National Savings and Social Security
Robert Waldmann's Thoughts on Social Security and National Saving

Matthew Yglesias Protests That He Is Not a "Realist"

Matthew Yglesias attempts to unconfuse Oxblog:

Matthew Yglesias: What Realist Where?: David Adesnik is but the latest in a long string of hawks to slam me for my belief that promoting democracy in Lebanon doesn't have much to do with American interests. Allegedly this makes me 'stuck in some sort of Kissingerian realist mode.' But no! Suppose I believed that promoting democracy in Lebanon didn't have much to do with American interests and therfore we shouldn't do it. That, I think, would be a Kissingerian line. Alternatively, suppose I believed that promoting democracy in Lebanon would be great for American interests and therefore we should do it. That would be consistent with Kissingerism (or whatever), along with all kinds of other views.

Now what I've been saying about Lebanon, however, is that since the means the Bush administration has been using to promote democracy in Lebanon are of very little cost to the United States, they're well-worth using even though it doesn't have much to do with American interests. That's closer to the reverse of a Kissinger-style view. Since the rest of the post is about 75 percent tired slurs and cheap, ill-informed psychoanalysis of myself and others, I won't try to rebut the rest... but I've seen this confusion about a billion times, I thought I would clear it up.

I have other worries, which are neither realist nor non-realist but more reality-based: What are we doing in Lebanon? Is expelling the Syrians from Lebanon best understood as promoting Lebanese democracy or as setting the stage for the accession to power of Hezbollah? I would really like somebody who knows something about Lebanon to tell me which it is.