The Corner

Eugene Robinson’s Doctrine

In today’s Washington Post, syndicated columnist Eugene Robinson calls for a withdrawal from Iraq.  “In a sectarian civil war, the last place you want to stand is in the middle,” he says.  Robinson parallels James Baker’s counsel from more than a decade past that we “had no bone” in the Bosnia fight.  Eugene, should we have stood aside as hundreds of thousands more perished?  By the same logic, should U.S. forces leave Kosovo?  While not a U.S. action, would you extend your logic to support Kofi Annan’s decision not to stop the Rwandan genocide at its very start?  If the Taliban seek to amplify Pushtun rhetoric when they fight against the multi-ethnic, multi-sectarian Afghan government, should we withdrawal from Afghanistan?  Many progressives have made a cause out of stopping ethnic cleansing in Darfur.  I support their calls.  Foreign policy should be about both national security and principle, not about partisanship.  But, by your logic, Eugene, should we tell the Darfuris to get bent?  The Democrats were once the party that supported human rights and spoke out against ethnic cleansing.  Increasingly, factions within risk making them the party not only that sacrifice U.S. national security upon the altar of Bush hatred, but also the party that symbolizes callousness toward human rights.

Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East Quarterly.