I have mentioned Angelo Codevilla several times before on this blog. He remains in my mind one of the few political analysts out there who "get it," despite not being an Objectivist. I may disagree with him on some things (such as his minimization of the threat from Iran) but for broad principles of strategy few can match him. His latest essay in the Claremont Review is no exception. Here is one of my favorite parts:
What follows from the foreign policy establishment's apolitical division of mankind into "moderates" and "extremists" is an art of politics, if that's the right term, that prevents considering what anyone is, or should be, moderate or extreme about. It abstracts from right and wrong, honor and shame. It leads to moderation in pursuit of America's interests. Then, in the hope of avoiding worse threats to our modest interests, it leads to finding moderation in those who threaten us. It becomes the promotion of "moderation" for its own sake, and then boils down to coaxing "extremists" into "moderation" by involving them in profitable and (supposedly) addictive arrangements. Our establishmentarians imagine they can moderate our enemies by promising them that they can get most of what they want through cooperation; and tell the American people that if we were to forcefully oppose our enemies, that would only radicalize them further.Read the whole thing -- it's well worth it and will challenge your thinking on the current conflict.
During the Cold War, this logic led from Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman's support of the "moderate" Stalin against the phantom "extremist anti-party group" to Henry Kissinger's dètente with the Soviet Union; from President George H.W. Bush's efforts to keep Mikhail Gorbachev's "moderate" Soviet Union alive to his successors' efforts to appease the neo-Soviet Vladimir Putin by limiting U.S. missile defenses to tokens. By this logic, the more anyone threatens, the greater the incentive to treat him as a "moderate," lest he threaten us more. In our time this has been the basis of the bloody "peace processes" that the U.S. has foisted on so much of the world.