Don Quixote and I have often spoken about the difference in viewpoints between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to war. Both are willing to wage war, but if you look at the history of Democratic military adventures in the last 15 years, you discover that war is only okay when it doesn’t actually benefit the United States. This is the altruistic school of warfare: the US is allowed to use its military power to help the Balkans and to help people in far off Africa. The notion of using our military might to help ourselves, not in an offensive way, but in a defensive way, is seen as unacceptable bullying and must be avoided at all costs.
Sadly, the new British government seems to subscribe to that same unrealistic view. Douglas Alexander, the International Development Secretary for Britain, and one of PM Gordon Brown’s closest allies gave a windy speech yesterday about the need for using soft power instead of hard power to deal with the worldwide war Islamists are waging against the West (not that he ever acknowledged that there is a worldwide war that Islamists are waging against the West, of course):
The United States must build alliances that reach out to the world – rather than ones that simply shield it from terrorism – Douglas Alexander, the International Development Secretary, said in Washington last night.
Mr Alexander, one of Gordon Brown’s closest allies, used the first overseas speech by a Cabinet minister since Tony Blair’s departure to emphasise the importance of using “soft powers” like development and diplomacy in the struggle against terrorism.
In details, the speech could have been written by the Democratic party, in that it shies away entirely from naming the real enemy (that would be Islamists all over the world who want to kill westerners in order to advance their religious ideology), and instead bogs down in tired old tropes about poverty and being misunderstood, only to wrap up with a rousing and inane call for warfare, provided that such warfare does not produce any direct benefits for the United States or Britain:
The West must fight poverty, trade imbalances and climate change at the same time as terrorism to “ensure the preservation of our security”, he said.
Such an approach could only succeed if it was backed by the United States, Mr Alexander added. “There are few global challenges that do not require the active engagement of the United States.”
Intervention can justified in some cases, but it must be driven by “core values, not special interests”, he said.
“It can be right, when certain conditions are met, to intervene in the affairs of countries to prevent genocide, crimes against humanity, humanitarian suffering or threats to democracy.”
This inane viewpoint, one that ignores both the realities of Islamic terrorism and the nature of self-defense, is a perfect example of Britain’s continued slide into irrelevance and cultural suicide.
UPDATE: I wasn’t the only one, of course, to catch Alexander’s icky little message. The Webloggin editor did too, with some righteous anger at British lectures to America when the Brits can’t keep their own country from exploding. (The article includes a nice nod to my post, which I appreciate).
Filed under: Britain