02/04/2006

Thousands of errors

The US Secretary of State's recent Chatham House Lecture is quite remarkable for several reasons. For starters, although Ms. Rice puts on her academic hat, she makes some rather surprising assertions. Boldly going back in history to the age of Enlightenment, where no member of the Bush administration has been before, she discovers the UK and the US to be very "similar" countries. Secondly, she talks about liberal democracies and liberalism with a capital 'L', referring not to the Democratic Party, but rather to classical liberalism as it is still widely referred to in Europe. By this, I am very pleasantly surprised! But then, she goes on to spoil the favourable impression by revealing some of her understanding of aforementioned democracies, quoting Thomas Leviathan Hobbes as an eminent theoretician of liberalism. Yikes!

Last, but not least, she admits to having made thousands of tactical errors in Iraq, while brazenly maintaining of course that the strategic decision will, in retrospect, be validated. Be that as it may - I am afraid that there remains an indisputable nexus between the strategic and the tactical level to the extend that tactical errors, committed in their thousands, will put even the best of strategies at risk. Summing up, I would have expected a less dilettantic address from this particular Secretary of State.

3 comments:

Smaran said...

ofcourse you mean "off course"? So that's where Hobbes gets his name from! She's such a slick lady - always ducking, jumping and dodging, if you get my drift... it's real nice to see liberalism disambiguated once in a while, those chaps on Newsvine with their online american civil wars really get me down.

Expat Traveler said...

It was commented here that she didn't exactly mean what she said with the tatical part of that speech. She meant more that they should have done things differently...

Chris said...

That's what is generally meant by "tactical errors" - admitting to having made thousands of them is of course well beyond anybody's comfort zone, so ...

Unfortunately the concept of liberalism isn't ambiguous any more these days. At least in the English language, it seems to refer to left wing values exclusively, which is far from what classical liberalism stands for.