We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Are there any limits to what is in America's interest, diplomatically or militarily? Leader of The Free World (not that there is much of that to lead). I do understand that in a globalized new world, everything affects everything else so everything directly or indirectly affects the US, but nasty and wicked things happen everywhere all the time, and always have since the Fall of Man.
It's a lot easier these days to "reach out and touch/kill/bomb someone" than is was 3-400 years ago. As Mr. Codevilla says, those who want to do that to us should fear the consequences. They don't fear Barry.
Angelo Codevilla's argument comes down to "no substitute for vistory", as Barry Goldwater put it. Before that, Dwight Eisenhower had the credibility to threaten to nuke North Korea and that brougt an end to that fighting. -- What we've experienced since the 1960s is various words for half-way and inadequate measures, either as a matter of policy (Vietnam by LBJ) or of a reduced military force (inherited by Bush #2), and what we'll face in the future is much worse as Barack Obama reduces our military to the smallest since before World War I.
Now, that being the case, what we face is either virtually total retreat around the world, which will bring our enemies closer to reaching our shores and that of vitasl allies, or the commitment to beefing up our forces coupled with the courage and strategy to use them rather than dribble their morale away on more, now, quarter-way measures.
President Obama has so sunk us into debts that the choice seems obvious to those withoput vision or guts, just go along with a de facto isolationist policy. It will take budgetary and policy discipline and toughness to maintain not only our national security but our economic security. It is already pretty late in the day.
We have become terrible at choosing fights and choosing allies. Afghanistan and Iraq were complete wastes. Meanwhile, Obama sent all the wrong signals in Eastern Europe - caving to Putin and cancelling missile defense.
The Poles, Baltic nations, Czechs - friends and business partners worth having. But Obama seems totally disinterested. Instead he wastes his time getting cozy with African states.
Saving millions of lives from AIDS and malaria, reflecting well across the continent on the US, and the Sudan settlement, are hardly "no results".
Africa deserves much attention. The mineral wealth of Africa is enormous, and its rare earths rival China's, so relations with Africa deserve high attention. China is pouring many billions of $s into Africa in order to dominate its resources and trade, and cut the US out.
Once again, a know nothing isolationism at MF is wanting.
About 50 million people have died from malaria since Rachel Carson wrote "Silent Spring". Most of those deaths could have been prevented with proper use of DDT. To "claim" we are saving lives from malaria is naive.
All the aids cases and deaths since about 1990 (more or less) were unnecessary and could have been prevented. It was a distored view of "rights" that caused us to allow people with aids to mingle with healthy people and then of course the people they infected and those that that group infected ad infinitum. While it is possible to keep an aids patient alive it takes a lot of money every day, every week, every month of the effort to keep them alive. And then they die. Wouldn't it have been smarter to isolate everyone with aids as soon as it was discovered?
Completely agree that the U.S. choice of wars has been terrible. The waste is incredible.
And in general, I disapprove of the Obama administration foreign policy. Nor did I approve of George Bush's. I am not a fan of endless wars in far away places.
However, I can see merit in the decision to demilitarize by altering the missile defense plan in and around Poland. It can be interpreted as weakness. But, it also functions to pass more of the defense responsibility to the European nations. Which I think we want. It also sends a definitive signal that it is not the U.S. which is escalating regional tensions. Or, it might, if the Obama administration could present it's decisions coherently.
The Africa issue is complex. In general, it is not a good thing to meddle in those messed up countries. I would favor a light footprint only in the areas of most concern. I would coordinate and share those duties with other nations including China. I dislike the idea of protecting a competitor's investments for free. The French have skills and experience dealing with uprisings and terror networks in Africa. Logistical support for their efforts may be all that is required. No amount of military force will fix Africa. No amount of civilian help will cure their ills. At best, we can hope to manage the carnage.
BTW, Angelo Codevilla and I have been correspondents for many years, both bing "graduates" of Foreign Policy Research Institute. Read his Tools Of Statecraft http://www.fpri.org/articles/2008/01/tools-statecraft-diplomacy-and-war to understand what victory means. A core quote: "In the course of war, any limits you may set on your pursuit of victory are actually limits on your commitment to your peace."
Ignorance of statecraft and emotional tiredness serve an isolationism that is not conducive to sound policy or choices.