Coward Old Universe…

by Jeremy G.

Posts Tagged ‘International Stability’

Stability vs. Democracy

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on July 15, 2008

Realpolitik is to foreign policymaking what healthy food is to a bachelor who is about to get married, in my opinion: You know it’s important for you, though you don’t necessarily want to accept that reality – no pun intended – right away.  This may explain why I’m not a big fan of realism in practice, but also why I found that Sarkozy’s invitation to Syrian president el-Assad was logical and defendable.  I experience greater difficulty, however, when realpolitik leads a power to defend “stability” – and thus the status quo – over any efforts to make progress in terms of democratization.

Condoleezza Rice makes a very good point on this topic in her most recent Foreign Affairs essay, “Rethinking the National Interest: American Realism for a New World“:

…the quest for justice and a new equilibrium on which the nations of the broader Middle East are now embarked is very turbulent. But is it really worse than the situation before? Worse than when Lebanon suffered under the boot of Syrian military occupation? Worse than when the self-appointed rulers of the Palestinians personally pocketed the world’s generosity and squandered their best chance for a two-state peace? Worse than when the international community imposed sanctions on innocent Iraqis in order to punish the man who tyrannized them, threatened Iraq’s neighbors, and bulldozed 300,000 human beings into unmarked mass graves? Or worse than the decades of oppression and denied opportunity that spawned hopelessness, fed hatreds, and led to the sort of radicalization that brought about the ideology behind the September 11 attacks? Far from being the model of stability that some seem to remember, the Middle East from 1945 on was wracked repeatedly by civil conflicts and cross-border wars. Our current course is certainly difficult, but let us not romanticize the old bargains of the Middle East — for they yielded neither justice nor stability.

 A few words of wisdom, when we decide to deal with the Middle East again, updating our knowledge in the aftermath of the Iraqi events.


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