“The Ememy of my Enemy is my Friend”
As a liberal I have a problem with that old saying, “the enemy of my enemy is my Friend”: on so many levels it makes my bleeding heart uncomfortable. First of all, who is this enemy of my enemy? Do they do harm to others? How brutal is this enemy of my enemy to my enemy? Does he kill them all without mercy?
Consider when the USSR was our enemy and we allied ourselves with the Mujaheddin in Afghanistan. They are not my friends, even if they are fighting my enemy. If they throw acid in the faces of school girls or put them in a burkah, they are not my fiends. Were the people of Egypt somehow our enemies; due to the fact that their enemy ( Hosni Mubarak) was our friend for 30 years? There are consequences when we align ourselves with heartless, brutal dictators for so many years; blow-back. Conservatives see “blow back” as the price of doing business and something to be managed: which assumes if one could avoid blow-back, the policies would continue without reflection or pause.
As a rule, American foreign policy has bought into this idea (“the enemy of my enemy is my friend”): this was (and is now) the way we engage most of the developing world. We rarely encountered a despot with whom we could not work. Saddam Hussein was the enemy of our enemy (Iran). Most of the time we over looked the fact that Sadam was a monster. The enemy of my enemy is not my friend if he gases his own people!
As liberals can we allow ourselves the luxury of buying into childish arguments that “the ends justify the means”? The same idea should apply to domestic politics. If at some point I decide that America’s first and only Black president is my enemy ( I am not there yet) it would not make his enemies (white supremacist, Teaparty, neo-cons..) my friends. At this point Obama has lost my vote due to his own actions (or lack of); but this liberal cannot allow himself to vote for someone he vehemently disagrees with (Trump, Huckabee, Paul) just because they are Obama’s enemies. I am going to “throw my vote away” and vote Green. Funny thing, years ago if enough of we liberals had voted with our hearts and not allowed the Democrats to talk us into settling for the lesser evil (“half a loaf is better than none”) we might have been a political force of some consequence by now.