Carol Platt Liebau: ISO: A Bigger International Bureaucracy

Sunday, June 04, 2006

ISO: A Bigger International Bureaucracy

Writing in today's LA Times, Peter Beinart apotheosizes Harry Truman and writes:

For the U.S. to promote freedom in the Islamic world, Americans and Middle Easterners must come together to define a common vision of democracy and human rights, one that challenges American actions at Guantanamo Bay as much as it challenges the autocratic regimes of the Arab world.

The vehicles for such reciprocity are international institutions and international law, something liberals — unlike neoconservatives — have long supported. From NATO and the United Nations to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the heyday of Cold War liberalism — the late 1940s — was an extraordinary period of institution building. Those institutions forged the democratic alliance that outlasted Soviet communism.


What drivel. First, comparing "American actions at Guantanamo Bay" -- where accommodations are deemed superior to Belgian jails and prisoners actually gain weight -- to the systematic and misogynistic repression of the "autocratic regimes of the Arab world" is the kind of moral equivalence for which the left is justly scorned.

Second, believing that "international institutions" have either the will or the capacity to provide any kind of leadership -- moral or otherwise -- is laughably naive. Claudia Rosett has documented the corruption and complacency that tainted the Oil-for-Food program, and there have been plenty of other scandals that have been downplayed or ignored.

"International institutions" might have had some relevance in a bipolar Cold War world, where the behavior of the French and other similar countries were restrained and informed by their fear of the USSR. Today, they've become little more than a means for restraining, controlling or limiting the power of the United States.

And maybe that's fine with libs like Beinart. But for those of us who believe that, while imperfect, the US has been the greatest force for good that the world has ever known, it's not okay. It's ridiculous and wrong.

And it's worth noting, as Robert Novak points out, that bureaucracy is what kept President Truman from learning about the true extent of the Soviet threat to the US. Novak reports that Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan pointed out that this omission led to the liberal defense of Alger Hiss and the worst excesses of McCarthyism.

Given Beinart's stated admiration for Truman, isn't it a little ironic that he's calling for a bigger and more important international bureaucracy?

11 Comments:

Blogger Dr Faust said...

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6:28 PM  
Blogger Dr Faust said...

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6:41 PM  
Blogger Dr Faust said...

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7:08 PM  
Blogger Alan Kellogg said...

In World War Two conditions in American prisoner of war camps for German and Italian prisoners improved when hardcore Nazi and Fascist prisoners were removed. I wonder if officials at the Gitmo detention center have tried that.

5:07 AM  
Blogger One Salient Oversight said...

Carol. Why do you hate the rest of the world?

6:19 AM  
Blogger Greg said...

There's that moral equivalence again.

Also, recongnizing the good brought to the world by the U.S. does not equate to "hating" the rest of the world. It's simply giving credit where credit is due.

I would edit one of Carol's statements, though. The United States is not the greatest force for good that the world has ever known. Rather, the United States might be the greatest SECULAR force for good the world has ever known.

7:23 AM  
Blogger COPioneer said...

I agree with Greg, and I'd add that the greatest Christian force for good in the world also comes from the U.S. Of course, it's never reported on in the MSM, because it isn't secular.

I suppose that's just another salient oversight.

7:55 AM  
Blogger Dr Faust said...

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1:43 AM  
Blogger Pete said...

Interesting how the left is so quick to recognize alleged "hatred and intolerance" by conservatives, yet completely oblivious of their own mean-spiritedness!

7:46 AM  
Blogger RovingWireTap said...

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8:32 AM  
Blogger sharinlite said...

Mr. Peinart proposes an oxymoron:
Americans and Middle Easterners must come together and define a common vision of democracy and human rights.

Middle Easterners don'thave nor, if they members of Islam, any vision of democracy and human rights. It does not exist in their culture because their culture is based on strict adherence to Islam and Islam is contradictory to democracy and human rights.

2:18 PM  

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