Wednesday, March 12, 2003

Containment, again: Any strong feelings on the matter? You present the side of idealism well, but Mead is arguing a confined reality. Had we but world enough and time, sure I'd suggest a tick-off list of world dictators we should cool to room temperature. Nevertheless, the fact that we haven't the resources to do everything does not imply that we should, instead, despair of doing anything. In the business world it's called prioritizing, and I think there is a decent case to be made that North Korea is the top priority. Iran, too, given their recent steps toward nuclear power. (Debate the merits, but Bush put Iraq at the top of his list.) There's no reason not to take an idealistic approach into the confining realities, to avoid making the perfect the enemy of the good.

Secondarily, as to the sanctimony, I agree that Mead is conceding the argument to the "save the children" types. This is about our national interests and security; the benefits to the Iraqis, while not insignificant and wonderful to ponder, are tangential.

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