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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

25 November 2005

Liberty and competence

Charles Krauthammer writes today about the authenticity of America’s devotion to freedom around the world:

“… as you walk the streets of Washington, it is harder to discount America's quiet homage to foreign liberators -- statues built decades apart without self-consciousness and without any larger architectural (let alone political) plan. They have but one thing in common: They share America's devotion to liberty. Liberty not just here but everywhere. Indeed, liberty for its own sake … Many around the world find such sentiments and the accompanying declarations hard to credit. Europeans, in particular, with their long tradition of realpolitik, cannot conceive of a Great Power actually believing such hopeless idealism.”

Mr. Krauthammer, I feel, is right to identify the disbelief and incredulity that receives America’s message of freedom abroad. But there is a parallel current that beats a different tune, free of the cynicism about America’s intentions yet equally pessimistic about America’s role abroad. For this crowd, America’s intentions do not count as much as the perseverance in staying the course and the capacity to appreciate the complexities of locality in micromanaging an empire. And whatever the grudge with the cynics, these skeptics may be on to something.

References:
Charles Krauthammer, “Sweet Land of Giving,” Washington Post, 25 Nov 05 (link)

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