By William Markiewicz
Dreams of improving the world have engaged the brains and hearts of countless philosophers, gurus, and leaders. Each idea ended in partial success. Opposing groups saw a lurking devil in practically every one of them while the partisans claimed that the job was not yet finished, even if 'the job' would last for centuries. If we look at the nature of the devil, we discover that practically all the groups raise the same devil and power is its name. Democracy is the only creed that when really practiced doesn't impose power over its own or foreign citizens; freedom, meaning absence of threat, is the real power of democracy. Do "liberal interventionists" hold the patent on good power? All groups believe that they use their power for good. Below, some excerpts from Jonathan Powell's (Tony Blair's chief of staff) first major speech on foreign affairs since leaving the PM’s office. The entire speech was printed in the Observer and my comments are in italics.
Precisely because there is only one superpower things go for the worse. WM
We should have been clear we were removing Saddam because he was a ruthless dictator suppressing his people.
One superpower is the policeman of the world. So, in the 21st century, all we can expect is a return to Babylon or the Roman Empire? WM
So it is in the US interest, as it is in the interest of medium-sized powers like the UK, to have the rule of law applied internationally as it is domestically.
Pax Romana WM
And most of all it means trying to ensure that the US does not revert to isolationism. If it withdraws into itself as it did after Vietnam and Somalia, I fear it will face another 9/11 and all the rest of us will suffer.
9/11 arrived precisely because the USA was not isolationist enough. WM
It is no good saying as Donald Rumsfeld did, 'We don't do nation building.' That is exactly what we do need to be able to do.
For centuries nations were building themselves without Big Brother. WM
Do we have national interests engaged? That does not mean oil, but do we promote our own security better by protecting the rights of others in a particular situation?
The answer, simply, is No. WM
I believe the idea of liberal interventionism will survive as the best way of defending our interests and the moral way of promoting our values.
Idem: No. WM
(Jonathan Powell was speaking at a dinner hosted by Portland Communications)Back to the index of the Vagabond