O ineluctable superiority of teleology 1/23/07

This administration has a knack for the metaphysical. If the evangelical bent and the onerous, eschatalogical rhetoric wasn’t enough, the Bush cabinet’s commitment to the work of “unseen forces” in the world just goes to show how much this administration relies on “intuition”over calculation: what is this Victorian parlor talk? Unseen forces or the throat chakra have no place in diplomacy. The administration should know better or by now. Neil King, Jr. in an excellent column published in the Wall Street Journal discusses Condi’s such reliance on teleology to address the failing enterprise in Iraq. Though the malaise of wrongly analogizing to history (or as Neil King, Jr points out a very narrow bracket of history) runs rampant in the administration, Condi seems to be engaging in it a little too much. The article cites Dr. Rice’s reason for using history as follows:

“The reason that I cite some of these other times, like Europe, is that it is so clear in everybody’s mind that the United States and its allies came out victorious at the end of the Cold War,” she said in Kuwait. “But if you…look at the events that ultimately lead to that, you would have thought that this was failing every single day between 1945-1946 and probably 1987 or 1988.”

Fair enough. We learn from our experiences…but Condi seems to be determined to extract lessons from “experiences” that are largely irrelevant to the extant situation–lazy diplomacy? Check this:

When asked this week about what moments in Arab history inform her thinking, Ms. Rice said she had read about “the British experience” in Mesopotamia in the 1920s, which led to the founding of modern Iraq and the withdrawal of British forces. “I know a number of things that went right, and I know the things that went wrong,” she said.

Such intuition. To be able to make decisions out of fuzziness…wow

I really recommend the entire article. Wall Street Journal is fast becoming my favorite news source.


About this entry