Tuesday, June 16, 2009

There Is No "Reset Button" for History

A fundamental tenet of the liberal approach to foreign policy has been that the attitudes of other countries are not shaped by their own beliefs and motivations, but rather purely as reactions to good or bad diplomacy.

Not only is the sheer arrogance of such a diplomatic worldview reserved only for superpowers or ex-superpowers, but that same arrogance ensures its failure. If the neo-conservative belief that the Middle East's Muslim dictatorships could be reformed with a show of force and some determination presumed to do too much with limited leverage; the liberal view that everything can be brought into harmony with an apologetic and open diplomatic tone presumes to do twice as much with no leverage at all.

When Hillary Clinton came bearing a "Reset Button" for Russia, she projected that same delusional belief that history has a reset button and that the expansionism of aggressive nations and ideologies can be put away with the right word. But of course history has no reset button and those who want Lebensraum will only be emboldened by an America all too eager to showcase its weakness.

Obama's Cairo speech similarly went long on flattery toward Muslim egos and short on leverage. In return he received the same kind of slap from Iran, that North Korea had been ladling out to the Clinton Administration. The rigged election and the brutal suppression of dissidents in Tehran's streets was a bloody demonstration that nations like Iran are driven by ideological and political goals that will not be set aside with a kind word or a diplomatic reset button.

For liberals to cope with Obama's utter failure on the diplomatic front, they must disabuse themselves of their long cherished idea, that all of America's global problems stem from George W. Bush's militarism or conservatism. Nor is the Islamic Jihad that expresses itself in the form of terrorism a knee jerk reflex reaction to American foreign policy. Rather it is the fundamental expression of over a 1000 years of Muslim history and belief, as embedded in the Koran.

A liberal view of foreign policy that insists on treating terrorism as an Islamic reaction to a Western provocation, repeats Chamberlain's folly of perceiving Hitler's expansionism as purely a reaction to the injustices of WW1 that would go away once properly appeased.

When diplomats insist that the Middle East can be stabilized by rolling Israel back to before the 1967 war, they repeat Chamberlain's folly in believing that history has a reset button, and that giving totalitarian states back some of their pride by giving them back more territory, even if it has to be carved out of an independent and prosperous nation like Czechoslovakia or Israel, will stabilize the region.

But history has no reset button, and the Middle East can no more be stabilized by carving up Israel, than Muslim expansionism and aggression toward the West can be put away in a box with some of Obama's well chosen flattery. Islamic expansionism and hostility toward the West did not begin in 1948 or 1919. It is a very old Jihad that awaits only the right circumstances in which to catch fire and burn again.

Nor can bringing a mislabeled "reset button" to Russia change the fact that its current regime is nothing more than a capitalist makeover for the USSR, along the lines of the People's Republic of China. A reset button will not wash away the radioactive toxins in London, the ongoing murders of Westerners in Moscow or the Russian troops and mercenaries straining at the least to gobble up the liberated territories of the old Warsaw Pact again... as we recently saw for ourselves in Georgia.

Rather than learning the lessons of history, liberals have found it more convenient to blame them on conservatives, on capitalism and on their own middle class for wanting to be secure and well off. Their pursuit of open handed diplomacy however has only led them to be the weakest players in a zero sum game.

While liberals rejoice because the government has changed in Washington D.C., nothing has changed in the Middle East, where power and wealth fuel political and military goals. History has not gone away because of the 2008 Presidential election. Nor has the world changed. Elections may change American goals and tactics, they do not change the tactics and goals of our enemies, they only mediate them. Obama's victory has served not as a reset button, but as a loud whistle warning everyone in the seamy bar that a pigeon has just walked into the room waiting to be plucked.

There is no reset button for history. Luckily in a democratic country there is one for bad leaders. In 2012, Obama's "historic" victory may itself become history.


Lemon said...

Once again I say liberalism and socialism are for adolescents and children. It is a naive , do gooder attitude that has no knowledge or wisdom associated with it.

Sultan Knish said...

indeed, it requires foolishness to even contemplate it

Anonymous said...

I came across a very interesting article that re-enforces what you said.

Historically one may sense a conflict in Holy-Texts. Sometimes G-d seems to demand intolerance towards othe people/beliefs. And, then we find other indications that one should be friendly towards your sojourner.

So is it tolerance or intolerance that defines monotheism?

The article goes on to offer numerous examples of both situations. Generally tolerance develops when two dissimular monothestic beliefs are forced to share the same land. They are equals (not just militariilly, might be simply a question of political correctness of the stronger) and find ways to interprete G-d's will to include tolerance of others.

However, should the power balance change then the stronger party will become proportionately more enraged.

So as bad as things were before 1993 things took a sharp turn for the worse a the Israeli left and world opinion offered all kinds of favors to their mortal enemies. Instead of satisfaction they demanded more.

It is no different then a baby who throws a tantrum. The longer it goes on the harder to retrain.

Jew With A View said...

Liberals need to ditch this absurd and romanticised image they have of Islam. Until they understand that the only 'true' Muslims are the ones supporting terrorism, and until they understand that the Quran is meant to be taken literally by devout Muslims, then they will continue to claim the rest of us are being 'paranoid' or (absurdly) 'islamophobic'.

Keli Ata said...

Personally I think all liberals have tremendous egos who think they and they alone are the answers to the worlds problems.

The Americans who voted for Obama did so for exactly the reasons you spelled out--they felt that by resetting the button and going back on GWB's policies they could fix all that's wrong in the world.

One little problem--history doesn't work that way and GWB didn't cause 9/11 and Arab countries hated us long before GWB was in office and before Clinton was in office.

Keli Ata said...

2012 can't come soon enough for me.

No Bueno said...

"For liberals to cope with Obama's utter failure on the diplomatic front, they must disabuse themselves of their long cherished idea, that all of America's global problems stem from George W. Bush's militarism or conservatism."

The notion liberals might someday "disabuse" themselves of their hatred( I do not know what else to call it) for everything and anything Bush will never happen.

Besides, without Bush, there would be no one to scapegoat for the beloved messiah and his socialist take over and redistribution of wealth from the haves to the have-nots! They need someone to blame for this abomination called hussein obama and his failed agenda!

I predict the libs will debunk their scorn for everything Bush on the same day we get to see the vault copy of Obummer's birth certificate!

ytba said...

It never gets old repeating what's right, and Even Sayet, gets it right.

Also, here's Walter Sickness, uh, Krankheit, uh, Cronkite, revealing what a treasonous tool he has been, and at the end Hillary praises him for it.

No doubt Cronkite had a great deal to do with why journalism today is so rabidly dishonest.

Always On Watch said...

In 2012, Obama's "historic" victory may itself become history.

We should also focus on 2010 and overturn this Congress.

ytba said...

Oh, I didn't put the Evan Sayet link in. Sorry. HERE IT IS.

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