22 January 2010

Charles Krauthammer on Peace

"Pacifism is a serious subject for sweet adolescents, or a way of life for certain eccentric sects; who, it must be noted, survive because they live among non-eccentric sects who reject pacifism and fight to keep those little sects alive and free. "
. . .

"The international community is a state of nature--a Hobbesian state of nature--with no universally recognized norms. Anarchy is kept in check not by a bureaucracy on the East River, not by some inchoate expression of world opinion, not by parchment promises adorned with disingenuous signatures--but by the will and the power of the great powers and, most importantly, in our time, by the one super power, namely, the United States.

"One highly revealing analysis of Obama foreign policy, relying on leaks from inside the White House, spoke about how Obama's approach to foreign policy owed much to his experience as a community organizer: the idea of listening, of understanding, or working cooperatively, and seeking common ends. This is all well and good, but a community organizer in Chicago operates within the rubric and under the protection of a very elaborate, very secure, highly regulated, and consensual domestic civil society. What holds civil society together is a supreme central authority, the sanctity of contracts, and the good will, civility, and decency of its individual members. The international arena lacks all of these things. What keeps it from degenerating into a war of all against all is not central authority, not the phony security of treaties, not the best good will among the more civilized nations--what stability we do have is owed to the overwhelming power and deterrent threat of a super power like the United States that defines international stability as a national interest. "

--Charles Krauthammer, The Age of Obama, Anno Domini 2 (The Margaret Thatcher Freedom Lecture) January 19, 2010.