The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

"Failed foreign policy"?

Barack Obama keeps referring to "Bush's failed foreign policy." Well, to me it looks like one that is succeeding, although not yet completely. When George W. Bush became President, Saddam Hussein was slaughtering Kurds and anyone else who disagreed with him in Iraq, and the Taliban was presiding over an Afghan government that would criminalize a kid for flying a kite, or a girl for going to school. Today, Saddam Hussein is in his grave, and the Taliban is fighting a rear-guard action to try to take back portions of Afghanistan, while both Afghanistan and Iraq have governments that are far closer to democratic than the ones they replaced. I would call that success, not failure — at least partial success, anyway.

Meanwhile, Sen. Obama has proposed a foreign policy that truly can be described as failed. One might ask — how could his foreign policy be considered to have failed, when it hasn't been tried? Well, it has been tried — not in the United States in the 2000's, but in Great Britain in 1937! A certain Neville Chamberlain became Prime Minister that year. Like Obama today, he believed you could talk to genocidal dictators in the same way as you might to honorable men who lead democratic governments. He met with Adolf Hitler in Munich, Germany, and gave him what he wanted, control over the nation that was then called Czechoslovakia. And he returned from Munich proclaiming that he had brought "peace in our time." "Our time," apparently, lasted two more years, until Hitler invaded Poland and World War II began, at least for the European nations. (We stayed out of it until we were ourselves attacked by Hitler's Japanese ally.)

But Sen. Obama doesn't seem to know this history. He wants to show that the way to go is the way that Chamberlain tried 70 years ago. It failed then, and it won't work now.

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