Council Special Report

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Both Sides of the Aisle

Author: Nancy E. Roman

Both Sides of the Aisle - both-sides-of-the-aisle

Publisher Council on Foreign Relations Press

Release Date September 2005

48 pages
Council Special Report No. 9


People naturally disagree about who is responsible for the partisan tone and tactics in Washington, DC, these days, but most agree on this: It's worse, it's more intense, and it's nastier. And few on either side are enjoying it much.

This report will not pine for a golden age of brotherly love that never existed in Washington. The capital city has always been a partisan place full of rough-and-tumble political brawling. However, this report will suggest it is better to work with all—not half—of our collective foreign policy brain. Today, like at so many significant moments in history, much is unsettled. Policymakers are seeking to understand the Muslim world, anti-Americanism is intensifying, the White House is attempting new policies in the Middle East, and the United States is embroiled in a war testing all those policies. So this is a time for asking questions, not pulling down the blinds. Yet, fewer opportunities exist for the two parties to deliberate on foreign policy issues. The big foreign policy issues, both regional and topical, that currently dominate the agenda—Iraq, Iran, North Korea, China, nuclear proliferation, trade, and immigration—will benefit from a process that engages the wisdom from both sides of the aisle.

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