Monday, July 31, 2006

American Naivete (err.. Foreign Policy)

In a recent speech to a CATO audience, George Will diagnosed our Iraq-miscalculations as the result of our naive and misplaced optimism about the region itself (e.g., the wavering willingness of the people to embrace American-styled freedom, democracy and tolerance). In a phrase, Will asserts that the fatal flaw of the U.S. policy in Iraq is the false assumption that "liberty is easy" or, even desirable:

The world is full of ordinary people who do not define freedom as we do, who do not value it as we do, who prefer piety, ethnic purity, religious solidarity, military gory, or the security of despotism.

Exactly. Ole George sounds like he has been reading thebokononist... I can only flatter myself, I know.
I tend to look at this way. There are people living in this country, this state even, that proudly wear jean shorts and white high-tops, drive camaro's, and listen to Toby Keith. Now, I don't pretend to understand the motivations of such people and I fully realize that I am never going to convince them that they might benefit ever so slightly from a night or two spent playing chess and listening to Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli @ du Hote Club de France. That is fine. Despite my internal objections to denim shorts and new country, it is not my obligation or place to shape the choices or lifestyles of other people - within my own country or without. Particularly without. Of course we do not understand the appeal of fundamental Islam and the seeming backwardness that permeates throughout the Middle East; but, like all Dixie Chick fans must realize at some point, ignorance is, apparently, pure bliss.