James P. Rubin has a good opinion article in Newsweek, which takes a shot at Barack Obama’s realist tendencies in foreign policy and the swift abandonment of human rights by the new administration. Given the scary results of a recent poll on the falling support for democracy building, perhaps he’s just going with the flow? This isn’t looking good.
“Realism” characterized the views of a substantial majority of Americans almost right up until the moment that Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. At that moment it seems Americans were galvanized into the delusional (at least by today’s standards) belief that we possessed some values which stood us apart from some of the rest of the world. And in the era of propaganda that followed the war, we continued to delude ourselves that America, for all of its flaws, really stood for something a little better than others. Heck, you couldn’t find any of the latter day “realists” anywhere — not under any rock anywhere.
Butit appears that our new leaders have rediscovered the true path of”realism”. There really are no values or aspirations that we might havewhich might distinguish us from anyone else. After all, we are simplyhypocrites. Idealists may view hypocrisy as the virtue that defines thedifference between our aspirations and our achievements. But our”realists” clearly understand the evil of hypocrisy and are determinedto end it by putting an end to all of the aspirations which we cannoteasily achieve.
We would do well to ask ourselves “how well has that served us in the past?”