Taken to extremes, realism's blindness to morality can lead it wildly astray. Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, both staunch realists, wrote "The Israel Lobby," a hyperbolic attack on Zionist political influence. The central error of their thesis was that, since America's alliance with Israel does not advance American interests, it could be explained only by sinister lobbying influence. They seemed unable to grasp even the possibility that Americans, rightly or wrongly, have an affinity for a fellow democracy surrounded by hostile dictatorships. Consider, perhaps, if eunuchs tried to explain the way teenage boys act around girls.The realist school has been a disaster for Taiwan over the years, with Kissinger being the prime example, selling out Taiwan over Vietnam and then going on to operate a business in China. Its primary ideal is that countries do not have ideals, but interests, and its primary mode of operation is betrayal.
Freeman praised "The Israel Lobby" while indulging in its characteristic paranoia. "No one else in the United States has dared to publish this article," he told a Saudi news service in 2006, "given the political penalties that the lobby imposes on those who criticize it." In fact, the article was printed as a book the next year by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in New York.
The most extreme manifestation of Freeman's realist ideology came out in a leaked e-mail he sent to a foreign policy Internet mailing list. Freeman wrote that his only problem with what most of us call "the Tiananmen Square Massacre" was an excess of restraint:
"[T]he truly unforgivable mistake of the Chinese authorities was the failure to intervene on a timely basis to nip the demonstrations in the bud, rather than -- as would have been both wise and efficacious -- to intervene with force when all other measures had failed to restore domestic tranquility to Beijing and other major urban centers in China. In this optic, the Politburo's response to the mob scene at 'Tian'anmen' stands as a monument to overly cautious behavior on the part of the leadership, not as an example of rash action. . . .
"I do not believe it is acceptable for any country to allow the heart of its national capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government, however appealing to foreigners their propaganda may be. Such folk, whether they represent a veterans' 'Bonus Army' or a 'student uprising' on behalf of 'the goddess of democracy' should expect to be displaced with despatch [sic] from the ground they occupy."
This is the portrait of a mind so deep in the grip of realist ideology that it follows the premises straight through to their reductio ad absurdum. Maybe you suppose the National Intelligence Council job is so technocratic that Freeman's rigid ideology won't have any serious consequences. But think back to the neocon ideologues whom Bush appointed to such positions. That didn't work out very well, did it?
Word has it that Freeman is the pick of Admiral Blair, Obama's intelligence director.....
UPDATE: Investor's Business Daily rips the appointment:
National Security: Imagine one of China's and Saudi Arabia's mouthpieces in America writing intelligence reports for the White House. Meet Chas Freeman, who will soon fill all three roles.[Taiwan]
Freeman does business with the bin Laden family in Saudi Arabia, and in the weeks after 9/11 he didn't even consider halting his dealings with them. Through his firm, Projects International Inc., he continued discussing proposals with the bin Ladens, who also contribute heavily to the Middle East Policy Council.
Freeman also co-chairs the U.S. China Policy Foundation, part of the pro-China lobby. His son works for the China Alliance, which advises clients on China trade.
The elder Freeman, who once worked at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, apologized for the communist regime's bloody crackdown on young Tiananmen demonstrators. If anything, it was "overly cautious," he said, ignoring how the Beijing butchers turned the pro-democracy students into human paste with their tanks.
"I do not believe it is acceptable for any country to allow the heart of its capital to be occupied by dissidents intent on disrupting the normal functions of government," he added.
Never mind if "normal" means communist police state.
Freeman also would let Beijing annex democratic Taiwan. "My own view is that reunification would be very beneficial for all concerned," he told China's official state organ, the People's Daily. "It would remove the only potential cause of conflict between the U.S. and China."
That's his new boss's attitude, too. Blair once called Taiwan the "turd in the punch bowl" of U.S.-China relations.
"China's proposal for reunification would leave Taiwan's armed forces intact and continue to make them, rather than the People's Liberation Army, primarily responsible for Taiwan's defense," Freeman said. "The PLA would not garrison Taiwan.
"As I understand it," he added, "the Chinese proposal would allow Taiwan to continue to choose its own leaders through elections, and would not assign any government personnel to the island from the mainland. Taiwan's newly democratized political system would not be affected by reunification."
The Politburo could not have said it better. Truth is, the PLA has a stated goal of military and political hegemony in Asia. It's called the "Island Chain Strategy." Perhaps Freeman should read it.