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Jewish World Review
August 20, 2008
/ 19 Menachem-Av 5768
Silence over Georgia attacks is a show of moral relativism
The eminent French political scientist Jean-François Revel, who died two years ago at the age of 82, was doubly blessed. He lived long enough to see the death of the Soviet Union the last great homicidal regime of the 20th Century but didn't have to see the West shrink before the KGB kleptocracy that grew like a black fungus over its remains.
In his seminal book "How Democracies Perish," Revel wrote, "Democratic civilization is the first in history to blame itself because another power is working to destroy it." He was describing the way citizens of Western nations condemned their own societies, their own governments, their own leaders for the hostile and sometimes genocidal acts of communist regimes during the Cold War.
When the Khmer Rouge, for instance, slaughtered more than one million people in pursuit of a communist utopia in Cambodia, quislings like Noam Chomsky who retains a cult-like status in left-wing intellectual circles and on university campuses first denied clear evidence of genocide, then placed blame for the atrocities not on Pol Pot and his murderous comrades, but instead on the United States.
"In addition to its external enemy," Revel wrote, "democracy faces an internal enemy whose right to exist is written into law itself. Totalitarianism liquidates its internal enemies or smashes opposition as soon as it arises."
I mention Revel's commentary and the pathetic antics of Chomsky a generation ago by way of asking the question: Where are the protestors today? You know, the ones who only a few years ago were marching against unilateral war and regime change. The ones pleading to give peace and the United Nations a chance in Iraq. The ones demanding, "No blood for oil."
Where are they now as Georgia smolders?
To begin with, any sort of comparison between Saddam Hussein's Iraq and Georgia is obscene. Iraq under the rule of the Hussein family was a mafia crime scene at a national level. Georgia is democratic, not only in the sense that its government derives legitimacy from a relatively free and competitive election, but also in the sense that it is evolving the institutions of a free society.
For those with short attention spans, the government of Mikheil Saakashvili hasn't used chemical weapons on its own people or its neighbors, hasn't slaughtered hundreds of thousands of ethnic and religious minorities in genocidal campaigns, hasn't attempted to conquer or destroy neighboring countries, doesn't provide financial and military support to international terrorists and doesn't throw those suspected of disloyalty into human meatgrinders.
In further regard to this sickening moral relativism, the Russian government of Vladimir Putin did not, as three U.S. administrations did, endure the defiance of 17 U.N. Security Council resolutions over 12 years, the final one Resolution 1441 in 2002 unanimously providing the United States and its allies with the mandate to use military power.
Yet now, where are those thousands who took to the streets and signed petitions in the United States, Canada and Europe to protect the monstrous Baath syndicate against this mandate? Where are MoveOn and ANSWER? Where are all those professors and students, actors and artists?Silent or worse, engaging in the same kind of intellectually dishonest, morally vacuous games that Chomsky did 30 years ago.
Here is a truly unilateral war that really is largely for oil for the Kremlin to control or destroy the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline, Europe's only major source of Central Asian oil and gas that does not go through Russia. And Russian leaders cite NATO's bombing campaign against Serbia in 1999, not Iraq in 2003, as the precedent for attacking Georgia.
Nevertheless, the usual suspects allege the United States lacks the moral standing to criticize Russia's actions in Georgia because of Iraq. And, as always, the people inclined to blame America first and only demonstrate they lack the critical faculties to make such moral judgments.
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JWR contributor Jonathan Gurwitz, a columnist for the San Antonio Express-News, is a co-founder and twice served as Director General of the Future Leaders of the Alliance program at NATO Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. In 1986 he was placed on the Foreign Service Register of the U.S. State Department.
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