Dangerous Dan Thoughts and musings on the world

3/25/2006

Albright and Evil

Filed under: Pics,Politics,World — Dangerous Dan @ 1:00 am

In an LA Times editorial, Madeleine Albright takes the Bush administration to task for shaping foreign policy around 'good and evil.' Essentially, that it's not nuanced and pragmatic enough, which has been the common complaint from the left.

Her nuanced advice for the middle-east is to enter into constructive dialogue with Iran about its nuclear program and its role in Iraq:

…the Bush administration should disavow any plan for regime change in Iran — not because the regime should not be changed but because U.S. endorsement of that goal only makes it less likely. In today's warped political environment, nothing strengthens a radical government more than Washington's overt antagonism. It also is common sense to presume that Iran will be less willing to cooperate in Iraq and to compromise on nuclear issues if it is being threatened with destruction. As for Iran's choleric and anti-Semitic new president, he will be swallowed up by internal rivals if he is not unwittingly propped up by external foes.

Albright's problem is that she has no concept of evil regimes. You'll excuse me if I don't trust the woman who did this:

Clap, Maddy, Clap!

That's Albright alongside Kim Jong Il, happily clapping away at a massive stadium rally that only a dictator can assemble, and which is a display of pure power. This is the woman whose brilliant statecraft (along with Clinton's) allowed North Korea to extort the U.S. while NK reneged on its side of the deal, didn't do anything constructive with Iran, constantly hedged on Iraq, played footsy with Arafat, and turned a blind eye to terrorist attacks on American interests. The Clinton foreign policy as supported by and implemented through Albright punted on nearly every difficult international problem, which tended to be the ones that might require serious military intervention and could be publicly unpopular. Her negligence became Bush's problem and now her advice to him is to keep punting down the road.

Totalitarian regimes don't need an actual threat from the U.S. to stay in power. A voiced threat by them is all they need. Kim Jong Il announces every other month or so that the U.S. is about to invade North Korea. Castro will occasionally say something like that too.

Furthermore, when dealing with Iran, taking the threat of regime change or military force off the table is to take away our one major bargaining chip. Iran has been in talks with the EU about its nuclear program for years and those talks have gone nowhere. Iran has merely been stringing the international community along while its nuclear development continues apace. Euros and UN types don't care about results, they care about process. As long as the process is ongoing, they can pretend they're achieving something when they're not. Iran knows this well and knows that if it can tie up the EU or anyone else in beloved talks, then it can stall for time long enough to complete its weapons. Considering the history of negotiations with Iran and the EU, Albright is only displaying willful ignorance in saying we should disavow the use of force when dealing with Iran and should only enter into negotiations.

Albright makes it seem as if the mid-east would trend toward moderate democracies if only we were to leave things alone. That might be true if you extend the trend line out a hundred years or so. It certainly isn't the case now and the bare glimmers of democracy that we've seen the mid-east have been the result of U.S. intervention (for good or bad) and the fear in those countries of American force. Albright is right that a foreign policy shouldn't be based purely on notions of good and evil,1 but it also shouldn't be ignorant of them.

Others blogging: California Conservative and Uncorrelated,


  1. Albright's portrayal of Bush foreign policy as being oversimplified is itself oversimplified. [back]

1 Comment »

  1. “That’s Albright alongside Kim Jong Il, happily clapping away at a massive stadium rally that only a dictator can assemble, and which is a display of pure power.”

    And the pictures of Donald. R shaking hands with Saddam? What a ridiculous argument.

    “Furthermore, when dealing with Iran, taking the threat of regime change or military force off the table is to take away our one major bargaining chip.”

    A US threat of regime change in Iran is about as realistic as Kurt Rambis threatening to come back and play for the Lakers. Bush screwed up any leverage when he showed that he was unable to manage Iraq.

    Comment by Anonymous — 3/28/2006 @ 12:13 am

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