Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Obscurantist Liberalism

Gleen Greenwald lays out the axioms of foreign policy discussion in the United States as relates to situations like the one with Colombia:
(1) Any government or group that takes money from and is allied with the U.S. is inherently good. Anything they do -- including invasions, wars and other acts of violence -- is just and "bold."

(2) Any government or group that opposes the U.S. is inherently bad and anything they do is inherently unjust (even when it's exactly the same behavior as the praiseworthy behavior in category (1)). By definition, they're "Terrorists."

(3) Any government or group that takes money from and is allied with the U.S. is "democratic," regardless of whether they gained or seek power through elections. Such governments and groups are also devoted to "human rights," no matter how much arbitrary imprisonment, murdering of political opponents, torture and other due process abridgments they commit.

(4) Any government or group that opposes the U.S. is "anti-democratic" -- "enemies of democracy," a Dictatorship -- even when they gained or seek power through elections.

(5) The U.S. has a vital interest in dictating who governs every other country. It's always our business to intervene in every conflict and pick the side we want to win, not just with our political support but with money and arms. Since we are morally good, our decisions will always be in service of Democracy and Human Rights, even when the side we support is anti-democratic and brutally oppressive.

(6) If you deny or contest any of these premises, then you are an America-hater, part of the Blame America First crowd, because it means that you think that America's role in the world is sometimes destructive and unjust (which no American patriot would ever believe about their own country).
Here Greenwald is writing in the liberal "paranoid" tense: writing in the character of the stereotypical conservative, Republican, jingoist buffoon with the understanding that his audience will automatically assume that the opposite is true. Taking that into account, if you read between the lines, you'll see that Greenwald is simply asking you not to think about foreign policy.

Here Greenwald asserts that "Good" nations can really be "bad" and "bad" nations can really be "good". "Democracies" can be fascist and dictators can be "democratic". "Terrorist", like "communist" before it, is just scary label that doesn't really mean anything. We can't actually help our "allies" because they might also be our "enemies". Everything you read about foreign policy developments in other countries is just a set of self-serving lies; better to have faith in liberals to tell you what to believe than to reason things out for yourself.

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