If only we could be friends with our enemies they could then be friends with us. If we think they’re bad guys, what difference does it make? They think we’re bad guys too. Let’s just call the whole thing off, shake hands and come to a mutual understanding.
This is our foreign policy now. Bad guys shmad guys. Who are we to judge? That would make us “judgemental”. We do bad thing too, you know, with the growing inequality, polluting, racism, sexism, homo/Islamo/phobia with all the bullying that comes with it. What makes us superior?
Hillary Clinton summed it up best in a speech in Georgetown University recently when she said:
This is what we call Smart Power, using every possible tool…leaving no one on the sidelines, showing respect even for one’s enemies, trying to understand, and insofar as is psychologically possible, empathize with their perspective and point of view, helping to define the problems [and] determine a solution, that is what we believe in the 21st century will change the prospect for peace…
Like smart phones and smart cars. Smart Power. Let’s be smart about it. Let’s understand more, judge less, and we’ll all be better off. Hillary, and those like her, see little in this country to be proud of given it’s history and inequalities. This bunch hears the grips of our enemies and considers that maybe they have a point. Aren’t we greedy, imperialistic? Don’t we go to war “over lies” and while we’re at it commit “war crimes”, torture and the like?
So let’s attempt to empathize with the viewpoint of Iran where on Christmas morning they executed seven people the old fashion way by hanging them at the brink of dawn. Maybe the executed were trying to rob a train on horses, or steal cattle? We could understand that given our past. We used to employ capital punishment for the same reason, so maybe that’s close enough. Don’t judge or hate. Empathize. Understand, and you know what, show some respect. They want to destroy Isreal, as in, “off the face of the map”. But, those settlements in Jeruselum, awful. See. This Smart Power thing, there’s something to it.
Or in the aftermath of Benghazi where empathy and understanding were in full force, The New York Times wrote:
What is clear is that even as the State Department responded to the June attacks, crowning the Benghazi compound walls with concertina wire and setting up concrete barriers to thwart car bombs, it remained committed to a security strategy formulated in a very different environment a year earlier.
In the heady early days after the fall of Colonel Qaddafi’s government, the administration’s plan was to deploy a modest American security force and then increasingly rely on trained Libyan personnel to protect American diplomats — a policy that reflected White House apprehensions about putting combat troops on the ground as well as Libyan sensitivities about an obtrusive American security presence.
If the choice is protecting our staff or the sensitivities of Libyans, sensitivity wins the day. The Times went on to say:
In the following months, the State Department proceeded with this plan. In one instance, State Department security officials replaced the American military team in Tripoli with trained Libyan bodyguards, while it also maintained the number of State Department security personnel members at the Benghazi compound around the minimum recommended level.
We offended no one but lost four Americans in an ensuring attack on the compound. And why did they attack us in the first place? According to the administration is was because the attackers were “offended” by a video, which wasn’t true but it fit the administration-and Hillary’s world view-of understanding ones enemies.
Don’t offend them with American might and when attacked understand why they were offended just the same. This is how empathy works. It’s part of the understanding process. Understand your enemies. Hey, they have feelings too you know.