In yesterday’s Washington Post, neo-conservative editorial page editor Fred Hiatt has a panic attack over the (imagined by him) possibility that President Obama is in his second term beginning to ponder some of the limitations of US interventionism world-wide.
On the proposed withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan next year, after 13 years of war, Hiatt claims:
“To say the war will end because U.S. troops are gone is like the toddler who imagines no one can see him when he closes his eyes. But it fits with the foreign policy of a leader who is on track, astonishingly, to preside over a sharp turn inward.
“I say astonishingly because when he ran in 2008, Obama presented himself as a man who would lead the United States into a new era of international engagement, idealism and cooperation.”
Who really is the toddler in his little vignette? Actually, a foreign policy of nonintervention would have likely avoided creating the very problem that the neo-cons demand we now solve. As we know, the forces that Hiatt urges we keep fighting are largely the same “freedom fighters” armed by the U.S. to fight the Soviets. And even a toddler would probably understand that bureaucrats living on the other side of the world should not be seeking to remake Afghanistan in their own image.
Hiatt is an historical revisionist extraordinaire, and his rewriting of events to suit his ideological agenda is pure conspiracy theory. According to Hiatt, it was not intervention itself but in fact a lack of sufficient intervention that has left Libya a bloody, gaping, and dangerous wound two years later:
“Obama acted only when pressed by French and British allies and then insisted on withdrawal instead of committing to help a new government establish itself. The predictable result is an unstable country, riven by militias and posing an increasing danger to its neighbors through the spread of arms.”
Should not the test of the success or failure of any interventionism be the outcome of such an intervention versus the status quo ante? Before the “hesitant” Obama decided to side with the rebels in Benghazi and then bomb Libya when that did not produce regime change, there was no instability, no danger to Libya’s neighbors, certainly no danger to the US, and no militias. These were all produced by Obama’s decision to pursue violent regime change. Saying that the disasters produced by an intervention were all the fault of insufficient intervention is like claiming intoxication can be cured with several more drinks. But the neo-conservatives invent their own reality.
The solution to Iraq and Libya, writes Hiatt, is Syria!
“From a peaceful democratic uprising two years ago to a civil war in which U.S. assistance could have been decisive last year, the conflict has degenerated into something so savage that it’s no longer clear what, if anything, might help.”
“Help” and “assistance” are misused words in this context. This Straussian wordplay is an almost criminal destruction of language which would even make Orwell blush. When Hiatt writes “help” and “assistance” he really means “overthrow” and “bomb.”
Hiatt then descends into a variation on Godwin’s law by arguing that had our Cold War leaders been so dismally dallying about their obligations to rid the world of the Red Menace, we’d all be speaking commie right now!
He ends by invoking, appropriately enough, the almost exclusively US government funded (and CIA connected) Freedom House – a classic faux NGO – to remind us that as Obama hesitates (his claim) to promote democracy out of the barrel of a gun, freedom around the world has receded significantly. Only through the continued force of US arms, claims neo-conservatives like Hiatt, does the rest of the world not descend into unspeakable savagery and tyranny (except when it does anyway, and then the solution is "more intervention!").
(Thanks to Chris Rossini for his valued input).