Blogs > Liberty and Power > Excuses, Rationalizations and Misrepresentations

Feb 16, 2004 7:15 pm


Excuses, Rationalizations and Misrepresentations



There is perhaps no contemporary foreign policy pundit I like less than Charles Krauthammer. Not only is he one of the most prominent defenders of the neo-con view of the world, but his overbearing language is also like an electric garage door opener that needs to be oiled. In this piece for the AEI he makes two critical errors that no respectable opinion columist should.

First, and I'm really sick of this, he characterizes all people who do not want the U.S. flying all around the world solving problems as simple minded isolationist bigots like Pat Buchanan. If there is one reason that libertarians and classical liberals need to stand up and shout more loudly in public debates it's because the right is trying to demean and ignore us. Is he not aware of the widely held view that someone can oppose foreign military adventures and still support free trade and open immigration? Has he, like every neo-con I seem to encounter these days, decided to simply ignore us like foolish children? Why do Republicans wonder why libertarians are becoming increasingly disenchanted with their politics if they decide not to listen to us, and in the case of this column simply misrepresent us?

Second, like every neo-con I've ever heard, he cannot and will not say what he really thinks about why the neo-con view of the world is not merely an update of Wilson's interventionism of the early 20th century. I won't make judgements on Krauthammer's character. I don't know him well enough to go that far. But it seems to me that for most neo-cons the decision to impose some vague form of"our way of life" is based largely on questions of wealth and race. We don't need to start democracy in Africa because, well, they are, you know....hint, hint. The Arab world has oil. Get it?

Yeah, I get it. Black lives aren't worth saving. Arabs probably aren't either, but more importantly we need the oil. I'll make any neo-con out there a bet. There will be more freedom in Africa within our lifetimes than anywhere the U.S. continues to meddle like Iraq or Afghanstan. One caveat: once Iraq breaks up into three separate countries, democracy in the Kurdish part doesn't count because the Kurds already have democracy there without our help.


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