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What Irony

Mr. Bush frequently states, “Democracies are peaceful.”  This is hardly always true (there are many exceptions, including wars between democracies), but isn’t it interesting that when many of the democracies of Europe prove to be insufficiently warlike and fail to come up with the troops needed for the NATO mission in Afghanistan, thus possibly offering some proof for the central thesis of Mr. Bush’s Pax Democratica idea, they are savaged as traitors and weaklings who lack the mettle to fight like men?  The idea seems to be: democracies should be peaceful, but we don’t want anyone becoming a bunch of sissy pacifists!  Which reminds me, apropos of nothing, of a memorable exchange from The Big Lebowski:

The Dude: And, you know, he’s got emotional problems, man.

Walter: You mean, beyond pacifism?

Of course pacifism is a ridiculous position to take, but it is one that some nations–protected by our security guarantees–now believe they can take without real risk.  But berating Europeans for being too pacific, when such sublime pacificity is one of the supposed goals of the “freedom agenda,” is too much.  It makes about as much sense as drilling pacifism, war-guilt and the idea that aggression was the chief Nazi war crime into the Germans’ heads for 50 years and then being shocked (shocked!) when they opted out of a war of aggression (Iraq).  (Once again, I think if we had somehow made this into a war “against genocide”–regardless of the facts–many more of the Europeans would probably be rushing to help.) 

Seriously, if democracies are naturally inclined to pacific instincts, the Norwegians’ refusal to be deployed in combat zones should stand as a shining example of Mr. Bush’s ideals, should it not?  But then I am forgetting the global democratic revolution loophole–being peaceful is only desirable so long as you are not fighting to wipe fascism and tyranny from the face of the earth.

about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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