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Can One Be Informed on Foreign Policy Without Understanding Left and Right?

Posted on October 19 2009 1:13 pm
David Swindle is the Managing Editor of NewsReal Blog and the Associate Editor of FrontPage Magazine. Follow him on Twitter here
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Perhaps to my new debating partner this is just a red flag, nothing more.

Perhaps to my new debating partner this is just a red flag, nothing more.

I’ve been embroiled in a foreign policy discussion with a commenter named Jeremy in the thread on my final Crackpot Conspiracist piece. (This is my second back and forth with Jeremy. The first was on my Ron Paul/Glenn Beck piece here.)

We’ve mainly been talking past one another and now it’s clear why.

In the most recent turn of our dialogue Jeremy has revealed this:

2009 October 19
Jeremy permalink


// David,

I really don’t understand your leftist comments. How does one become a “leftist”? Is it hardcore support from the Democratic party or something like that? I seriously don’t understand the label. Left and right doesn’t compute for me… it’s all the same below the surface of rhetoric that’s spewed everyday. I guess that’s a whole other discussion… just a side note.

Yes, clearly I believe that our foreign policy as a whole is inherently evil. I would make this argument regardless of what party is / was in office going back several decades, and in some cases almost a century.

Our current discussion of support for the Mujahadeen is an example of why I think our policies are “evil”. I clearly showed that we didn’t need to fund terrorists to hold back the Soviet Union, and in fact the interview that I sourced openly says it was the funding of the terrorists that brought the Soviets into Afghanistan in the first place. We pushed and poked the Soviets from right across their border with terrorists that we funded until there was an invasion, and then the media jumped all over Russia’s actions because they were misinformed about U.S. actions (at least most of the media was). I find supporting terrorists to be evil regardless of whether or not the Soviets were perceived to be a bigger evil of the time, hence an evil policy.

Is there a particular area of our foreign policy, current or past, that you would like to focus on next?

Jeremy wanted to make this observation of his ignorance of the Left as “just a side note,” but as those familiar with my writings and life history would probably guess, I preferred to give it a whole page. This was really the root of our disagreements about foreign policy:

2009 October 19

“The Left” refers to a political movement which really began with the French Revolution and evolved from there over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries on into the 21st century.

If you don’t understand the Left then I strongly suggest you get acquainted with it because understanding, critiquing, and fighting the Left are some of the main activities of the Freedom Center (and therefore one of the main activities of NewsReal.)

David Horowitz, the Freedom Center’s founder and president, was one of the founders of the New Left in the ’60s. He’s not a leftist anymore obviously (read his memoir Radical Son.) As a result many of us working or writing for the Freedom Center have similar backgrounds to him in that we’re often ex-leftists.

Many of the arguments and ideas you articulate have their origins in leftist thinkers. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re all wrong, bad, or can be automatically dismissed. (To do so would be an ad hominem logical fallacy.) It’s just a fact that’s worth being kept in mind because a failure to grasp the roles the Left and the Right have played over the course of history can make one a bit confused in interpreting historical events.

If you don’t understand Left and Right — and I do — then any discussions we’d have about foreign policy would be like two people talking in different languages.

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