Saturday, July 29, 2006

A New Realism

Quote of the day comes from New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, a former U.N. ambassador, calling for a "new realism" in U.S. foreign policy:

"What the Bush administration has failed to understand is that while diplomacy without power is weak, power without diplomacy is blind,"
Richardson, in a Democrat weekly radio address which will bolster his run for '08, also called for " a man-on-the-moon effort to reduce our dependency on foreign oil" and immigration legislation that offers "a path to legalization for the 11 million immigrants already here."

I think Charlie Stross' insight - that the underlying framework for much of the modern political landscape is that of high-fantasy rpg's - may well have some relevance here. The neoconservative Militant Right have done their best to demonize every possible threat - and particularly Islam - to the point where they inappropriately react as if they were playing a badly run Dungeons and Dragons game of the "Monty Haul" type. The famous "you're either with us or against us" hyped up to an epic-fantasy level where 'good' and 'evil' clash as two civilisations.

Islamophobic neoconservatism is, at its heart, an attempt to write off an entire segment of humanity as "orcs". And who ever heard of negotiating with orcs?

When Richardson calls for a "new realism" what he really wants is a return to reality - with all its many variations and nuances - instead of letting simplistic Lord of the Rings stories drive foreign policy.