Current Issue

Jan.28, 2009

Vol. 109, No. 7

Foreign-policy choices

In response to: Never Again?

Because I’ve been a Libertarian since the summer before junior year of high school and thus favored a largely non-interventionist foreign policy since about that time (and even more fervently since the end of the U.S.S.R.), I didn’t know that it was possible to become even less sympathetic to recent neoconservative gambits in the Islamic world until I read the article on Professor Gary Bass’ theories (feature, Nov. 5). However, that all three of his examples of previous antigenocidal actions were vis--vis the Ottoman Empire should automatically make one suspicious, since it is now an ex-empire that other empires had incentives to consume — and did.

He claims that, if anything, the United Kingdom’s actions for Greece were against its own interests vis--vis the Russians. Yet most decolonized Ottoman turf after World War I went to the British and French, not the Russians. I guess the final straw for me was the intervention by the French for the Maronites a century and a half ago. We have the same attempts in 2005 to kick out the Syrians after Hariri’s assassination and prop up a Cedar Revolu-tion, but with the result that the Israelis — a year later — went back to slaughtering hundreds of innocent civilians after local Islamic groups went back to their tricks.

Democracy in Iraq gave us Shia control and a loss of rights for women and minorities. In Iran it gave us Ahmadinejad; in Palestine, Hamas instead of the “moderate” PLO. In computer consulting, if you mess up too many times (sometimes just once), you get fired. I suppose if you’re a neocon and mess up, you get promoted to secretary of state (sigh).

ROBERT EDWARD JOHNSON ’79
Normal, Ill.

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