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.
A remarkable piece by Michael Mandelbaum in Foreign Policy. Opening quote:
The rest of the world complains that American hegemony is reckless, arrogant, and insensitive. Just don’t expect them to do anything about it. The world’s guilty secret is that it enjoys the security and stability the United States provides. The world won’t admit it, but they will miss the American empire when it’s gone.
Well, I suppose the spoilsport would point out that this is a simplistic argument since no one volunteers for change and most regret it when it comes even when the outcome is for the better. Thus Mandelbaum's argument is fatuous on the face of it. Of course any change in the US role will be missed. The question which he seems unwilling or unable to approach is whether the US has chosen, under Bush and Cheney, to do useful things with the hegemony they inherited. The answer is, unfortunately, that they have squandered the inheritance by mistaking completely the situation. Where they saw threat and extended violence there was opportunity to create a new model of security interests intermixed with economic outreach. Instead they have chosen the long-proven loss leader of foreign policy: colonialism. The results of this are all too predictable: Britain, France, Germany, all have felt the sting of lost influence because they also mistook their place and role thinking that all would stay stable and it could not. This is the same terrible mistake Bush and Cheney have made and there is no going back. We will re-enact at their hands the same loss of identity Britain has with all the violence in its dependencies.
I do not understand why people who teach history and foreign policy do not see these patterns. Yet they do not so we are doomed to repeat the terrible failures of our forebears. And, frankly, Bush and his people have shown not inquisitiveness on this matter. They picked a comfortable rhetorical approach and threw explosive hardware at it. They have been remarkably lazy intellectually. We will all pay the price of that.