Thursday, August 17, 2006

Why 'Realism' Is Not an Answer in the Middle East: a Response to George Will
'[D]oes [Mr. Will] believe what is needed in the Middle East is more repression, more violence, more mass graves, more Saddam Husseins, more Hafez al-Assads, and more Yasir Arafats? Would these things lead to more "stability" in the Middle East? Would they advance American interests? Would they advance human rights or human liberty or the common good?'

Wehner next produces a series of past statements in which Will took the position that the Middle East was far from stable and that the status quo there was not acceptable. On August 3, 1990, Will wrote that “Israel is the all-purpose but implausible alibi for the various pathologies that convulse many Arab nations and relations between them.” On October 19, 2000, he wrote, “In President Clinton’s final months of office, the Middle East is more aflame than when he began ministering to it.” On September 14, 2001, he wrote, “Islamic radicalism regards Israel as Nazi Germany regarded Belgium – as a small steppingstone toward a much larger conquest.”

Will was also quite sympathetic to the idea that democracy might well be the corrective to the region’s “pathologies.” After the first Gulf War, on January 12, 1992, he criticized the Bush-I administration for “not seriously [trying] to translate Kuwait’s moral debt to America into something truly new – an Arab democracy.” In the same column, he also criticized the administration for its “preference for order before freedom.” Earlier, on the subject of Iraq, Will had argued (on September 9, 1990) that it would be a good outcome or “at any rate the least bad outcome” for the U.S. to become “bogged down” there. In defense of this counter-intuitive notion, Will explained that “one reason the Berlin Wall is down is that U.S. forces were 'bogged down' in Europe 45 years after the war ended."

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