Tuesday, May 22, 2007

i like your style, barry

Excerpt from a great New Yorker article via leeser:

It is, then, not surprising that when it was proposed that America should invade Iraq with the goal of establishing democracy there, Obama knew that it would be a terrible mistake. This was American innocence at its most destructive, freedom at its most deceptive, universalism at its most naïve. “There was a dangerous innocence to thinking that we would be greeted as liberators, or that with a little bit of economic assistance and democratic training you’d have a Jeffersonian democracy blooming in the desert,” he says now. “There is a running thread in American history of idealism that can express itself powerfully and appropriately, as it did after World War II with the creation of the United Nations and the Marshall Plan, when we recognized that our security and prosperity depend on the security and prosperity of others. But the same idealism can express itself in a sense that we can remake the world any way we want by flipping a switch, because we’re technologically superior or we’re wealthier or we’re morally superior. And when our idealism spills into that kind of naïveté and an unwillingness to acknowledge history and the weight of other cultures, then we get ourselves into trouble, as we did in Vietnam.”

“I’ve never been a conspiracy theorist,” he says. “I’ve never believed there are a bunch of people out there who are pulling all the strings and pressing all the buttons. And the reason is that the older I get, the more time I spend meeting people in government or in the corporate arena, the more human everybody becomes. What I do believe is that those with money, those with influence, those with control over how resources are allocated in our society, are very protective of their interests, and they can rationalize infinitely the reasons why they should have more money and power than anyone else, why that’s somehow good for the society as a whole.”

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