March 09, 2004

From Iraq to Haiti

Those who care about both human rights and consensus in the international community owe it to themselves to read Carroll Andrew Morse's piece in Tech Central Station: The Bias Towards Brutality and Totalitarianism.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at March 9, 2004 09:53 PM

What can I say? She's absolutely right.

I've long understood democracy as the only true and sovereign system of government. Human rights are sovereign. Individuals are sovereign. States are not. The will of the people is what really matters, not so much even necessarily who's in charge.

We took the "he's a son of a bitch but he's our son of a bitch" road during the Cold War because, arguably, we had no other choice. The Soviets have been defeated, however, and we're left no excuses anymore. The best foreign policy for a myriad of reasons is a principled foreign policy in today's day and age. It should be about doing what's right, period: Fighting the Roots of Terrorism with the Power of Liberalism. It's always nice to look and see that others are making the connections every once in a while, as well.

Tell your TCS buds to keep up the good work.

Posted by: Grant McEntire at March 9, 2004 11:23 PM

Reccommended reading indeed.

Posted by: FH at March 10, 2004 07:41 AM

The usual suspects were protesting in front of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange on Monday, which I gather from the flyers, was supposed to be "Womens Global Strike" day, or something like that.

Prominent among the small (maybe 30?) crowd were signs protesting the removal of Aristide. That and some others with signs in Spanish about Venezuela. I think it had to do with these people afraid that Chavez wasn't shooting enough protesters in Caracas.

Posted by: eric at March 10, 2004 10:29 AM

The writer makes a very incisive point. I was greatly heartened by Bush's speech of a few months ago that the status quo ante in the Middle East was a cynical bargain that served neither the West nor the Arab peoples well. One major potential benefit of the regime change in Iraq is that it's helping to smash the status quo in the Middle East. It is genuinely importnat that the most powerful man in the world has admitted that we were mistaken. Increasingly, revelations from Iran, Syria, Pakistan, and even demonstrations iN Syria and Saudi Arabia, show that the status quo ante has indeed been broken. Its no wonder the jihadis are fighting desperately to sow chaos and put the brakes on this powerful change--in the long term, democratic reforms (even if partial) and prosperity are perhaps the deadliest threat to their extremist and hateful ideologies. Liberals (in the English sense of the word) should hold Bush's feet to the fire and make certain that this goes beyond mere rhetoric and is backed up by consistent policy and by action.

One of my big problems with Kerry is that in order to score political points, he seems to studiously avoid acknowledging the revolutionary importance of this change, and has yet to say that he would continue to consistently pursue it.

Trying to retrofit the changed reality in the Middle East into the status quo ante "international cooperation" framework is, as the writer points out, a recipe for backsliding and loss of very substantial gains in human and civil rights for a substantial part of the Arab world, and would result in turning what has been a highly meaningful and significant change there into something which is far less substantive. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall...but Humpty was not only Saddam's regime, but the corrupt "international community" which tolerated his deadly actions for so long. Kerry seems to be proposing to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. Nothing I can bring myself to vote for, despite my other problems with Bush.

Posted by: Daniel Calto at March 11, 2004 05:14 AM

Pajamas Media BlogRoll Member


"I'm flattered such an excellent writer links to my stuff"
Johann Hari
Author of God Save the Queen?

Andrew Sullivan
Author of Virtually Normal

"Brisk, bracing, sharp and thoughtful"
James Lileks
Author of The Gallery of Regrettable Food

"A hard-headed liberal who thinks and writes superbly"
Roger L. Simon
Author of Director's Cut

"Lively, vivid, and smart"
James Howard Kunstler
Author of The Geography of Nowhere

Contact Me

Send email to michaeltotten001 at gmail dot com

News Feeds


Link to Michael J. Totten with the logo button


Tip Jar


Terror and Liberalism
Paul Berman, The American Prospect

The Men Who Would Be Orwell
Ron Rosenbaum, The New York Observer

Looking the World in the Eye
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

In the Eigth Circle of Thieves
E.L. Doctorow, The Nation

Against Rationalization
Christopher Hitchens, The Nation

The Wall
Yossi Klein Halevi, The New Republic

Jihad Versus McWorld
Benjamin Barber, The Atlantic Monthly

The Sunshine Warrior
Bill Keller, The New York Times Magazine

Power and Weakness
Robert Kagan, Policy Review

The Coming Anarchy
Robert D. Kaplan, The Atlantic Monthly

England Your England
George Orwell, The Lion and the Unicorn