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Right Intention: Realist Foreign Policy

Friday, March 04, 2005

Realist Foreign Policy

Charles Krauthammer takes a look at the recent events in the Middle East. But I like this key section best:

Revolution is in the air. What to do? We are already hearing voices for restraint about liberating Lebanon. Flynt Leverett, your usual Middle East expert, takes to The New York Times to oppose immediate withdrawal of Syria's occupation of Lebanon. Instead, we should be trying to ``engage and empower'' the tyranny in Damascus.

These people never learn. Here we are on the threshold of what Arabs in the region are calling the fall of their own Berlin Wall, and our ``realists'' want us to go back to making deals with dictators. It would be not just a blunder but a tragedy to try to rein in the revolution in Lebanon. It would betray our principles. And it would betray the people in Lebanon who have been encouraged by our proclamation of those principles.


I've never understood the "realist" camp, particularly since the end of the Cold War. There was a good argument to be made for "realism" during the Cold War, although I was never comfortable with it. But after the collapse of the Soviet Union, I saw no reason for it. There were foreign policy reasons to discard the "realist" ideology, but I opposed it for a simpler reason. It was wrong to support dictators that oppress their own citizens just because we didn't want to deal with the after effects of seeing democracies take root. It always struck me as selfish.

2 Comments:

Blogger trulyblueamerican said...

The most famous party in the US for "making deals with dictators" is the Republican party, most notably Reagan and Bush and now Bush Jr.

Bush Jr. had to go bomb the Afghan terrorist training camps that Ronald Reagan built. In doing so, Bush partnered with Pakistan's Musharaff, a (fellow) unelected product-of-a-coup.

So on another day, another Republican can justify a false war to take Musharaff out.

It's like Republicans are always paving the way for future generations of false reasons to go to war, by cozying up to bad people NOW to create bad eggs in the future.

It's a self licking ice cream cone.

And lets not forget--one big reason that "revolution is in the air" is because the US is fomenting it by raping the center of Arabia and the cradle of civilization: Iraq.

10:36 PM  
Blogger RD said...

Both sides were proponents of the realist camp. Moreover, Democrats had their favorite dictators, too. The difference was that Democrats were sympathetic to the ideology (Castro & others) of their preferred dictators, while the Republicans made deals of convenience. You may blame Republicans more because generally they have held the White House, at least for the majority of my lifetime.

And I believe you have to view the world in pre and post 9/11 terms. We were right to help the Afghanis fight the Soviets by whatever means available, which at the time meant by proxy via people like Musharaff. The chief threat at the time, the Soviet Union, demanded a different response.

And it sounds like we have a serious difference of opinion on the current goings on in the fertile crescent.

2:07 AM  

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