Sunday, April 10, 2011

Pragmatically Oblique

Henry Kissinger and James A. Baker adopt a policy of pragmatic skepticism about U.S. involvement in Libya:
[O]ur idealistic goals cannot be the sole motivation for the use of force in U.S. foreign policy. We cannot be the world’s policeman. We cannot use military force to meet every humanitarian challenge that might arise. Where would we stop? Syria, Yemen, Algeria or Iran? What about countries that have been strong allies but do not share all of our values, such as Bahrain, Morocco and Saudi Arabia? What about humanitarian violations in other countries, such as Ivory Coast?
Their "pragmatic idealism" paradigm was a favorite of Richard Nixon's, envisioned, ironically, as a critique of Kissinger's super-realism. Nixon's biographer, Jonathan Aitken, insisted that it was a contradiction in terms.

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