Sunday, December 13, 2009

"Oceana Was Always At War With Eurasia" of the Day

President Obama accepting his Nobel Peace Prize:
[O]ver time, as codes of law sought to control violence within groups, so did philosophers and clerics and statesmen seek to regulate the destructive power of war. The concept of a "just war" emerged, suggesting that war is justified only when certain conditions were met: if it is waged as a last resort or in self-defense; if the force used is proportional; and if, whenever possible, civilians are spared from violence. . .

The world may no longer shudder at the prospect of war between two nuclear superpowers, but proliferation may increase the risk of catastrophe. Terrorism has long been a tactic, but modern technology allows a few small men with outsized rage to murder innocents on a horrific scale.

Moreover, wars between nations have increasingly given way to wars within nations. The resurgence of ethnic or sectarian conflicts; the growth of secessionist movements, insurgencies, and failed states -- all these things have increasingly trapped civilians in unending chaos. In today's wars, many more civilians are killed than soldiers; the seeds of future conflict are sown, economies are wrecked, civil societies torn asunder, refugees amassed, children scarred.

I do not bring with me today a definitive solution to the problems of war. What I do know is that meeting these challenges will require the same vision, hard work, and persistence of those men and women who acted so boldly decades ago. And it will require us to think in new ways about the notions of just war and the imperatives of a just peace. . .

But as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by their examples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to the American people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A non-violent movement could not have halted Hitler's armies. Negotiations cannot convince al Qaeda's leaders to lay down their arms. To say that force may sometimes be necessary is not a call to cynicism -- it is a recognition of history; the imperfections of man and the limits of reason. . .

But the world must remember that it was not simply international institutions -- not just treaties and declarations -- that brought stability to a post-World War II world. Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: The United States of America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades with the blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms. The service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity from Germany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like the Balkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. We have done so out of enlightened self-interest -- because we seek a better future for our children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better if others' children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity. . .

I believe that all nations -- strong and weak alike -- must adhere to standards that govern the use of force. I -- like any head of state -- reserve the right to act unilaterally if necessary to defend my nation. . .

I believe that force can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as it was in the Balkans, or in other places that have been scarred by war. Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later. That's why all responsible nations must embrace the role that militaries with a clear mandate can play to keep the peace.
I salute the "Obama doctrine" -- as Wolf Howling says, "best speech he has given, to date." Especially because it's strikingly similar to what I've articulated here before.

As Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds says, "We’re all Neo-Cons now!"


OBloodyHell said...

> As Instapundit's Glenn Reynolds says, "We’re all Neo-Cons now!"

In rhetoric, yeah. In fact, no. As Michael Moore has shown.

And I'll take Obama's position as more serious when he demonstrates with action in any way, shape, or form, that he actually grasps the essence of it.

Until then, he had someone write that who has nothing in common with his actions or intentions.

You mouth all the blatantly self-evident platitudes you want. As the saying goes, "When all is said and done, a lot more has been said than done."

And I'll wager that this speech will reflect that dictum sufficiently to be its poster child.

Anonymous said...

You are aware that you have been misquoting George Orwell right?

It is spelled Oceania, not Oceana.

Custom Silicone Wristbands said...

I find it disturbing that Obama wants to send more troops to Afghanistan and there is hardly a peep or a protest across all the medias, but when Bush was in office Cindy Sheehan and a whole slew of protesters where rabid for his impeachment.
Gone are the days of unbiased journalism.

OBloodyHell said...

> Obama wants to send more troops to Afghanistan and there is hardly a peep or a protest across all the medias

Well, there was the brief noise from the fat fictioner, but yeah, it's died down fast.

I think they'd be particularly open to "hypocrite!" charges if they did so -- they were saying we should be dealing with Afghanistan all along. A reversal at this point is something they knew they wouldn't be able to get away with... yet.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

"We're all neocons now" reminds me of Clinton's "the era of big government is over" and before that Nixon's "we are all Keynesians now." It may actually be a harbinger of the opposite.

Fortunately in this case, it's Reynolds making the claim, not Obama. Barack is still making some dovish noises.

I said during the 2002-2008 elections that the GWOT is the single most important issue. Obama's spending may cause me to change that priority, but I'll stick with it for now. If he can pull off the stunt of looking like a dovish European one-worlder while being a hawk below, I will be more than happy to give him noisy credit.

I still have trouble even imagining that this is what he is doing, but the speech was encouraging.

Carl said...

Good comparison, AVI. Like you and OBH, I presume Obama's "conversion" is temporary, rhetorical or both.