Thursday, November 09, 2006

Reason to be Scared

What do Fidel Castro, Yassir Arafat, Nelson Pinochet, Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, and Hosni Mubarak all have in common?
Yes, they are all tyrants who have oppressed the people of their respective countries. Yes, they have all imprisoned and/or murdered any who opposed their regimes. Yes, they have all incited anger against the United States. And, yes, they were all either emplaced or empowered by "realist" US foreign policy.
Politically speaking, the term "Realist" does not refer to one whose philosophy is based on reality. It often refers to one who cannot learn from past mistakes. "Realist" is often the term used for those who look for immediate results that aren't necessarily beneficial for the long-term security of the United States. Realists are most likely to believe in the myth of benevolent dictatorship, and that it is better to have a stable dictatorship than an unfriendly democracy. There is, in reality, no such thing as a benevolent dictatorship.
Realists initially saw Fidel Castro as a preferable alternative to the Batista regime of Cuba, and Castro was given military training in the United States and some technical and logistic support in his revolution to overthrow the blatantly criminal Batista. Arafat was seen by Realists as a partner for peace, even as he was imprisoning Palestinian dissidents, embezzling money meant for the aid of the Palestinian people, and enlisting suicide bombers to attack targets in Israel. The election to power of the militant terrorist group Hamas was a direct result of the backlash against Arafat and the US support of that criminal. American Realists overtly replaced the overthrown Chilean Socialist dictator Salvador Allende with the Nazi dictator Nelson Pinochet, who was a mass murderer and oppressive tyrant. This ultimately created backlash gave rise to such sworn enemies of the United States as Hugo Chavez and Daniel Ortega. Manuel Noriega ruled Panama with an iron fist, terrorizing the population with midnight goon squad raids and imprisonment of those who opposed him, and using the Panama Canal as a blackmail issue against the rest of the world. Realists considered Noriega preferable to the threat of a Communist being elected into power, then overthrew his government, using the "war on drugs" as justification in doing so. This was yet another step in increasing anti-American sentiments in Central and South America. American Realists supported Saddam all the way up to his invasion of Kuwait in 1991, as a common enemy against the Islamist regime in Iran, and the previous government of Iraq, which was closely allied to the Soviet Union. Mubarak is still seen by Realists as a "moderate" ally of the US in the Middle and Near East, even as he suppresses freedom of speech among anti-Jihadis, refuses to hold a free election, relegates non-Muslims and secularists to Dhimmi status, and incites hatred toward Israel and the United States. In short, Realists ignore reality.
It is necessary to find a better way to win the war in Iraq, and some changes are preferable to what is happening now. However, political Realism is the practice of doing exactly what Ben Franklin was warning against, when he said, "Those who are willing to sacrifice liberty for temporary security deserve neither."
James Baker, who is heading a bi-partisan study group that will present recommendations on the conduct of the war in Iraq is a Realist. Robert Gates, who will likely be confirmed as Secretary of Defense, is a member of the Baker group, and a Realist.
John Bolton, who has performed better than could be expected as US Ambassador to the United Nations, is not likely to be confirmed, in favor of placing an as yet unnamed Realist in that position. Condoleezza Rice, who believes--correctly, in my opinion--along with President Bush, that the spread of worldwide Democracy is in the best interest of the future of our national security, finds her job in jeopardy. Realists are now poised to dictate a foreign policy that has repeatedly failed in the past. That policy still creates a negative view of America by the rest of the world--it enhances the perception that we are arrogant and meddling.
Now I'm scared.


Clance' McClannahan said...

At least Americans are thinking a little bit again...

RevJim said...

Clance, I agree that a change in thought is very necessary. I don't think realism is a good thing, though. According to many Iraqis, if Saddam had been removed from office in 1991, most Iraqis would have a better attitude toward America. The realists thought that Saddam was preferable to any other government in Iraq at the time. We have to think big picture.