Global Test

James Lileks has pounced on Kerry’s “global test” statement in the first debate.

Yes, it is getting old as seemingly the only weak Kerry remark the freakishly Orwellian Bush campaign machine has found to target. Nonetheless, it was a foolish verbal simplification, and Lileks calls him on it: China’s occupation of Tibet, the Taliban’s oppression of Afghanistan [and I’ll add: the Israeli treatment of Palestinians] have been implicitly approved of by global groupthink. Even taken to planetary levels, majority support is not a trustworthy indicator of morality or pragmatism.

There is a more optimistic interpretation, though, that I hope is closer to Kerry’s intent. We do not act in a vacuum. If we called for freedom for Tibet, would our allies openly object? When we chose to unseat the Taliban, where were the public protests throughout the world? Perhaps the vehement objections of so many people to our invasion of Iraq should have, at least, been cause for some reflection. When you act globally, you needn’t require global approval. Global disdain, though, calls for some restraint and public discussion.

I posted this in October 2004 during week 1596.

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