Since letting citizens participate freely in the political process can be messy and may lead instability, according to Brennan, “too much freedom is possible and in the end, even detrimental to the cause of democracy.” Even “[then-Egyptian President Anwar] Sadat’s undemocratic methods, therefore, may aim at the ultimate preservation of democracy rather than its demise.” If after all this you are still wondering where he stands on human rights violations, he answers,“Can human rights violations in Egypt be justified from a democratic perspective?”Chilling, but not unexpected, and the best summation of the principals of geopolitics that there is. The paramount goal of the state is self preservation, it doesn't matter whether it is a democracy, republic, monarchy, socialist, or otherwise. The state must preserve itself, and secondary to that, must seek as advantageous position in the world as possible given their resources. This is why wars are fought with other nations, because whether it is for influence, resources, or space for it's people it is in order to try and satisfy one of those two imperatives, whether it actually does so is another matter entirely.
His answer, “If the preservation of political order and stability is [the] justification for various human rights violations.” He does qualify this in saying that it may have been simply to preserve Sadat’s rule, but he leaves it open to the reader to interpret. Even so, this makes human rights simply a matter of interpretation and relativism that can lead to gross abuse of power.
Every nation, on every continent, of every type of person, operates like this. There are no exceptions, a nations pacifism isn't rooted in the moral goodness of a nation, no, it is because it either does not need at this point in time, or physically cannot, act capriciously to satisfy it's two imperatives via warfare. I think France serves as a great example, for all of the crocodile tears France shed about our actions in Iraq, it has no compunction using military force in Mali, or weighing on America to do it's heavy lifting in Libya.
The reason why I harp on this is that we need to focus on the core items that direct a nations foreign policy. Simply saying we do things for freedom, oil, human rights abuses, corporations, or our allies misses the mark. Those things are related, but they are not a prime mover in and of itself and until we realise that, then we cannot hope to affect real policy change, we are just pissing in the wind.
The US acts the way it does today because it seeks to maintain it's position as hegemon of the world order. Why does it do this? Because in a very distant sense, it protects the United States, specifically it removes the ability of other nations to significantly affect the US. By significant, I mean use foreign military forces to apply pressure the way we apply pressure to China. What do you think those joint exercises in the South China sea are? A reminder to China that we could enforce an embargo and cut of their supply of foreign materials they desperately need, which, in turn, is why China is trying to develop anti-carrier weaponry.
This doesn't mean that every action the US in regards to foreign policy actually fulfills this goal, on the contrary, in some instances the course of action taken harms their position. But foreign policy is driven by men, and men's judgement, meaning that they can make errors. Overestimate threats, misappropriate resources or commit terrible policy blunders. For those who want to change US policy away from militarism then you must stop 'crying no blood for oil', those slogans are for the masses, not the policy makers. Instead, you must articulate how a different course of action better suits America's prime imperative.
The US has the most powerful navy in the world and if our nations goal is to keep it's place on top of the world, then it doesn't need to interact in every two bit bush league war that comes along. The US can afford to play with a softer hand.
But ultimately, this doesn't really matter all that much to you or me. Nations play the geopolitical game which is measured in decades, or even centuries, and unless your the one being bombed or fighting in a war, it doesn't affect you all that much. However, that core sentiment that I outlined, that does affect you. If the state decides that it gains more security and stability by putting it's boot on your neck, then it will do so. And you've just seen that essentially articulated by a member of the policy class.
His quote is probably the best thing that I could ever hope to find to illustrate why we need the 2nd amendment in the United States.