American foreign policy in Afghanistan and in Iraq is driven by an idea so inscribed into the American psyche that it amounts to a syndrome: Cast off the tyrannical leader, then citizens and leaders alike will band together to bring about the freedom that a tyrant's presence alone precluded. It happened in America; surely it will happen everywhere else. Thus our war of liberation, to free Iraq of its King George III.
In both Afghanistan and in Iraq we have won the war, but we stand in danger of losing what we won because our foreign policy suffers from the King George Syndrome. Freedom is neither a spontaneous nor a universal aspiration. Other goods captivate the minds of peoples from other lands, order, honor and tribal loyalties being the most obvious. And because these other goods orient these people no less powerfully than freedom orients us, we are apt to be sorely surprised when peoples who are liberated turn to new tyrants who can ensure order; to terrorists who die for the honor of their country or of Islam; and to tribal warlords whose winner-take-all mentality is corrosive to the pluralism and toleration that are the very hallmarks of modern democracy.
Best New Blog finalist - 2003 Koufax Awards
A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.
Lo alecha ha-m'lacha ligmor, v'lo atah ben chorin l'hibateyl mimenah.