Third Party & Independents Archives

January 23, 2005

In The Name Of Good: Evil May Come

The President’s Inaugural Speech was not specific on foreign policy plans. It was full of promise for liberating oppressed peoples in the world using the words freedom and liberty numerous times to describe America’s foreign policy goals. The Constitution of the U.S. does not contain any such mandates to liberate peoples of other nations.

The Constitution does not outline war as a virtue in the name of freeing people from their governments. The Constitution of the U.S. does outline the duties and responsibilities of our government to protect and defend our nation and to engage in international trade and trade regulation. So, where does the President get his mandate for liberating the world's peoples and mirroring their governments, cultures, and societies to reflect our own?

Some conservatives responding to an article entitled, President Bush's Second Inaugural Address argue oppressed peoples have not the weapons to combat their repressive regimes. They argue this is where Bush's mandate to free people comes from. Where are the sophisticated weapons in the hands of the insurgents in Iraq? Iraq is rapidly spiraling out of control against the greatest military strength on earth. How are Iraqi insurgents so able to unhinge U.S. military intent without sophisticated weaponry to match our own? The argument that oppressed people lack sophisticated weaponry as defense of their lack of revolution and therefore, justification for US intervention, simply does not hold up to scrutiny.

It does not matter what weapons are available, if there is a will to be free, freedom will find the tools and weapons to fight for it. China has absolutely overpowering numbers of citizens which could overwhelm the most sophisticated of weaponry. Fact is, the will is not there. And where the will is not there, assistance will be futile at worst, and marginal and very, very costly at best. Can we not learn from Viet Nam and Iraq? Creating or abetting civil wars are NOT in the interest of the American public. We rue our Viet Nam experience, and a growing majority is beginning to rue our invasion of Iraq.

The fact is, regardless of government type, communist or democracy, monarchy or fascist, if the people have work, sustenance, a reasonable measure of security and hope for the future of their offspring, the will to fight and die for change will be absent. Non democratic governments are NOT inherently evil in the eyes of their citizens. Deprivation of what citizens need for themselves and their children dictate whether a government is viewed as evil by its citizens. Today, increasingly, numbers of Iraqis are viewing the US as evil and are beginning to look back on the Saddam regime as more beneficial than the lives they now live under the American influence.

Anyone who views intrusion, invasion, sanctions, and other meddling in the affairs of other cultures and nations as justified by political ideology is ignorant at best of the lessons of history, and overwhelmingly dangerous toward the lives and welfare of large numbers of men, women, and children of the nations they intend to help through death and destruction. I am reminded of the Christian Church of the Inquisition, which in the name of saving souls, tortured, maimed, imprisoned, and murdered great numbers of people for their own Good.

Invasion, sanctions, and intrusion upon other societies will always result in evil, and such evil can only be justified by a real case of self-defense as in victory over Japan or Germany in WWII, or where the numbers saved will far outweigh the numbers being lost in such a nation (former Yugoslavia or Rwanda, or even Darfur).

The wisdom of Christ, Ghandi, and Buddha seem ever lost on those with power and overwhelming military might. War is evil. Sanctions which deprive a nation's people are evil, and interference with other nations in the instigation of civil war, is evil. Such evil acts can only be justified in defense of even greater evil experienced by the perpetrators, and sometimes, not even then, depending on the outcome.

If Bush wants to talk democratic expansionist, imperialist dogma and rhetoric to shore up American support, that is one thing. If he intends to embark upon war to free other peoples in the world, BUSH is as evil a leader as any with expansionist and imperialist designs.

The fact is, neocons (new conservatives) believe they need to expand exports, and drive down costs of imports to profit their investments and holdings. Non-democratic societies constitute barriers to marketing and sales of American goods and services. The freedom the neocons refer to spreading around the world, is the freedom to buy American. And the initial cost to the peoples of such societies will be death, destruction, and loss, to pave the way when one day, they may become good consumers of everything America wants to sell.

Ask the Chinese if they would like America to invade China to free them? Ask the Iranians? Ask the Cubans. The majority will answer with a resounding "HELL NO" !!!! Ask Americans if they would choose to be invaded in the hopes of having a better life and system someday. HELL NO !!!!

There is everything to be commended in providing information, example, and options to peoples living under repressive regimes. There is everything to be commended in letting them know we will stand ready and willing to assist them if they, en masse, attempt to throw off the yoke of their oppressors and ask for our help.

There is everything to be condemned in projecting our views of how the peoples of other societies need our unsolicited and militaristic help in such matters. That is evil, and we the evil imperialists, to make such decisions for them.

Posted by David R. Remer at January 23, 2005 11:12 AM
Comments
Comment #41854

“The fact is, neocons (new conservatives) believe they need to expand exports, and drive down costs of imports to profit their investments and holdings. Non-democratic societies constitute barriers to marketing and sales of American goods and services. The freedom the neocons refer to spreading around the world, is the freedom to buy American. And the initial cost to the peoples of such societies will be death, destruction, and loss, to pave the way when one day, they may become good consumers of everything American wants to sell.”
….
“Non-democratic societies constitute barriers to marketing and sales of American goods and services.”

…but have no problem selling ‘their’ goods to us in a not so fair market. Copying our goods and infringing on property rights. Their law enforcement turning their heads to illegally copied goods being sold openly on the streets. No barriers on the pirated goods?
All after our big money hungry companies took our jobs to them.
Sounds like we are really screwing them…

Posted by: dawn at January 23, 2005 01:02 PM
Comment #41855

Dawn, they are not forcing us to buy. Your argument has no equivalence to mine which is based on our forcing them.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 23, 2005 01:23 PM
Comment #41860

Dawn,
If you want to bitch about the unfair imports and copying of our products, look no further than our own administration.
You will have to look pretty hard to find a “made in America” label here in America. One of the biggest offenders is Walmart. That bastion of democracy that has helped to put the mom and pop stores out of business. Look on the shelves at Walmart or Target or K-Mart to see if there is anything “made in America”.
Our customer service jobs are being shipped of to foreign countries.
The “exporting of America” means a lot of the good paying jobs as well.
No maam, we are screwing ourselves.

Posted by: Rocky at January 23, 2005 02:46 PM
Comment #41862

Wait, let me guess this straight. Terrorists want to kill us BECAUSE we are sending them all of our good paying jobs.

Posted by: Peter at January 23, 2005 03:42 PM
Comment #41875

Peter, terrorist leaders have their own reasons for wanting to attack us. OBL didn’t have a country he could ascend to power in, Zarqawi wants historical recognition and perhaps martydom. But, the followers, believing the rhetoric of their leaders, believe they are striking back against western culture and power that threatens their traditions, their patriarchal political systems, and the literal words in the Quran (much like an eye for eye in the Christian Bible is not Christian).

The distinction many in the US fail to make is between these small numbers of terrorists, Islamofascists, if you will, and the cultures and traditions of Islamic nations, some born out of nomadic life in areas of wilderness with life sustaining water and food found only over long distances, where survival not only against the elements, but, rival bands and cutthroats, depended upon a strict adherence to the laws of the tribe and leaders. Others born out of conquest, and trade in which life and death depended upon observing the laws.

The worst mistake the West can make is to fail to observe this distinction. Economics of their regions will gently force Islamic nations into the 21st century of commerce and egalitarianism, even democracy, out of necessity. Many of these nations did not exist 100 years ago, and those that did, have undergone huge transformations already socially, culturally, and politically, especially over the last 45 years. Our democracy is far less than perfect and we have been practicing it for 300 years. The West must be patient and even supportive diplomatically while commerce and mass media create the climates within those nations that will motivate from within the changes the West would like to see.

Force and intimidation will only serve to vindicate those who refuse change and advocate resistance to it. The West has a right to protect itself against aggressors and criminals, but, it does not have the right kill, maim, bomb, and starve other nation’s peoples in the hopes of winning those people over. It will be self-defeating of the West to do so.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 23, 2005 06:35 PM
Comment #41906
You will have to look pretty hard to find a “made in America” label here in America.

Haha! That’s right! Most of the Bush inauguration memorabilia was made in China. :)

Posted by: American Pundit at January 24, 2005 05:01 AM
Comment #41907
Anyone who views intrusion, invasion, sanctions, and other meddling in the affairs of other cultures and nations as justified by political ideology is ignorant at best

I’m happy to see that caveat, though it leaves a big loophole over which to argue.

Marxist rhetoric about opening markets aside, it is the interdependence of globalism that many in the Middle East are nervous about. They’re afraid it will consume their cultures and religion.

I wish President Bush would help Malaysia trumpet its success as an Islamic nation that has embraced globalization and prospered.

Posted by: American Pundit at January 24, 2005 05:09 AM
Comment #41935

I guess my confusion is that if Bush is sending all of our high paying jobs overseas, why would they want to attack us? If he is such an ecomonic disaster, why don’t they just wait him out? I mean we are talking huge ecomonic collapse in 2-3 years. Probably a full civil war in America in 4. Why not just wait a few years for the collapse and use all of your energy to take over? In the meantime, they have all the high paying jobs over there. It doesn’t make sense to me.

Posted by: Peter at January 24, 2005 12:26 PM
Comment #41943

Peter

1) Those jobs aren’t going to terrorists. Obvious!

2) There is no evidence our economy is going to collapse by the end of Bush’s administration. It will worsen however, as deficits increase, and the national debt moves toward 10 trillion dollars. No one could possibly predict at this time a date certain for economic collapse. It will take a percipitating event against a weakened ability to recover.

3) Civil war in America? Been there, done that. Civil war comes after economic collapse or impending collapse. Democratic peoples don’t engage in civil war unless, and until, their way of life is disastrously threatened.

Many Islamic states are poor for the populaces. There are a number of notable exceptions. Our job exports are going to China, India, S. Korea, Taiwan, Japan. Not the Middle East.

It has little to do with jobs. It has to do with ever expanding and encroaching western influence upon all peoples in the world whether they desire that influence or not. Bush has said in just the last week, our foreign policy goal is free people everywhere, which directly translates to “changing other nations and societies to look like ours through flexing of American power and might” by many people in the world. That is the issue fueling hatred toward America and its western allies.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 24, 2005 03:23 PM
Comment #41947

Excellent article, David.
I agree completely.

Posted by: Adrienne at January 24, 2005 04:19 PM
Comment #41950

Thank you Adrienne.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 24, 2005 04:56 PM
Comment #42007

David,

You said: “The fact is, regardless of government type, communist or democracy, monarchy or fascist, if the people have work, sustenance, a reasonable measure of security and hope for the future of their offspring, the will to fight and die for change will be absent. Non democratic governments are NOT inherently evil in the eyes of their citizens. Deprivation of what citizens need for themselves and their children dictate whether a government is viewed as evil by its citizens.”

I agree 100% with you statements!! My wife and I were having the same discussion over dinner the other night and I voiced the same opinion as yours, not all regimes that do not adhere to the tenants of democracy as inherently evil, or in need of adjustment at the hands of American military.

It is true that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Bush is drunk on the power Congress ceded to him in the name of national security and now he believes his own platitudes much to the world consternation. But with a looming 800 billion dollar deficit to contend with it is doubtful Congress and the American people (we hope) have the stomach for more International war in the name of regime change, and liberty for all.

Posted by: V. Edward Martin at January 25, 2005 01:23 PM
Comment #42017

President Bush made a good point. We should not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude. It has always been the argument of masters that slaves are better off without their freedom. Just because they are not in a daily struggle to be free doesn’t mean that they don’t want to be free.

I don’t think the U.S. has the responsibility and we certainly don’t have the power to free oppressed people all over the world by military force. President Bush did not mean this immediately or literally, any more than John Kennedy did when he said, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

But these words do have meaning. When Ronald Reagan told Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall, nobody expected him to show up with a wrecking ball the next day. But President Reagan laid out a marker and a policy that gave hope to millions of people living in the dark shadows of communism. Like Kennedy and Reagan, that is what President Bush is doing.

There is no legitimate government that doesn’t have the consent of the governed. It is easy to fall into sophistry about what people’s true intentions might be. But we shouldn’t pretend that they are happy in their bondage.

By the way, most non-democratic governments do a poor job of providing for their citizens’ material needs as well.

Posted by: Jack at January 25, 2005 02:07 PM
Comment #42028

Jack said: “President Bush made a good point. We should not pretend that jailed dissidents prefer their chains, or that women welcome humiliation and servitude.”

One has to be very careful with this kind of rhetoric. By American standards, Japanese women are humilitated and subservient. By their own standards of culture and respect, that is not how they feel or see themselves.

In the name of helping savages, we have destroyed whole nations and cultures which appeared to us European imports to be savage and inhumane. Let us not make those mistakes again. The culture of Islam is different, not necessarily “bad”. The laws of societies are designed to preserve harmony in the society. In our own society we send the poor to jail for longer terms for B&E or having pot than we do some wealthy persons who steal millions from the public at large. No society, including our own, is without laws which harm some to preserve the peace for all. And those laws come down from heritage.

I don’t even trust Pres. Bush to decide when cutlural differences are good or evil. Do you? The greatest act in support of freedom is that which eradicates poverty. There is no freedom where poverty exists. We should focus on the spread of freedom by working to end poverty, here, and abroad, and leave other cultures to decide for themselves whether the sex roles in their society are in need of change or not.

Women here first realized their bondage before fighting for their suffrage and rights equal to men. Let that be the example to be followed in other cultures. It would be a mistake as big as invading Iraq to interfere with other cultures by economic or military force to reshape their citizen’s roles to each other in that society.

Given the huge cuts in programs that benefit the poor in America to transfer their tax dollars to Iraqis and Indonesians, I abhor this President’s hypocrisy on foreign policy. As if he knows best what other nation’s people need. He certainly is demonstrating he does NOT know what is best for Amreicans here at home, with cuts to HUD, early childcare education, veteran’s programs, and almost comlete ignorance of the state of America’s drinking water, and on, and on.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 25, 2005 06:34 PM
Comment #42512

I agree with JFK and Lincoln. It is our duty.

“The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life. And yet the same revolutionary
beliefs for which our forebears fought are still at issue around the globe - the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.


We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution. Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans - born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage - and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.


Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.


This much we pledge - and more.”

John F. Kennedy



“Those who deny freedom to others, deserve it not for themselves; and, under a just God, can not long retain it.”
—Abraham Lincoln

Posted by: Marse Robert at January 31, 2005 01:03 AM
Comment #42531

Marse, almost all Americans believe the US should stand for freedom and democracy in the world and assist its birth and development wherever people in the world demonstrate a desire for it.

Bush will get away with Iraq on the grounds of Hussein’s continuous violations of UN resolutions. However, the President’s way with Iraq will not stand as a template for bringing freedom and democracy to other nations in the world. Invasion, occupation, and outright flawed and fabricated justification for invasion is not a foreign policy the US can survive. For if such a template becomes the foreign policy of the greatest democracy on earth, 100’s of millions if not billions of people in the world will learn to denounce and reject it.

And that would truly be an immense tragedy for the world and its future.

Posted by: David R. Remer at January 31, 2005 10:37 AM