March 24, 2006


Good versus evil isn't a strategy (Madeleine Albright, March 24, 2006, LA Times)

Three years after the invasion of Iraq and the invention of the phrase "axis of evil," the administration now highlights the threat posed by Iran — whose radical government has been vastly strengthened by the invasion of Iraq. This is more tragedy than strategy, and it reflects the Manichean approach this administration has taken to the world.

It is sometimes convenient, for purposes of rhetorical effect, for national leaders to talk of a globe neatly divided into good and bad. It is quite another, however, to base the policies of the world's most powerful nation upon that fiction.

The Democrats' leading foreign policy voice calls Good and Evil fictions and then they wonder why they can't connect to religious America?

Posted by Orrin Judd at March 24, 2006 2:58 PM

Apparently in Madeleine's universe there was never a President Reagan...

Posted by: b at March 24, 2006 3:18 PM

...and the USSR wasn't an evil empire.

Posted by: Luciferous at March 24, 2006 3:31 PM

And Kim Jong-Il is a world leader of similar stature to Tony Blair.

Posted by: Mikey at March 24, 2006 3:36 PM

Hey, she gave Kimmy the basketball autographed by Michael Jordan that now rests in the International Friendship Exhibition, that goofy museum for all the objects bestowed upon the Kim regime. One doubts that Blair received anything so desirable from ol' Maddy.

Posted by: John Barrett Jr. at March 24, 2006 4:00 PM

You're right, John. Kim Jong-Il is a much more important leader than Tony Blair because when you go to North Korea there isn't all that opposition, or demonstrations or nasty free speech. Just wide avenues and repsectful, dutiful peasants. The way it was meant to be.

Posted by: Mikey at March 24, 2006 5:01 PM

From a September 21, 1997 Newsday editorial about Madame Albright:

Albright's approach both to Bosnia and NATO expansion reflects her belief that, in the post-Cold War world, it's the United States that must take the lead not only to keep the peace but also to promote American values. We are the only superpower now, her reasoning goes, and it is this nation's duty to use its power to promote democracy and to confront evil. It's a contrast to the realpolitik approach of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and his disciples, who made the protection of vital interests and the maintenance of a balance of power the cornerstone of American foreign policy. (Kissinger himself, however, supports NATO expansion as a way of balancing a potentially expansive Russia in the future).

Her Belief: Evil Must Be Confronted

When Albright talks about NATO expansion, it's with a moral fervor that goes back to her belief that those Eastern European nations were sold out by the West twice in this century and it is the West's obligation to bring them into its fold now. Indeed, she experienced the sellout personally, her family having been driven out of her native Czechoslovakia twice, first by the Nazis and then by the Russians. To Albright, the lesson of the 20th Century is that evil must be confronted. And it is only the United States of America that has the moral fiber and the wherewithal to do that.

Of course, an emphasis on morality and American values is not a new component of foreign policy. There has always been a broad streak of American exceptionalism and sense of mission in this nation's approach to the world - whether it was Woodrow Wilson making the world safe for democracy or Jimmy Carter promoting an emphasis on human rights. The issue is how to integrate that impulse with our vital national interests, to balance our desire to do good in the world with our ability and willingness to expend our power and our blood.

Posted by: pchuck at March 24, 2006 5:24 PM

The woman's an idiot. Is this third way foreign policy: compromise between right and wrong?

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford,Ct. at March 24, 2006 9:35 PM

No, Bush and Blair are pursuing the Third Way, using conservative means--warfare--to achieve liberal ends--democracy and prosperity.

Posted by: oj at March 25, 2006 12:36 AM


Great find!

Curious how many liberals appear to support good vs. evil thinking during those times when the United States has absolutely nothing to gain by taking action.

Posted by: Matt Murphy at March 25, 2006 3:42 AM

Amusing that warbloggers, who have proven themselves to be viciously anti-religious in their treatment of Christian peace activists, are accusing Democrats of not being able to connect with the religious.

And, of course, she is right. Nations are not "good" or "evil" because nations are heterogenous, as are most political systems. More importantly, if you define foreign policy in terms of "good" and "evil" you will wind up doing much evil in the name of doing good. Saddam Hussein was evil, yet in overthrowing him, Bush and Blair unleashed greater evil upon Saddam's people (since more Iraqis have died in the last three years than would have died under Saddam in that period) and on the people of Iran (since Bush's focus on Iraq, and his creation of a pro-Iranian theocracy in Iraq, has killed the hope of Iranian democracy for all but a few Ledeenian dead-enders).

So those screeching at Albright are simply children screeching at an adult who dares to speak adult truths; having succumbed to cowardice and abject childish fear since 9/11, conservatives can barely understand, let alone respect, liberals -- since liberals have the courage to accept the world and its dangers for what they are. Conservatives are cowards who will not stop cringing until the world is the happy good-vs.-evil fairyland they envision; only liberals can be serious about foreign policy these days, because seriousness requires moral courage, and all conservatives have to offer is cowardice.

Posted by: M.A. at March 25, 2006 3:54 AM


Actually, using your own measure far fewer have died, so the rgime change was a good even by your own lights. After all, even if we set aside the genocide that Saddam was perpetrating, sanctions alone had killed some 500,000 Iraqis in just twelve years.

Iran already is a democracy--it's just in the process of becoming a more liberal one.

Liberals "accept the world as it is" because they'd rather evil regime continue to oppress and murder their own people, so long as we don't have to get involved. It is collaboration with evil.

Posted by: oj at March 25, 2006 7:34 AM

M.A. ... Madeleine Albright I presume?

Sorry, Pchuck's Newsday article nails it.

Posted by: Genecis at March 25, 2006 11:03 AM

The only solutions I've heard from so-called liberals is of 'why can't we all just get along' variety along with the 'I would have done things differently' canard. Rear view mirror wisdom is just pathetic avoidance of dealing with the facts. Peace, love and understanding are laudable goals as long as both sides agree. Tyrannies and ideological insanity have rarely gone quietly when expansion by force is one of it's goals. The world as it is and has always been. Evil, inconveniantly enough, happens to be real.

Posted by: Tom C., Stamford,Ct. at March 25, 2006 11:46 AM

"Warbloggers"? Dude, that's so 2002.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at March 25, 2006 11:49 AM

Prior to Kosovo, Madeline Albright was quoted as saying, "We've got this great military, when can we get to use it?".

And she's the adult?

We have discussed moral courage at length here before. M.A. must be pushing back with the newest Democratic talking points, because accomodation with evil is not certainly not courage.

On the afternoon of 9/11, Katha Pollitt's daughter wanted to fly the flag out their window in NYC (within sight of the WTC). It was 'conflicting' to Ms. Pollitt (a writer for The Nation). Now, does such conflict arise from moral courage? No.

Apparently, only the Big Lie remains for the left, such as "Bush is the greatest terrorist in the world". Or, "Saddam was contained and we were safe before we invaded Iraq". Or, "Iraq has become a breeding ground for terrorists". And on and on.

The new visitor isn't as scraggly as Grog, Ty, kb, and some of the other spouters, but the lie is no less pernicious. The question is simple: do you want the world as it was on 9/12/2001? Above anything else?

I do not.

Posted by: jim hamlen at March 25, 2006 12:36 PM