Friday, August 15, 2008

An intelligent comment on the Georgia Situation

Stolen the Comment section on Townhall:

What is critical is the lack of information upon which Americans are being asked to form their opinions. Until Russia became involved, did anyone here even know South Ossetia existed? Did anyone hear a big news story about the attack ON South Ossetia by the Georgian military?

DId anyone know that South Ossetia was an autonomous unit for decades and that they have always wanted to remain aligned with Russai. Did anyone know that they voted overwhelmingly in South Ossetia to remain aligned with Russia? That those opposing Georgian control consider themselves freedom fighters?

I doubt it very much. But now people are howling about it without knowing a thing about it. They want to restart the cold war. They ignore the role of NATO and the US in the whole thing. It all boils down to "us good, them bad."

Ignorance is a bad basis upon which to form an opinion.

2 comments:

1jpb said...

"Ignorance is a bad basis upon which to form an opinion."

We should all be forced to have this statement written on a post-it that is taped to our naval, or whatever it is that each individual gazes at most.

To me, the most interesting folks are those neo-cons who do know more of the full picture, but their visceral neo-con instincts seek comfort in focusing on the good vs. bad picture. I can see the theoretical merit of the neo-cons' hawkish conclusions. They can seem reasonable, even if all of the previous history and provocations were acknowledged--it is true that there is something of a good and a bad in this situation.

But, the most hawkish advice falls apart in practice because 1) our leverage and cost/benefit positions can't support the most bluster filled talk in this situation, and 2) real foreign policy is more complicated than the viscerally comforting, simplistic, neo-con models claim. It's not really good vs. bad. It's: better vs. worse. Understanding these complications should lead us to consider different, less simple, conclusions and actions than the comforting simplicity that is offered by neo-cons.

rcocean said...

1jpb thanks for the great comment. You've provided me with some food for thought.