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I finally watched the movie last night. In some ways it was better than I expected. In most ways it was much, much worse. This is what (Hollywood) liberal foreign policy has come to? The movie is almost paleoconservative, though that’s probably unfair to some paleos since many of them are in fact idealists of a sort. The film seems to marry the gauzy romanticism of paleoconservatism with the snooty arrogance of realism (an affectation liberals have taken on in recent years) so that the gist of the film is that only family matters, don’t worry about the world because you can’t change it, come home and attend to your children, even idealists are corrupt or fools or both, and heroes are men who say the world is too complicated to be engaged save on an ad hoc basis. If Syriana even remotely reflects Clooney’s own view of the world, why is he even bothering to harrangue the US government to save Darfur? Clearly, such idealism and humanity is beyond our government’s abilities.

Update: From a reader:

Jonah, This isn’t really what liberal foreign policy has come to. What liberal foreign policy has come to is to be a weapon to attack Republicans, conservatives, and George Walker Bush with, in ascending order of severity. In brief, the purpose of liberal foreign policy is to make W look bad. Which is even worse than what you described as Clooney’s Triumph of the Paleos.

Update II: From a reader:

And don’t forget, Milton Friedman favored corruption. Says so right in the film, so it must be true. 


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