Sunday, November 25, 2018
#329 / America's Values
The above cartoon appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on Friday, November 23, 2018. On the same day, the editorial I reproduce below appeared in The Wall Street Journal under the title, "Trump's Crude Realpolitik." Same day, different papers, but a common theme.
The editorial decries the president's statement on the Kashoggi assassination as failing to have referenced American "values." Are there, in fact, "values" that our national leaders should exemplify, when they can properly be seen as representing our nation? That would be nice, but I am of a mixed mind as I consider the criticism contained in The Wall Street Journal's editorial.
I surely agree that our president's statements about the brutal murder of a Saudi journalist, by agents of the Saudi government, deserves the rebuke that is delivered by The Wall Street Journal (and by the cartoon). If we are honest, though, as we pontificate about "America's values," we ought to admit that the United States of America practices a "realpolitik" that is fully as brutal as that exemplified by the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi. The Journal's editorial, mentioning our national support for the arms business, provides several examples. But May I refer you, also, to the assassination of hundreds, or even thousands, of people that the president nominates for drone-delivered death, with no due process whatsoever, and with absolutely no accountability. That is what the United States is doing, daily, in places like Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Somalia.
"Realpolitik" is not the kind of politics that I think should dictate our national conduct, and if the American people want to feel good about our "values," we need to change our own behavior, not just point the finger at others.