Day By Day

Friday, January 20, 2006

Wisdom and a Warning From the Belmont Club

Wretchard notes the enormous discrepancy between the actual state of world affairs -- the extermination of 180,000 East Timorese by Indonesia, the ongoing horror on the Ivory Coast, etc -- and the West's obsessive agonizing over matters of marginal import. He suggests that this horrid set of skewed priorities cannot last long. He writes:
[T]he problems in the Third World won't go away; and in an age of globalization and mass immigration, they are no longer separable from events in the First World. Problems like those in the Ivory Coast, as well as the more proximate crisis of Iran are remarkable in that they do not involve Great Powers. For the last twenty years the World News has been driven by events in the what used to be the periphery of the world. The Balkans, Middle East, Africa and Southwest Asia have somehow insinuated themselves into the center stage of history. What events like the Ivory Coast and the humiliating rejection of the EU3 in Iran will do is add to the growing disrepute of the traditional instruments of statecraft upon which the First World relied upon to deal with Third World problems. Multilateral organizations, aid programs, nongovernment organizations, while not completely useless, are in their present forms completely inadequate to the task.
Read the whole thing here.

There are plenty of people here in the US, not to speak of the lotus eaters of the EU, who would love to withdraw from engagement with the great problems of the world. These neo-isolationists, [and lets face it, liberal transnationalism is just another form of isolationism that says, "throw some money at the NGOs and let them worry about it"] are treading an extremely perilous path. Like the cynics who can only see the "war on terror" through the prisim of American domestic political maneuvering, or the idiots who urge France to unilaterally disarm in the face of a new nuclear threat, or the news organizations who obsess over Guantanamo while ignoring Harare, they are dancers on the edge of the abyss.

John Keegan said it best. These are "bad and troubling times."

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