Albright Unplugged

, Bethany Stotts, Leave a comment

Madeleine Albright has provided much fuel for discussion following her Georgetown University appointment, be it for her defense of gay rights, opposing sanctions, or engaging in moral relativism. This correspondent recently unearthed another cause influenced by Albright’s leadership: a transnational program advocating a non-assimilationist approach to immigration worldwide.

Called “Diversity within Unity,” the transnational platform proposes a compromise between “unbounded multiculturalism” and “assimilation” citizenship strategies. The endorsers believe that “Assimilation—which entails requiring minorities to abandon all of their distinct institutions, cultures, values, habits, and connections to other societies in order to fully mesh into the prevailing culture—is sociologically difficult to achieve and unnecessary for dealing with the issues at hand, as we shall see.” The document continues, “It is morally unjustified because of our respect for some normative differences, such as to which gods we pray” (emphasis added).

A project of the Communitarian Network, DWU is hosted through the George Washington University (GWU) website. The Communitarian Network (CN) was founded in 1993 by Professor Amitai Etzioni, now the non-profit’s director. The author of Security First, Etzioni chose to create DWU after becoming “troubled by the increasing amount of animosity directed at immigrants and minorities in nations throughout the world,” states the website. Ironically, the project’s founder has since taken a 180-degree turn on the issue of human rights.

DWU claims to place democratic freedoms at the center of its values:

“Leading the universal category [of promoted values] are basic human rights, as defined by the country’s constitution, basic laws, the laws of regional communities such as the European Union and the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Thus no one can be legally bought and sold, detained without due process, refused the right to vote, and so on, by any member group of any society. Leading feminists are correctly opposed to several group variances because they fear that these would entail ‘losing whatever we gained in terms of gender equality.’”

Again, Etzioni writes,

“….what would be encompassed in a modified but unified core of shared substantive values? Commitment to a bill of rights, the democratic way of life, respect for basic laws (or, more broadly, a constitutional faith or civic religion), and mutual tolerance come (at least relatively) easily. So do the communitarian concepts that rights entail responsibilities, that working differences out is to be preferred to conflict, and that society is to be considered a community of communities (rather than merely a state that contains millions of individuals).”

Etzioni promotes a distinctly opposite strategy in his 2006 article, “The Global Importance of Illiberal Moderates.” In the article, Etzioni promotes the view that America should ally itself with those who oppose “the world of terror and, in effect, all other forms of violence.” He divides the world into “two camps—those who see violence as a major and legitimate tool, and those who view the use of force as abhorrent and instead rely largely on normative appeals.”

In other words, the world consists of pacifists and war-mongers. Such a policy could easily erase moral distinctions between Osama bin Laden and President George W. Bush.

“I hold that one should not assume, even by implication, that because a Muslim, or an adherent to any other belief system is a ‘true’ or ‘strong’ believer, does not profess faith in liberal values and does not favour democratic polities or many of the rights enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he or she must be therefore be an extremist, an advocate of violence,” writes Etzioni. “Millions of people across the world are moderates (those who believe that the use of force is justified under most conditions) without being liberals.”

Etzioni appeared before the Iraq Commission in 2007 to advocate for Plan Z, which would divide Iraq into three distinct, sectarian areas. “And the idea is a communitarian idea—to recognize that Iraq is not yet a nation but still largely a tribal society, composed of ethnic and confessional communities, which was artificially created in the 1920s by foreign powers,” he testified.

The Professor also believes that Iraq is doomed to become another Vietnam. He told the Commission that “Sadly, the much more likely course is the one which is all too well known which is going to lead to the Vietnamisation of Iraq…I was one of the sixty American intellectuals who wrote the Letter from Americans in support of the war against terrorism after 9/11, but I absolutely refused when the same group issued a letter to support the war in Iraq.”

He continues,

“And in a book I published early in 2004, called From Empire to Community, I wrote that it’s going to end up like Vietnam and I’ll stand by that statement.  It’s worse than Vietnam because this time there are going to be dominoes that fall.”

Bethany Stotts is a Staff Writer at Accuracy in Academia.