Wednesday, August 27, 2014

on ISIS, etc.

I have a friend who imagines that I think ISIS is unimportant since I haven't posted on it. One problem with this standard ("post" = "you care"; "don't post" = "don't care") is that it is incoherent (not applied consistently) and/or insipid (one should comment, even in areas where one does not have expertise or value-added).

So, for the record, if anyone else cares: I believe that ISIS is engaged in evil activity. Also, for the record, I think that killing puppies for fun is evil.

I don't have anything (useful) to say on the former, since I have not invested much in an area that is quite complicated. And I'm not going to rely on a fallacy of authority to say stuff where I don't have expertise-- as, say, Paul Krugman on health care.

I suppose I could repeat some general principles if that would help. Our government has few attractive options-- even if it has the political will to pull the relevant triggers. As we've seen over the past 50 years, government is rarely competent in foreign policy, even with the best of intentions. (See also: domestic economic and social policy.) All of this calls for long-run thinking that looks at both obvious and subtle consequences-- and humility about our supposed powers to manage the world through force. But one rarely sees this among politicians and the partisans who enable them.


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