It’s been a busy weekend. It’s nice to settle down to a nice bowl of Fr Matthew’s Famous Leftover Soup™! Leftover pork, pea pods, pasta, and a little stuffing, plus a freshly cut onion, dried basil, and a dash of soy sauce and sesame oil… yum!
Served with Triscuits and filtered water, and accompanied by reading Pres. George Bush’s Decision Points. I’m about half-way through the book now, and I’m finding it very interesting. On one hand, it’s an autobiographical book written by a politician, which means that one has to take the content with a grain of salt. Bush is arguing his own position to justify his decisions, and he is also surely conscious that what he says can have some influence on how people judge the Republican party.
On the other hand, he recognizes that he is not perfect and did make some mistakes, so at least to me, he comes across as generally sincere. I already agreed with many, though not all, of his decisions, and I find it interesting to get a general review of the main events of his presidency and the explanations he gives for his actions. Even just from the perspective of a history lesson, the book is helpful; Bush covers one theme or issue at a time, so the book gives good capsular reviews of the chronology and behind-the-scene politics of things like his embryonic stem cell research decisions and the war in Afganistan.
It’s interesting to be reading about U.S. foreign policy at this moment in history, when the American government is attempting to exert an influence on the political developments in places like Ivory Coast and Egypt. It really is difficult to know the best course of action. On one hand, every country has a right to sovereignty, and foreign countries shouldn’t usually interfere in the internal politics of other countries. At the same time, solidarity requires that we work for the respect of human rights everywhere, and the United States has a lot of means to use its influence to put pressure on dictators to give their people their legitimate right to choose their own government. But, this might mean facilitating the formation of anti-American governments; there is a real possibility that free elections in Egypt would lead to the Moslem Brotherhood taking power and establishing a regime that might not be entirely friendly to the Western ideals and could be friendly to militant Islam.
In short, If the USA does nothing, it could be guilty of standing aside while a government oppresses it’s own people (unless the popular uprising has enough momentum to win out on its own, in which case the USA would lose a chance to make friends in the new regime). If it supports the current Egyptian administration (which has been an ally), it could help keep a fairly Western-friendly government in power, but at the cost of betraying its own principles by being an accomplice to repression (and making more enemies among those pushing for radical reform). If it pushes hard for popular elections, it could lead to a government that will be inimical to America’s own legitimate interests. If it gets too involved on either side, it could overstep the bounds of respect for Egypt’s national sovereignty. If It’s a bit of a dilemma. I tend to think that short-term we should support the pro-democracy movement as much as possible without intervening directly. We may not like the government they form, but we should be faithful to our principles. Even from a pragmatic viewpoint, we are more likely to earn respect and influence by being coherent.
Anyway, I’m glad I’m not making foreign policy decisions, and I’m not sure I trust the people who are. If they can’t even see clear to protect human life here at home in American mothers’ wombs, how can they make clear decisions in the even more complex and nuanced arena of international politics?
So instead of making policy decisions, I’m blogging and half-watching the Super Bowl, giving my full attention only to the advertisements. The mini Darth Vader is cute, and it looks like there are some good movies coming out in the coming months: Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean, Thor, Captain America… Looks like fun! Hopefully some good dramas, too. The King’s Speech was fantastic.