Archive for January, 2018

Protected: A Genuine Friend

Saturday, January 13th, 2018

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The Price of World Peace

Monday, January 8th, 2018

FDR understood in a way Wilson never did that we lack the power to make the world conform to our abstract principals and rational schemes. Since American taxpayers will only spend so much money and American parents will only sacrifice so many daughters and sons, we have to prioritize, making the world a bit less ugly where we can and accommodating it where we must. Often we will have to enlist the help of nasty characters – like Stalin in the fight against Hitler or Iran in the struggle against al-Qaeda and the Taliban – to confront the gravest threats. Trying to remain morally pure will only permit greater evil.

But that need not mean that we stop talking in moral terms. FDR spoke eloquently of the world he hoped to see, even as he ruthlessly adapted himself to the one in which he actually lived. Perhaps that came naturally to a man who insisted – against all evidence – that he would one day walk again. We live in the world as it is and dream of the world that might one day be and consider ourselves fortunate to have reduced, even modestly, the distance between the two.


Regardless of how strong our military is, we cannot literally take on the entire world. Geopolitics sometimes requires us to look the other way to focus on more pressing priorities. Do we really like Turkey? Probably not. Erdogan keeps getting more and more dictatorial. But they also control a choke point for Russia’s only warm water port to reach the open seas so we need to be nice to them. Do we like Qatar? Not necessarily. They have slave labor. But we need to put military bases there, and the anti-ballistic missile radars we need to shoot down Iranian missiles aimed the Straight of Hormuz and the Saudi Arabian oil fields have to be located in Qatar due to geography. So we’re nice to them. Do we like Saudi Arabia? Nope. Many terrorists are funded by them. But they have oil, which we need (alongside the petrodollar), and they’re a counterweight to Iranian/Russian influence over the region. So we look the other way when they commit war crimes against the Houthi rebels in Yemen.