“Genuine tragedies in the world are not conflicts between right and wrong,” Hegel wrote. “They are conflicts between two rights.” In the last few days I have been somehow compelled to meditate on how the rush of events in our world reflect this kind of tragic destiny which perhaps only Hegel, the last genuine philosopher of history, seemed to have comprehended.
Last night in his second national address on the global response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria, President Obama asserted: “If we fail to act, the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. . . . As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas and using them.”