Quote of the Day: More On Progressive Pragmatism (UPDATED; UPDATED 09.25)

Realism in the sense of pragmatism is obviously desirable. Any public philosophy or strategy can be implemented in a pragmatic rather than reckless and utopian way. There can be, and have been, pragmatic liberal internationalists, pragmatic Marxist-Leninists and even pragmatic jihadists. Their pragmatism has not made them Kissingerian realists. Woodrow Wilson may have been a utopian and reckless liberal internationalist, but his successor Franklin D Roosevelt was a pragmatic, cautious and sober one.

– Michael Lind, The US foreign-policy future: a progressive-realist union?

Also see Pragmatism: what it isn’t, what it is by Idealistic Pragmatist (originally cited here).

(update below the fold)

Update – Flashback: Just when you thought the Utopian idealists (both liberal and conservative) had learned their lesson, here comes the so-called Concert of Democracies proposal, Ivo Daalder and Robert Kagan’s flaky bipartisan conviction that interventionism requires a ‘new legitimacy’ post-Iraq. (Various skeptical–if not outright contemptuous–responses here, here here and here).

Related: Kagan gets his imperialism on in undiluted form with a lengthy Policy Review essay, End Of Dreams, Return Of History, full of such profound observations as “[the war on terrorism] must be prosecuted ruthlessly, effectively, and for as long as the threat persists“. In other words, ‘surrender is not an option.’

After 5 long, bloody, costly, and counterproductive years these sick fucks really haven’t learned a goddamn thing.

Update 2 09.25: Not a goddamn thing:

“The seeds of this democratization are planted,” as Podhoretz describes Iraq. “The opposition to this process of democratization turned out to be much more ferocious than anybody anticipated, including me. So it took a while for our people to learn how to deal with it,” he continued.

The greatest proof that Podhoretz is right, he insisted, is the very intensity of attacks in Iraq.

“If the enemy of that process [of democratization] thought it was a failure, they wouldn’t be blowing themselves up to frustrate it or derail it,” he argued.

“They agree that this is not only happening, but that it is a danger to them. They agree with Bush. They agree with me,” Podhoretz chuckled.

“That’s why they are fighting so hard.”

Not a goddamn thing:

All the damaging consequences of all the blunders the President has committed to date in Iraq are reversible in 48- to 72-hours – the time it will take to destroy Iran’s fragile nuclear supply chain from the air. And since the job gets done using mostly stand-off weapons and stealth bombers, not one American soldier, sailor or airman need suffer as much as a bruised foot.

(h/t Lindsay Beyerstein)

Vonnegut again:

What has allowed so many [psychopathic personalities] to rise so high…is that they are so decisive. Unlike normal people, they are never filled with doubts, for the simple reason that they cannot care what happens next.

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