Friday, November 24, 2006

How does that Realism work?

Jim Geraghty has a thought or two on the subject. The Reader's Digest Condensed Version? It's called "assassination":

There's a reason Americans are generally skeptical of international institutions and their laws, rules, and regulations. They generally stink.

Besides the revelation that "Grosse Pointe Blank" was an inadvertent documentary, the current assassination chic reveals that democratic reformers, the international order, civilians in the wrong place at the wrong time, etc., are doomed, at least as long as they play by these rules. The Syrians, the KGB, terror groups, etc. ignore all rules and laws and simply do what is necessary to kill anyone who stands in their way.

The "good guys" not only don't use the same tactics, they've pledged to never consider it, through executive orders and death penalty bans. It's funny how Rep. Charlie "Let's Reinstate The Draft Specifically Because It Will Make the U.S. Military Less Effective" Rangel can lament the "assassination" of Uday and Qusay. The killing of Abu Zarqawi was also often described as "an assassination" in the U.S. press. Sadly, a hellfire missile coming out of the sky does not pause to read the target his rights.

I made the mistake of watching "Munich" last week, in which I learned that assassinating members of Black September who helped plot a terrorist attack is "not righteous." That it's not something that good Jews do. No, good Jews lay down and die for their assailants, apparently. Or they live safely in Hollywood like Spielberg and make movies about how immoral it is for Israelis to assassinate terrorists.

In a world in which the innocent are not safe while eating in Britain, or driving through the streets of Beirut, or running for office in Ukraine or working in skyscrapers in New York City, I turn to my social betters, the ones so quick to lament the blood on our hands from "assassination" and ask, "Okay, how do you want to fight this war?" Or perhaps, more specifically, "how do you want to win?" The bad guys are out to win, and will put out all the stops.

And if they say "international tribunal," they might as well come out and say, "we're okay with dying."

Because, you know, waterboarding is mean. Much meaner than poisoning someone or shooting up his car.

Additionally, there's this piece at the Weekly Standard that touches on the larger issue of realism in foreign policy. The discussion goes no better and leaves no better taste in the mouth when finished:

So let's add up the "realist" proposals: We must retreat from Iraq, and thus abandon all those Iraqis--Shiite, Sunni, Kurd, and others--who have depended on the United States for safety and the promise of a better future. We must abandon our allies in Lebanon and the very idea of an independent Lebanon in order to win Syria's support for our retreat from Iraq. We must abandon our opposition to Iran's nuclear program in order to convince Iran to help us abandon Iraq. And we must pressure our ally, Israel, to accommodate a violent Hamas in order to gain radical Arab support for our retreat from Iraq.

This is what passes for realism these days. But of course this is not realism. It is capitulation. Were the United States to adopt this approach every time we faced a difficult set of problems, were we to attempt to satisfy our adversaries' every whim in order to win their acquiescence, we would rapidly cease to play any significant role in the world. We would be neither feared nor respected--nor, of course, would we be any better liked. Our retreat would win us no friends and lose us no adversaries.

Again I is this 'realistic' approach to the circumstances we find ourselves in vis-a-vis Iraq and the ME in general leave us any better off? How is it in our best interest to extract meaningless promises from Iran and Syria that we realistically have no means of obtaining in the first place?

Are we that selfish? Is it really that we have no stomach for the fight?

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