“Visions in Collision”: “TRAGIC” vs. “UTOPIAN” Worldviews

FOREIGN RELATIONS

[borrowed/adapted from Thomas Sowell]

Today’s political divide between “left” and “right” is fueled by one’s “worldview”.
Views on certain issues surrounding the world and the nature of “reality” impact one’s views on politics.
Which ‘worldview”, TRAGIC or UTOPIAN, informs your politics ???

The “TRAGIC” VISION The “UTOPIAN” VISION
FOREIGN RELATIONS (human sociology – “nations”)

INCENTIVES,“concrete” CONSEQUENCES INTENTIONS, attitudes – good will, trust, respect
DETERRENCE by force, GUNBOAT diplomacy NEGOTIATION, MORAL diplomacy – PROMOTE “POSITIVE”
to PREVENT “NEGATIVE” behavior behavior; hate/violence begets hate/violence
REALISM – how things ARE (realpolitik) IDEALISM – how things SHOULD/OUGHT to be
conflict INEVITABLE in “The Jungle” conflict PREVENTABLE – natural harmony
peace through “strength” , “THREATS” peace through “peace”, “UNDERSTANDING”
pessimism, distrust of others, “FACTS” optimism, trust of others, “FEELINGS”
“carry a big STICK” (punish undesired behavior) “provide a CARROT” (reward desired behavior)
promoting national self-interest promoting international self-interest
“autonomous” security “collective” security (alliances- one fights, we all fight)
countering foreign (other) selfish nationalism checking of own selfish national interests
danger of appeasement, “surrendering” danger of cynicism – “bad faith” hostility to enemies
not standing up to “bullying” makes more bullying e.g. negativity breeds more terrorists

APPLICATIONS: “APPEASEMENT”

The Utopian View:
Many wars are unnecessary due to leaders who are not willing to bargain in “good faith”, who do not let “negotiation” and the “diplomatic process” fully play out. Leaders practice a dangerous cynicism that is evidence of moral inadequacies that do not accept idealism, who do not see the “potentialities” of reason, peaceful and “positive” behavior.

We are often “victims” of our own leaders and “selfish” national interests who “war-monger” against beneficial international interests. (e.g. George W. Bush, Haliburton) They fail to have a
“vision” of what could be. Conflict is logically preventable by those willing to “give peace a chance.” Human nature leaves open the possibility of “understanding” and “compromise” that satisfies all parties involved. The “tragic” worldview leads to “tragic”, but unnecessary consequences that are preventable with utopian attitudes, goodwill and intentions.

The Tragic View:
The historical “reality” is that negotiation and appeasement are ineffective and have unintended consequences. Action, not “attitudes” work. Nations act selfishly, in their own best interests, unless there are tangible reasons for them not to. Gunboat diplomacy is not “ideal”, but often effective. This is evidenced in the past with Hitler and Saddam Hussein. Only fighting against their “bullying” stopped it.
Today, North Korea has nuclear weapons despite “good faith” negotiations and the “dangling of carrots” to influence their behavior. “Negotiation” has not stopped Iran’s nuclear ambitions so far.
(“Holocaust”: The Sequel?) In this “DIRTY” and FLAWED WORLD, it is sometimes necessary to “BULLY” BULLIES.
War results in peace. In a “tragic” world, the choice is generally not between peace and war.

The “real” choice is war now, or war later, a “tragic” choice between the lesser of two evils.”
Putting off conflict often makes things worse.
Not standing up to bullying has the unintended consequence of not “peace” but, MORE bullying.

The CHOICE is between doing SOMETHING “BAD” or doing NOTHING – “WORSE”.
A utopian “peace at all costs” led the French in 1935 to do “nothing”,
when they COULD HAVE easily defeated and deterred German expansion.
This INDECISION EVENTUALLY led to French DEFEAT.

AGREE? DISAGREE?

___1)Given human nature, international conflict is INEVITABLE, a “fact” of life. 

Deterrence, punishment or negative consequences against an “enemy’s” undesired behavior, is a necessary and “realistic” part of foreign relations.
“Gunboat diplomacy” and “peace through strength” is a “necessary evil” to PREVENT “negative” behavior of others. Nations need to selfishly protect their SELF-interests. Appeasement of bullies leads to more bullying.

___2)International conflict is PREVENTABLE.

“Moral” Diplomacy, the use of “idealism” (how things OUGHT to be) and “negotiation” is the best way to deal with potential “enemies”. Nations need to seek international “collective” interests based on trust and respect.

____3)The promise of “collective security” and ability to prevent wars is utopian wishful thinking.

The United Nations is an ineffective and corrupt joke, lacking enforcement. Leaders not “serious” enough to face a world of “realpolitik” are naïve and foolish, imagining how they “wish” the world ought to be. This “wishful thinking” irresponsibly ignores what is.

___4)People should NOT treat people like “enemies”. There is a sense of “right” and “wrong” that should universally apply to all people.

International diplomacy requires a “moral” element that applies “principles” (e.g. justice, law, order, democracy, human rights) .

___5)This world is “The Jungle” – survival of the fittest. The “strong” survive and the “weak” eventually die off.

That is “reality”, a “fact” of life, not idealistic “wishful thinking”
Not considering the use of “gunboat” and “dollar” diplomacy in foreign relations is foolish.

___6)Helping Saddam’s Iraq against Revolutionary Iran made sense in a “tragic” world.

Making “strategic” alliances against common enemies is “realistic” policy in a “dirty” world.

Iran’s attempt to export worldwide Islamic revolution and terrorism around the world was/is dangerous. “Negotiation“ with Iran, who considers the U.S. the “great Satan”, is futile.
Iran is run by genocidal maniacs who need to be “taken out” before they get nuclear weapons.

___ 7)The U.S. and West were responsible in part for creating the “monster” Saddam.

When you “play with fire”, one should expect to “get burned”. American foreign policy is generally anti-Islamic and “oppressive”. (e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan) No wonder peoples hate us.

___8)Foreign hate and wars had little to do with American foreign policy.

Arabs and Muslims in general are hypocritically their own worst enemies.

The West are “scapegoated” for their own self-inflicted problems. The U.S.-led coalition that freed Kuwait, after Saddam’s Iraq invaded, raped and pillaged it, was a good and “noble” thing. The elimination of Saddam Hussein and Iraqi “nation-building” was “tragic” but necessary. Saddam was a dangerous and destabilizing source. Building a “stable” and “democratic” Iraq and Middle East is in everybody’s best interests. Ironically, the U.S. has fought to protect Muslims around the world.

___ 9)American foreign policy is the biggest source of the world’s problems and conflict.

Our “bullying” gunboat diplomacy and “selfish” dollar diplomacy (e.g. corporations) makes a “chaotic” world worse, evoking hostile reactions from other nations. American should adopt an ISOLATIONIST response to world affairs, staying out and not interfering in world affairs.

__10)American “INTERVENTION” in the world is a “TRAGIC” NECESSITY.

It is better to be “RESPECTED” as a “superpower” and “policeman” delivering some “peace and order”,rather than “liked” but “weak”.

We can’t ignore the historical fact that “isolation” and “appeasement” does not work.

Peace at all costs often results in war.

Doing “something” is dangerous – doing “nothing” more so.

Negotiation has not stopped a nuclear North Korea or Iran’s nuclear ambitions so far. The United States is a rare source of BENEFIT and HOPE in an insane and dangerous world. American foreign policy IS “flawed”. (like that of all nations and humanity)
However, it’s the BEST of a BAD SITUATION, the LESSER of TWO EVILS in a “TRAGIC” world.