MORALITY IN FOREIGN POLICY….Today in the Weekly Standard William Kristol celebrates the return of morality to foreign policy:
It is true that regimes don’t exist apart from the various material interests and geographical and historical characteristics of nations. So “morality in foreign policy” is always limited. Necessity has its claims. And the freedom and security of one’s own nation come first. But our freedom and security turn out to be inextricably linked to the character of regimes elsewhere in the world.
It’s funny, though, he attributes the origin of our concern with the “character” of a regime to Ronald Reagan, the man who mined Nicaragua’s harbors, sold arms to Iran, and supported Saddam Hussein for the better part of a decade.
At the same time he absent mindedly fails to remember the real origin (in recent years, anyway) of U.S. concern with morality in foreign affairs: Jimmy Carter’s insistence on judging nations according to their respect for human rights. And unless my memory fails me, Carter was roundly castigated for his diplomatic naivet? by neocons like Kristol ? until Reagan discovered that “human rights” was actually a pretty good cudgel to use against the Soviet Union. Then it suddenly became OK.
Funny how memory plays such tricks on us….