While the surface appeal of ?realism? is undeniable?who wants to support an ?unrealistic? policy??the reality of it is not.
?Realism? can best be summed up by another buzzword loved by the diplomatic set: stability.
Stability is a wonderful goal for the United States, Ireland, South Korea, Israel, or any other free society. But not for a tyranny that terrorizes its own people or openly supports or harbors terrorists.
Such a substantive distinction as stability in a free versus an unfree society, however, is beyond the concern of the Foreign Service?and apparently, John Kerry.
Consider the history of State?s pursuit of ?stability.? In the late 1980?s, the U.S. ramped up its support of Saddam?after he had killed some 100,000 Kurds in 1988. Why? According to a now-declassified top secret January 1989 memo, State urged new President George H.W. Bush to embrace the madman because he was a bastion of ?stability.?
Nor did State learn its lesson. After the Taliban took control of Afghanistan, the U.S., because of State, was only one of four countries on earth to no longer recognize the fallen Rabbani regime. It was a clear policy of tilted neutrality in favor of Osama bin Laden?s protectors. State believed the Taliban represented the best shot at ?stability.?
Last month, Kerry blasted Bush for his focus on spreading freedom and democracy. But what exactly is preferable about supporting thugs like the Saddam and the Taliban?
It?s easy to take potshots at Bush?s boldness in attempting to liberate peoples who have never known freedom. But the goal is not liberal do-gooderism. It?s security.
Free states might have foreign policies that placate terror sponsors?look at France with Saddam and much of the Arab world?but they don?t launch offensive wars against other nations, and they don?t actively support terrorists.
Nor has any free society unleashed chemical weapons in the modern era, but an Egyptian dictatorship did against the North Yemenis and Saddam did against Iran, as well as against his own people. And it will probably?terrifyingly?be a question of when, not if, al Qaeda attempts to attack a U.S. target with chemical or biological WMD.
Fomenting freedom is not easy, and it?s inevitably messy. But it?s undeniably necessary.
Joel Mowbray, who got his start with Townhall.com, is an award-winning investigative journalist, nationally-syndicated columnist and author of Dangerous Diplomacy: How the State Department Threatens America's Security.
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