The world is in such a mess, such a state of indecision and anxiety, that it is difficult to concentrate on other things. I have been trying to get a grasp of what is happening. The talking heads drone on and on, but nothing they say, whatever they say, seems to amount to anything more than contradictions and absurd ambiguities. The only thing I think I can be sure about is that the Pope should mind his own business. His prayers for peace will have no effect on the “bad guys” and will make it harder for “the good guys” to decide, and to act. (Over-simplified, to be sure.) On the other hand we berated the papacy for its inaction in World War II. Another dilemma.
I feel so sorry for Obama, and the advisors and politicians who have to make the decision. No matter what they choose it will be wrong.
I need to hear Michel Sandel debating this with one of his classes at Harvard Law School. I am no philosopher, but I have watched all the programs of the lecture series and made a serious study of his book and the recommended readings.
Both options facing Obama are wrong. Two wrongs never make a right. There may be an argument from utilitarianism that rogue regimes must be prevented from abusing their own people because once they have achieved absolute dominance within their own country they will look to their neighbours, and there will be no stopping the carnage. Early intervention… overseas, in their own backyard where there is already terror and destruction, instead of waiting to fight them later, elsewhere, when they have consolidated their power.
It is a true dilemma.
Britain has already chosen to say “No” to any co-operative action. The United Nations has also said “No”.
This morning I listened to the news and commentary programs and the bickering was uninformative.
I looked up George Galloway’s address to the British House of Commons on August 29. This maverick MP from a newly formed party called “Respect” is a ferocious debater. Listen to the speech here (6 minutes)
Galloway has had the courage to change his mind, and to speak it… clearly and passionately. So has Christopher Hitchens, who changed his position and spoke in favour of the first Iraq war, losing significant public credibility by doing so. So it is fascinating to watch them debating each other in this 2005 debate at Baruch University in New York City. Hitchens is debating in favour of US intervention, Galloway against.
But here is what I took away from watching these… the governing regime is so evil and corrupt that it must be overthrown. It can only be overthrown by forces that are equally evil and corrupt… so that result would be equally disastrous… and at what cost? Weigh Galloway’s comments last week against Hitchens opening remarks about what would have happened if the Americans had NOT intervened in 2003.
So what can we learn from the 2005 debate that is relevant to-day? Is it a true analogy?
When Galloway was on the 2005 speaking tour he was denied entry to Canada, and his speech was delivered from the US via closed circuit television. He has had a checkered and interesting career, including being called before a US Senate Committee hearing in 2005 for alleged profiteering. Wikipedia outlines the details of this interesting career.