Thursday, March 09, 2006

Just too long for the comments

This post should really be in the comments for my 'Rick Steves is wrong' but it is just too long. If you aren't interested in this topic, skip this post. Also, it may be helpful to skip down and read the comments in the 'Rick Steves is wrong post' for some background.

Now, Old Man disputes my claim that communism was an evil ideology that kept people enslaved and that Islamo-fascism is its 21st century manifestation by showing that communism has different historical roots and social contexts. Well, of course, it does, but that doesn’t change the outcome. The complete domination by a few over the many. The trampling of universal human rights. Millions were yoked under communism and are now free. Millions are now yoked by Islamo-fascism (or Islamo-authoritarianism) and yearn for freedom. If America is the “land of the free” why aren’t we doing everything we can for those yearning for freedom?

r. johnson challenges my assumption that 9/11 changed everything. He believes that it planted seeds of fear about Arabs/Muslims attacking America. I will give him this point. However, would that make a difference? If our motivations are that we want to protect ourselves is that morally or ethically lower than if we just want freedom for them? What if the two are intrinsically linked?

Then, he asserts, as a sign of Americans’ navel gazing, that we don’t care about Darfur or the Balakot earthquake. That is completely wrong. American Christian evangelicals are leading the charge for action in Darfur. It is the Europeans that are pussy-footing around. Americans didn’t give in large amounts to the Balakot relief effort, but I think that could easily be chalked up to natural disaster fatigue. The Boxing Day tsunami and New Orleans took a toll on American giving. However, the US government helped out and it helped improve our image there.

Let me ask r. johnson a few questions. You say, “It is not our obligation to force democracy on everyone else.” Why not? Are not free people responsible to help others become free or should we just get rich and fat while others toil under the yoke of opression?

You say, “Our 'sole superpower' status does not give us the right to force our views on others. Our 'sole superpower' status gives us the responsibility for showing respect to foreign cultures and governments.” Even those that don’t respect us? How much respect do you have for Saudi Arabia where women are legally owned by male family members? How much respect do you have for Iran where political dissidents are given sham trials and unfair prison sentences? How does one respect China where freedom of the press and information is routinely censored?

I don’t respect that. I can’t respect that. It is in violation of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. That kind of government and governance is completely unacceptable and I have no problem calling a spade a spade on this one.

PT has some excellent comments I hadn’t really considered about fighting a counter-insurgency, but then wants to know “Of what interest to a Christian is the international projection of American power, when all such projections have gotten us are disasters?” PT is selling America short on that one. America has helped establish a safer and more stable Haiti, Central Europe and the Balkans by projecting our political and military power.

More importantly what is a Christian to think and do when their country is the sole superpower? Am I guilty, as PT says, of it not occurring to me that one can have good intentions and yet make a colossal mess of things? Is PT guilty of assuming that every action must turn out poorly and for the worst? Could it be that the world is a complicated and variable place where there are always unintentional and unforeseen consequences?

Let us consider PT’s final thoughts, “Far better, in keeping with the historic Christian theological understanding of restraint in matters of the use of force, to slash our weapons' expenditures and manifest the spirit of Christ, than to continue the disastrous policies of intervention that have brought us to where we are now.”

Really? Since when has America NOT had a policy of intervention? Back in 1823 President Monroe declared the Monroe Doctrine and we went to war almost immediately to defend it. Or considering cutting our weapons’ expenditure and retreating from being the sole superpower. Does PT and his allies not believe some other nation won’t step up to fill that power vacuum? If you think America being the sole superpower is confusing, wait til that vacuum is filled by a multi-polar world of Chinese, Indian, Russian, Arab and European interests.

America gains nothing by adopting an isolationist foreign policy. Why would we think that this:
My country, 'tis of Thee,
Sweet Land of Liberty
Of thee I sing;
Land where my fathers died,
Land of the pilgrims' pride,
From every mountain side
Let Freedom ring.

applies only to a specific chunk of North America?

We are the free world's leader, we must act that way.