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Friday, October 28, 2005

Placating The Tyrants

While the "realist" school of global politics as practiced and espoused by Brent Scowcroft, the National Security Advisor to both Presidents Ford and Bush (the elder), results in momentary "peace" today, it can cause worse problems in the future. Charles Krauthammer adds:

Realists prize stability above all, and there is nothing more stable than a ruthlessly efficient dictatorship. Which is why Scowcroft is the man who six months after Tiananmen Square toasted those who ordered the massacre; who, as the world celebrates the Beirut Spring that evicted the Syrian occupation from Lebanon, sees not liberation but possible instability; who can barely conceal a preference for Syria's stabilizing iron rule.

The practice of real politic has had many instances where repressive regimes were given life-sustaining time and resources to bolster their hold on their countries and countrymen. If anyone is paying attention to the UN Oil for Food investigation, how many thousands of Iraqis paid the price for over a decade due to policy of the "realists", "pacifists" and "charading hawks".

Clifford May writes in "The Myth of Stability":

Conflicts are sometimes inevitable – delay only ensures they will be more painful when they erupt. World War II would not have been so costly – indeed, might never have occurred -- had Hitler been challenged in 1933 or soon after...

Maybe this policy has been the cause of today's problems with Islamo-Fascism. May writes:

For decades, the desire for stability has led us to support not Arabs and Muslims who advocate freedom and democracy -- but their oppressors. That led many in the Middle East to conclude – with some justification -- that they had nowhere to turn except to the Islamic Fascists.

Placating the dictator has time and again been of short-term value. Michale McFaul in the Hoover Digest discusses the American experience with Uzbekistan. The dictator there Karimov initially assitsed us in the terror war. But of late he has been mowing down citizens for "national security" reasons and has intimated his desire that we remove our military bases there. He has become closer to Putin and the terror threat grows. Writes McFaul (sorry no link to this article avaliable):

Autocrats... never make for good allies in the long run.

He explains that autocrats answer to no one so they can readily reverse themselves and there is no internal stability as their actions "fuel societal resistance by resorting to even more repression". The realists and their realpolitic are no answer except to delay a worse danger.

We have heard, especially during the last presidential campaign, the realists along with the pacifists say that "War is the last resort." My question is when do you know when it is the "last" resort? I hope it is some time short of a mushroom cloud over Manhattan. Such a view cannot measure when "enough is enough" in time. They are counting the dead soldiers from the Iraq conflict. They cannot count how many lives may have been saved.


At 12:19 PM, Anonymous Jman said...

To answer your question: you know that war (the sending of our sons and daughters possibly to their deaths) is a last resort when weapons inspectors are allowed to complete their task and when we have allies like we did for the first gulf war, WWII, Afganistan and the Balkins.

Is your post really about a debate regarding the "realist" school, or is it about attempting to justify the war in Iraq? If it's the latter as I suspect it is, it would be more genuine to address the facts related to this war and not substitute a policy debate. Then again, if you did that, you'd be a realist.

At 4:26 AM, Blogger Dr Zen said...

It seems almost churlish to point out to a knownothing regressive that there were no nuclear weapons, and therefore, no prospect of a mushroom cloud over Manhattan or anywhere else.

How many lives were saved? No American ones. Probably few Iraqi ones too. You've killed them much more efficiently than ol' Saddam ever managed.

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