New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


Looking for Mr. Goodwar?

April 06, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Politics, Randall Amster

Consider a ‘Truth Surge’ Instead

by Randall Amster

It has been equal parts bemusing and bedeviling to watch as many liberals and moderates get on board with the latest episode of U.S. military adventurism. Equally fascinating has been the ostensible conservative response firmly opposing U.S. actions in Libya, since in a not-too-far bygone administration this faction never met a war they didn’t like. These fickle vicissitudes of partisan politics point to a singularly troubling principle underlying our collective moral compass when it comes to foreign policy — namely that we lack such a compass, and thus principle is subsumed by expediency.

Has it always been so? “There never was a good war, or a bad peace,” Benjamin Franklin once said. Most might agree with the latter, but the former is a more challenging proposition. (more…)

Libya: Acid Test for Nonviolence?

March 28, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Michael N. Nagler, Politics

Practicing Peace Before Wars Break Out

by Michael N. Nagler

The nonviolent revolution in Egypt has spread across the Mideast, but unfortunately in many other countries, particularly Libya, “revolution” was picked up without “nonviolent.” I have been asked whether there is anything that nonviolence could nonetheless do in the face of the bloodbath that is going on before our eyes in that country. There is, but I would like to consider not one but two questions: what can we do now (which is very little), and what could we be doing if we lived in a more nonviolence-aware world. As we will see, the two questions fold together at one point.

Libya’s convulsion once again caught the “international community” (it’s more like an international schoolyard) flat-footed. Open warfare broke out very quickly, and the scale and stage of the violence are extreme. Yet there is still a way to respond that, while extremely difficult to pull off, could be called nonviolent. (more…)

Libya’s Silver Lining

March 28, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Current Events, Matt Meyer, Politics

Challenges and Lessons for Western Peace Activists

by Matt Meyer

In a week of bombing and bloodshed, I have been amazed and saddened at the amount of confusion, arrogance, and paternalism from supposedly progressive people of the so-called global north. Perhaps I should not be so surprised: the US “left” is an under-developed country, and we would all do well to take some serious lessons — in democracy, nonviolence, and revolution — from our counterparts in the southern hemisphere. Perhaps the silver lining is to learn from the lessons of Libya:

On Revolution and Nonviolence

The good news, of course, is that these two concepts, so often pitted against one another as opposites — the false dichotomy of our era — have, in 2011, been rehabilitated. (more…)