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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A moment for war

I consider it a moral requirement to understand and voice an opinion on wartime issues, because it involves men and women dying by the decisions of the goverment for which I am in some small way responsible. But I've not written on international politics in a while, not just because I don't want to spend too much time on it, in my mind or in this blog, but also because I've been increasingly feeling exasperated and confused about the situation at hand. I've recently read two articles which have helped clarify my thinking.

One article by Robert Tracinski, "The Weapon of the Weak", makes the point that despite the growing -- nay, deafening -- chorus of defeatism in the West, the U.S. is overwhelmingly winning on the battlefield against Iraqi insurgents. The proof that the bad guys are losing is exactly that they have been reduced to the hopeless strategy of terrorism, the deadly theatrics of those who are too weak to actually wage war, but hope to fill television screens with enough violence to intimidate the voting public of their much more powerful enemies. (Since anti-insurgency wars have historically taken 7+ years to win, it is still an open question if this tactic will work; the 2008 U.S. presidential election will be the decisive moment.)

The other article was of a speech given by Charles Krauthammer last year, "Democratic Realism". It is perhaps the only article by a non-Objectivist that anyone needs to read in order to understand our basic foreign policy options. Not only is it Krauthammer at his absolute best as a writer, with hardly a passage that isn't quotable, but it gives an extremely helpful overview and dissection of the four major foreign policy theories operating in the U.S. I don't agree with all of his analysis, but rarely are so many important things said in so little space.


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