I haven’t picked on David Brooks in a while …

So let’s look at his recent claims that we have to take action against Russia (over the Ukraine) and ISIS in the Middle East not because they threaten us but because they threaten the world order: “the underlying frameworks by which nations operate are being threatened in fairly devastating ways.” It’s been understood for “the past few decades, or even centuries” that powerful nations can’t simply take other countries just because they’re strong enough. And that governments don’t impose religion on their subjects, as ISIS is doing. So even though they’re not a threat outside the immediate area, they’re “a fundamental threat … to our civilizational order.” They MUST be stopped! (All of which, by the way, fits perfectly with this description of pundits proclaiming every crisis a catastrophe)
Where to begin? Well, for starters, Brooks is displaying a massive or willful ignorance of history. Go back just 200 years and you’ll see the powerful nations of Europe dividing up the continent post-Napoleon pretty much however they chose. If, say, Russia won a province formerly controlled by Saxony, Saxony got a piece of Sardinia in return. Who cares what the provincial inhabitants thought?
And that’s just Europe. If you look at the rest of the world—America’s occupation of the Philippines, the European nations grabbing for colonies—then no, the most we can say is “decades.” Only I wouldn’t give it even that: After all, we invaded Iraq in 2003 for no other reason than we were strong enough and we really wanted to. And Brooks, I note, was an enthusiastic supporter of the war, discussing how wonderfully it was going (then shaking his head at how everyone else got it wrong) and declaring war would be good for our character, making us more interested in money and God (Brooks is, in fact, quite nostalgic for the days when a conservative elite imposed morality and faith on the lower orders of America).
And as other bloggers have pointed out, Brooks’ rationale would pretty much justify intervention in anything anywhere, because any terrorism or border wars or civil war is a threat to civilizational order and must be stopped. Or at least, any threat Brooks cares about: ISIS bad, Russia bad, I doubt we’ll see him calling for intervention in Rwanda, Saudi Arabia or to free Tibet from China. The world order is only threatened when David Brooks says it’s threatened.
And yet he has a slot on the New York Times editorial page and Sunday morning talk shows. Pundit job security is a wonderful thing.


Filed under Politics

3 responses to “I haven’t picked on David Brooks in a while …

  1. Pingback: Libertarians: less voting, more freedom. | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  2. Pingback: Bad right-wing insights, followed by good news. | Fraser Sherman's Blog

  3. Pingback: Peace and prosperity are the point (a late 9/11 post) | Fraser Sherman's Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.