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Wednesday, June 04, 2008

And Whose Fault Is That?

The New Republic writes of the cyclone induced crisis in Burma:

If this disaster had happened ten years ago--that is, before Iraq--plans would almost certainly be on the table for some form of humanitarian intervention designed to resolve the situation. Maybe we would be talking about deposing the Burmese regime outright; maybe we would be discussing--as Robert Kaplan did in a recent New York Times op-ed--more modest steps, such as sending U.S. Marines on boats to deliver supplies to the hardest-hit areas. But, either way, realistic options would be considered for saving Burmese lives, even if those options involved violating Burmese sovereignty.

Instead, American diplomats in Asia have explicitly avoided direct criticism of the regime. And, even as the USAID brigade waits for visas in Bangkok so that it can enter Burma, the White House has made sure to clarify that no threat of force is on the horizon.

...This is, put simply, an unacceptable abdication of our moral responsibilities.

Kid Various agrees. To which he can only reply, "And whose fault is that?"

Certainly not the dastardly Neoconservatives who could have been counted on for support for overthrowing a despicable regime to free a long suffering people.

No rather what makes intervention in Burma (or Darfur, or any number of God forsaken places where people toil under the lash of miserable despots) unthinkable has been the sad, and unfortunately completely successful, efforts of the Left to demonize President Bush and discredit the United States' policy of regime change to the point that not only can we no longer pre-empt existential threats like a nuclear Iran - but are prevented from intervening to save the lives of thousands of innocents in situations like the Burmese tragedy. All the while supporting the fiction that Burma is a legitimate "state" exactly equal to, say, Italy.

For the Left, the crime of Iraq was not that we intervened - it was that we had actual national security interests there. To the Leftists at the New Republic, the U.S. is morally bound to intervene in situations only where it has absolutely no national interest whatsoever. Which is not only poor policy - but makes absolutely no sense.

Were the Iraqis any less deserving of liberation than the Burmese? Or the Darfur Sudanese? What the Left does not want to admit (with the notable exceptions of some like Christopher Hitchens and Paul Berman) is that the Long War is essentially a progressive war in the pursuit of progressive ideals.

If the Left could get over its irrational hatred of George W. Bush, it might just be able to actually accomplish what it mouths in endless platitudes - the liberation of the dispossessed.


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