Holier than thou?
By Dr. Larry Fedewa (December 7, 2018)
In all the conversations. interviews, and debates about issues of the day, a few stand out as particularly irksome, on one or both sides. The first issue is the American politicians’ tendency to show a residual streak of puritanism – thought to have worn out over these many years. Apparently not.
There seems to be an underlying missionary zeal which impels American politicians on occasion to judge another nation’s behavior as sinful and then to punish that country and presume to preach to them how they should behave. It is one thing to object strenuously to behavior which directly attacks a stated interest of the United States, as in th e case of North Korea’s nuclear threats to the United States mainland. It is something altogether different to scold and punish another country for an act which has no impact on American interests, such as the Khashoggi assassination.
There are innumerable historical instances of Americans tolerating truly evil regimes and leaders in the cause of a larger goal, such as seeking the help of Josef Stalin, one of the most prolific killers in human history, for the purpose of winning World War II. This is sometimes a necessary accommodation in order to protect and preserve the security of the American homeland. It is not a matter of approving bad behavior. Rather it is a matter of doing what is best for the country, even if we have to hold our temper (and our noses) at the time.
Everybody knows this. Everybody also knows that the USA will always pursue whatever it sees as its own interests. So, what do foreigners think when they see American senators ranting and raving about other countries’ behavior? The moral indignation and threats of punishment must appear to them as the height of hypocrisy. The golden rule of foreign policy is now and always has been “America first”, because every other country will always follow the same rule for themselves.
This case is not a matter of the Saudis violating any American interest. We act the same way when it suits our national interest. Case in point: American assassination of another Saudi citizen because he was responsible for harm to America. His name was Obama Bin Laden. If the Saudis have a different standard of national interests, it is to be expected. But our response must be tempered by our national interests. It is surely NOT in our interest to allow the Turks to play us against one of our most important allies in the Middle East and so to drive them into the arms of the Russians when the same Turks are threatening to join Russia against NATO.
Senators — stand down! Your moral arrogance is hurting our country.
A second instance of moral arrogance lies with the Democrats on the issue of the caravans at our southern border. Every Democrat leader I have heard talking about this topic, even the usually level-headed Matt Cartwright (D-PA), the new head of the Democratic House Policy Committee, repeats the absolutely absurd Democrat talking points:
“Q. What should we do about the caravans at our southern border?”
“A. We have to look at the causes of the caravans, namely, the terrible living conditions of these people. If we change the environment, they won’t come to the United States.”
This non-solution is so absurd that it is dumbfounding. We have thousands of people at our doorstep right now, and the solution is to reform half the continent of Latin America? In the first place, anything the USA could do for the home countries of these people could not possibly have any impact on their current status.
In the second place, it is neither the responsibility nor a practical possibility the American government to reform the economies and ultimately the culture of all these different countries. It is the responsibility of the inhabitants to fix their own government. Spending American taxpayer funds on such a task when the USA debt is so far under water is the height of hubris.Thirdly, this is an impossible task to begin with. The countries of Latin America have been in existence for about the same length of time as the United States. The problems they have are not fixable by any outside country. We found that out in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan, not to mention Panama, which we tried to fix and finally had to invade the country to save it. Nation-building just doesn’t work. Period.
So, why do the Democrats refuse to contribute productive ideas to the problems associated with the caravans and the immigration issues in general? The received wisdom is that they believe that they are serving the legal immigrant population who tend to vote for the Democrats, and who are perceived to be in favor of open borders. If so, these same Democrats seem to have had a recent epiphany, since they have repeatedly voted for a Wall, and revised immigration laws in the past, including leaders of both Houses of Congress. By refusing to cooperate with the President and the Republicans, they are not serving the constituents who actually did vote for them. The current situation is untenable, and stalemate helps no one.
The modesty advocated by the recently departed President H.W. Bush is not a bad idea for our country either. Moral arrogance is always destructive.
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