Friday, March 17, 2006

But They Have Old Buildings

Victor Davis Hanson is on point again, writing about our contemporary notions of multilateralism, which he correctly calls "a neologism for deference to Europe":

As is always the way of the pack, there is a tired conventional wisdom circulating among pundits that the days of American activism are over, and a new, more realistic and multilateral approach — read Euro-like — must correct the neoconservative excesses of the past.

But I wonder: Are we going to look to the European practice of trying war criminals? Should Saddam be transferred to Milosevic's now empty cell? Is the model coalition in Afghanistan all that much more loved or effective than the one in Iraq? Should we shut down Guantanamo and outsource its inmates to The Hague? Have the European police done so much better in hunting down a Mladic or Karadzic than our soldiers have in their more muscular hunt for Osama? And will the United Nations, the EU3, the Russians, and the Chinese, in multilateral fashion, really stop the Iranian nuclear program — or simply stall meaningful action until they can collectively shrug, and sigh, "Oh, well, just another Pakistan, after all"?


dcat said...

Hansaon's fatal flaw in this piece, however, is to speak as if there is one Europe. There is not. He needs to travel more, apparently.

Tom said...

I don't think Hanson is saying there is one Europe. However, there are some generalizations that can be made about Europeans when it comes to the issues at hand. For example, the effort to try Milosevic was, for all intents and purposes, a European one.

thejamestaylor said...

In my mind the comparison between Mladic and Karadzic on the one hand, and bin Laden and al-Zarqawi on the other, is the major problem with the article. These are totally different phenomenon. At this point the hunt for Mladic and Karadzic is solely a moral one, in that these men have done terrible things to innocent people. The hunt for bin Laden and al-Zarqawi is far more important. Both men have declared themselves to be at war with the United States, and have given plenty of evidence that they will target America and Americans until they are captured or killed. At the moment, neither Serb is of any particular danger to anyone, while bin Laden and al-Zarqawi pose an imminent danger to the United States and its citizens.

The other problem with this article is the complaining about how the United States is not held to the same standard as the rest of the world. It is time to give up on the hope that this will ever be the case again. The United States is the big boy on the block and will draw a great deal of animosity on that fact alone. Like it or not, American foreign policy today must be a cut above that of any other nation.

On the positive side, I was pleased to see at least a mention of the situation in Iran, to which intellectuals should be giving far more attention.