Custom Search

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Fact versus Opinion-- Which do you prefer?

You can usually tell a decent article, one based in reality, when the left wing pundits and the left blogosphere lose what little minds they have over it. Today
Wapo wrote such a piece.

On one hand, the writer of the Wapo piece, Robert D. Kaplan, is a national correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly and a visiting professor at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Mr. Kaplan was also witness to a brainstorming session, where members of policy research groups often dispense advice to administration officials, journalists do not typically attend secret meetings or help compile government reports. Via NYT.

Mr. Kaplan makes this point:

Hard-core foreign policy realists (the kind who say this country should rarely intervene again, anywhere) are hoping that in the wake of our comeuppance in Iraq things will be going their way. That is to say, U.S. foreign policy will be defined by an obdurate caution, coupled with a ruthless, almost mathematical application of balance-of-power principles. You'd think -- to hear some of them talk -- that we're about to emulate China, which seeks only energy sources and advantageous trade agreements and cares nothing at all for the moral improvement of regimes in such places as Zimbabwe, Burma and Uzbekistan.

This is nonsense. Our foreign policy is about to experience an adjustment, not a flip-flop. Neither political party will support anything else if it really wants to elect a president in 2008. Just look at the dismay in this country over our failure to intervene in Darfur, even given the burden we already carry in Iraq. To be sure, the recent evidence that our democratic system cannot be violently exported will temper our Wilsonian principles, but it will not bury them. Pure realism -- without a hint of optimism or idealism -- would immobilize our mass immigrant democracy, which has always seen itself as an agent of change.


The debacle in Iraq has reinforced the realist dictum, disparaged by idealists in the 1990s, that the legacies of geography, history and culture really do set limits on what can be accomplished in any given place. But the experience in the Balkans reinforced an idealist dictum that is equally true: One should always work near the limits of what is possible rather than cynically give up on any place. In this decade idealists went too far; in the previous one, it was realists who did not go far enough.

Iraq has relegitimized realism, which is a good thing. But without an idealistic component to our foreign policy, there would be nothing to distinguish us from our competitors. And that, in and of itself, would lead to the decline of American power.

Now, on the other hand, an example of a left wing blogger, who was a litigator in NYC specializing in First Amendment challenges, civil rights cases, and corporate and securities fraud matters. He the author of the New York Times Best-Selling book.

So, I gather because he managed to become a litigator and can write fictional books, this makes him think he has more knowledge of the inner workings of the military and our foreign policy.

In fact this comment alone filled with assumptions he has no way of proving and opinions he has no facts to back up:

It is obviously an extremely odd situation for a "reporter" to participate with government officials in the preparation of such a report, but Kaplan told his Atlantic Monthly editors in advance and "was given approval to attend because 'everybody was in a patriotic fervor.'" None of that has impeded Kaplan's career or journalistic credibility any.

First, considering these meetings ARE private and there ARE confidentiality agreements signed... exactly how the hell does this blogger know what the facts are or how many meetings have indeed included journalists?

Considering the credentials of the two, Kaplan and Greenwald, where one is not only a journalist but also a visiting professor at the US Naval Academy and the other a litigator and a "fiction" writer who truly doesn't have to deal with facts, but can speculate, and from reading his blog, he does quite a bit of the latter, so considering the two, in comparison, I find it quite amusing that the blogger thinks he has a better understanding of our foreign policy.

Once again, this points to something I have mentioned many times before, that is the left cannot stand to be presented with facts because they cannot stand to hear facts that do not back up their opinion...even when their opinions are based in fantasy. So here are a few more of those nasty little things called facts.

Robert D. Kaplan also traveled to Iraq to cover the Iran-Iraq War. He first worked as a freelance foreign correspondent reporting on Eastern Europe and the Middle East, but slowly expanded his coverage to all regions ignored in the popular press. His first book, Surrender or Starve: The Wars Behind The Famine (1988) contended the famine in Ethiopia in the 1980s was more complex than just drought and Cold War US foreign policy, pointing the blame instead to the collectivization carried out by the Mengistu regime.

Kaplan then went to Afghanistan to write about the guerrilla war against the Soviet Union for Reader's Digest. Two years after writing Surrender or Starve, he wrote and published Soldiers of God: With the Mujahidin in Afghanistan (1990) in which he recounted his experiences during the Soviet-Afghan War.

In addition to his journalism, Kaplan has been a consultant to the U.S. Army's Special Forces Regiment, the United States Marines, and the United States Air Force. He has lectured at military war colleges, the FBI, the National Security Agency, the Pentagon's Joint Chiefs of Staff, major universities, the CIA, and business forums, and has appeared on PBS, NPR, C-Span, and Fox News. He is a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. He is the recipient of the 2001 Greenway-Winship Award for Excellence in international reporting. In 2002, he was awarded the United States State Department Distinguished Public Service Award. He is currently the Class of 1960 Distinguished Visiting Professor in National Security at the United States Naval Academy, Annapolis.

All in all, it seems from the facts, that Kaplan is far better equipped to speak on matters of foreign policy than Greenwald could ever hope to be.

Kaplans piece can be found here.