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View Diary: The Twin Pillars of Foreign Policy (4 comments)

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  •  Something missing?: 1999 yet talking about Bush (0+ / 0-)

    in post-('03)Invasion Iraq?  

    As to substance: Its interesting, but I always felt the 'boundaries are sacred' was a recognition any other policy simply invited a repetition of the pre-WWI and WW2 instability that lead to the wars.  And had the caveat provided by the UN charter about human rights abuses within borders justifying collective international action against the abusers even to the violation of national boundaries and autonomy.  

    Sure it often didn't work bc of the Cold War division of the world andnow its legacy.  Sure it tended to be ad hoc.  

    But as a way to prevent the greater evil of more world and regional wars - with the inevitable risk of global catastrophe - it seems to me to be the most workable solution that was also likely to allow development, democracy and human rights improvements.  Putting aside the entirely different question of the sensibility of redrawing some imposed colonial/national boundaries (and putting aside the almost certain unworkability of peaceably doing so), it seems to me that many of the problems post-WW2 in these countries were from too much foreign intervention (whether by governments or businesses) rather than too little.

    And, of course, abandoning it would justify Putin grabbing parts of eastern Ukraine on the pretext of ethnic unification, just as Hitler did in central Europe's post-Hapsberg states, as well as many other landgrabs thru the 20th C.  

    But that's just an amature's 2 cents, for what its worth.

    •  Good points (0+ / 0-)

      and that is exactly the reasoning that one feels would have led to the pillars policy that I described.

      My point was not that these were bad policies.  It was that good policies for a given situation -- post WWII and post colonialism -- are not necessarily good policies to cleave to forever.

      Yes, abandoning establish international borders could be a recipe for disaster.  But so can a policy that holds on to borders that make no sense when the people who live there want to change them, and there is at least a possibility that they can change without bloodshed -- as has happened in the former Czechoslovakia and a few isolated cases elsewhere.

      What you make clear is that in foreign policy -- and in other realms -- there are no ideal or even good choices.  Just the ones that are less bad.

      My real point is at the end.  Sometimes, following our American principles is not just something that makes us feel good.  Sometimes, it is both in our interest and the right thing to do for the people in these troubled regions.

      And a slavish devotion to a Kissingerian idea of our "interests" is something that can, later, bite us in the ass.

      In Washington, whenever anyone does something wrong, everyone else gets punished.

      by Noziglia on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 07:07:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  True on last pt. But borders integrity was always (0+ / 0-)

        about prohibiting acts by outside powers by force or otherwise that would destabilize the state.  Tho we hardly abided by it in every instance, especially where we could pt to a 'communist' movement and claim USSR had violated that principle first.

        Putting that aside tho, that very valuable principle was badly damaged when Bush invaded Iraq claiming the 'American principles' reasons you propose, among others.  Yes, it was really all lies covering Oil-politik.  Still, Putin had his precedent for Crimea and Ukraine (tho he hardly needed one, but it does complicate things).  And he claims some of the very reasons you propose, i.e. ethnic unification, fear of abuse of certain groups, etc.  Yet, it is all pretext.

        Not to mention the thorny problems that supporting breakaway movements create. Kurd's for instance, not only mean dismembering Iraq, Syria and Turkey - something few nations will allow -but the problems of a new nation in the midst of nations that historically hate it and now have more reasons to do so.  I suspect Czechoslovakia is sui generis and most situations will be like 'Kurdistan', Sri Lanka, Timor, the Russian breakaways to name just a few modern examples.

        I also suspect that international 'law' is so inherently weak that it may not be able to reconcile 2 seemingly contradictory principles, i.e., national integrity and sub-national group interests.

        On the whole, I feel it is better to choose stability and deal with the other on an ad hoc basis, which is pretty much what US policy has claimed to be since WW2.  Still, this remains a critical debate as it has been since the the post-WW2 order was first crafted

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