enhance the security of the American people. At the same time, we cannot permit the fight against terrorism to be used to justify unwise policies, an erosion of our civil liberties, or a repudiation of our national values. Part of protecting our security is protecting our freedom and our way of life.

The serious threats to our national security demand a robust response. The U.S. must work to track down the leaders of terrorist networks and to cut off terrorists' access to financing. We must use diplomatic skill to build solid relationships around the world to facilitate crucial intelligence sharing and cooperation. The United States must combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and develop more effective ways to prevent and contain chemical, biological, and radiological attacks. And we must work to bring stability to weak and failing states, where disorder presents dangerous opportunities to international criminals.

I think that both Congress and the American people must carefully consider how
the United States should proceed in our foreign policy. The occupation of Iraq triggered an important debate about the direction that the country is taking in international affairs.

Here we see the logic behind the statements of a great many Democrats who adhere to the "Global Alliance" frame.  Proponents of this frame begin not by talking about 'war' in Iraq per se, but by defining a much larger vision for national security.  The security of the United States is not about Iraq, but terrorism.  And the fight against terrorism does not depend on the situation in Iraq alone, but on our overall strategy of building alliances and working with allies to contain, limit,  and control those groups that seek to use terrorism in the world.

The "Global Alliance" Frame fits into a broad political strategy that casts 'danger' as 'isolation.'  In this frame, the Iraq occupation has made America less safe because:  it has alienated our allies and left us alone in the world.  We cannot protect America alone in the face of the new threat of small groups that seek to use terrorism to attack.

The Strengths of the "Global Alliance"  Frame
The strength of this frame is its broad vision for American national security based on leadership rather than military occupation.  The "Global Alliance" proponents speak often about how the Iraq occupation as isolated a once great American foreign policy from allies who no longer trust the Bush Administration.

The second strength of this frame is its bold attempt to present a global strategy for protecting America, rather than just critique the Bush Administration.  This logic emerges through talk of 'wasted resources' and 'getting bogged down' in Iraq at the expense of the bigger picture goal of protecting America.


The Weakness of the "Global Alliance"  Frame
The first weakness of the of this frame is that it does not seem to have momentum, and therefore not enough adherants.  This is because it is very difficult to demonstrate that 'alliances' keep the United States safe from attack.

The second weakness is that this frame defines national security without real talk about use of the military.  The frame lacks any direct appeal to military service or pride that the Republican ideology of domination controls.  The actual talk about where U.S. forces will go to protect Americans is absent from this frame.

Conclusion:  A Frame For Democrats Seeking 100% Rejection Of Neo-Con Ideology
For Democrats who want to reject the Neo-Con ideology of the Bush White House, the "Global Alliance" Frame is the frame of choice.  It attracts and will continue to attract those candidates who are seeking to present a big picture alternative to the likes of Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney who see "brute force" and "pre-emption" as the way to protect America. 

Obviously,  when presenting an ideology to compete with the dominant ideology in power,  it helps to have massive resources (e.g., cable  broadcast stations,  radio talk shows, lots and lots of allies at the state and local level).   Therefore, this frame which speaks most of the need to marshal resources and build allies--ironically--seems to need more resources and allies before it can hold the debate.


©  2006 Jeffrey Feldman

© Jeffrey Feldman 2006, Frameshop

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