What Will They Think?

by | Apr 23, 2003

The discussion of how we set up a new government in Iraq has been dominated, as has so much during this war, with the question: what will THEY think? “We can’t let it look like the new government is our puppet,” say the commentators. Why not? It should be our puppet. It should be a […]

The discussion of how we set up a new government in Iraq has been dominated, as has so much during this war, with the question: what will THEY think?

“We can’t let it look like the new government is our puppet,” say the commentators. Why not? It should be our puppet. It should be a government that is what we want it to be. And that means two things: first, and primarily, that it be a peaceful ally of the United States, rather than a threatening enemy. Second, that it protect the rights of its own citizens, as demanded by morality and in order to further our aims in the mideast: to serve as an inspiration and model for any other freedom-seekers in the region (notably the Iranian dissidents).

We can’t let it look like our puppet? Look like to whom? To the other despots? To the irrational, barabaric “Arab street”? To France? To Russia?

Why are we obsessed with what Others think? Why aren’t we strictly concerned with what’s right? If others look at what’s right and call it “imperialism,” too bad for them. Such an evaluation could only be dishonest. Do we have to court the favor of the dishonest, the America-hating?

We are seeing now the same amoral mentality that Nixon displayed on the Watergate tapes. In the hundreds of pages of transcripts of those tapes, Nixon mentions what’s “wrong” only in one sentence (that I could find anyway). All the rest is about how things will “play” in the minds of others. In the present situation, all sides, left, right, and any other direction, are thinking just as amorally. . . .

The right thing for us to do is something we are not philosophically equipped to do: set up a post-war Iraqi government that totally respects individual rights, with its corollary: a foreign policy of non-aggression, of self-defense. General MacArthur did almost that in post-war Japan, and it succeeded brilliantly. But that was in a better philosophical climate.

The least we could do is stop the craven, second-hand concern with the reaction and name-calling of people whom we know to be evil.

Dr. Binswanger, a longtime associate of Ayn Rand, is an professor of philosophy at the Objectivist Academic Center of the Ayn Rand Institute. He is the author of How We Know: Epistemology on an Objectivist Foundation and is the creator of The Ayn Rand Lexicon: Objectivism from A to Z. Dr. Binswanger blogs at HBLetter.com (HBL)--an email list for Objectivists for discussing philosophic and cultural issues. A free trial is available at: HBLetter.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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