Friday, March 23, 2007

Nations: children who won't grow up?

Is foreign policy just like kindergarten? The liberal/left seems to think so. This was discussed here as an explanation of Sen. Clinton's foreign policy pronouncements. Interestingly, a 1923 Sunday New York Times Magazine article explicitly uses the same unruly-child-in-need-of-a-parent analogy to explain foreign policy, at least as seen by the article's author:

February 25, 1923, Sunday


Section: The New York Times Magazine, Page SM1, 2866 words

THE task of saving the world lies heavy on the heads of statesmen of all nations. They realize that the greatest political opportunity in the outline of history is within the grasp of some bold hand. But whose? And how? In what Parliament hides the harmonizing genius, the Pied Piper who will entrance all the spoiled and snarling children of the world out of their own discordant houses into some peaceful family of nations?


Great Britain has never blinked the fact [sic.] that some marriage of convenience, or necessity, would eventually force us all, unwilling and frightened stepchildren, into some kind of family of nations. She has never doubted who would be the head of that family. Experienced in heading a good-sized family of her own, and, with all her mistakes, the most successful stepmother of nations in human history, she had reason to believe that no one in the world seriously question her claims or her qualifications. [emphasis added]

This world-as-family analogy would be merely an amusing rhetorical device except that, 80+ years later, as we have seen, and despite some disastrous consequences, it is still the way that liberals think of foreign policy. Indeed, for 15 years after Ms. McCormick wrote this article, liberal world leaders treated Mussolini and Hitler as children to be placated rather than as serious enemies.

The liberal belief in the concept of an international "head of family" is also unchanged. Now, despite its decades of failures, the United Nations is assigned that role. As Ms. McCormick noted, Great Britain had previously had that role.

Liberals also apply the the child-in-need-of-parent concept to domestic politics, as discussed within this post.

A possible relationship between liberalism and childhood pain was noted here. The connection between the family analogy and foreign policy may have been taken too far by Democratic presidents who, however seriously, make a show of asking their children for foreign policy advice.

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