Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Regarding a Manichean Paranoia

Manichean: Dualistic, presenting or viewing things in a “black or white” fashion.

This weekend, while catching up on my Daily Show viewing, I saw an interview with President Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski. He was talking about his new book, “Second Chance: Three Presidents and the Crisis of American Superpower”.

The Following quote is regarding his view that President Bush is suffering from a Manichean paranoia.

“[It is] the notion that somehow or another, he is leading the forces of good against the empire of evil. The notion that somehow or the other in that setting the fact that we are morally superior justifies us committing immoral acts.

And that, I think, is a very dangerous posture for the country that is the number one global power, but which to lead effectively has to have the support, the trust [and] the confidence of other nations.

The fact is, he squandered our credibility, our legitimacy and even respect for our power. And that is a rather serious indictment.”

At first, I thought Dr Brzezinski had said Machiavellian, but that didn’t make sense. So, I rewound and listened to it again and there it was “Manichean”; not just black or white, right or wrong but dualistic, religious. It is viewpoint driven by a theological argument against all opponents; like the crusade.

Think about that. Zbigniew Brzezinski isn’t talking about an administration. No, he is talking about one man and his belief that the world is black or white, good or evil, for or against him. He is saying that this one man, the Commander in Chief of the most power and most deadly military force ever assembled, suffers under the delusion that anyone not with him must be against him. He is saying that this one man has squandered our rightful position in the world; divided our allies and united our enemies all in a failed attempt to fill a greater role in history then his abilities can deliver.

If these are not fighting words, I don’t know what are. It doesn’t matter if you agree or disagree with this assessment; what side of the fence you sit on. Either you are mad as hell because Dr Brzezinski is wrong or you are mad as hell because he is right. Either way, if you understand what he is saying, you’re going come out fighting.

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Take care...



Anonymous said...

Isn't your response to Brzezinski's comment Manichean?vrbts

John W. McKenna said...

That is an excellent observation; I love it when I get caught in my own web.

I suspect, to a greater-or-lesser degree we all suffer from a Manichean Paranoia. Now that's sounds like a good post.

I need to chew on this for a while. What do the rest of you think?


Anonymous said...

Didn't someone once say that the best person to lead is the one who is most qualified but least wants the job?
This job particularly. . .Hey Al!