Today, Americans are disillusioned with the war in Iraq, and many around the world predict that an exhausted America will turn inward again. Some see a nation in permanent decline and an end to American hegemony. At Davos, some Europeans apparently envisioned a post-American world.
Forget about it. Americans are having a debate about how to proceed in Iraq, but we are not having a strategic debate about retracting American power and influence. What’s most important about this debate is what doesn’t need to be said. No major American leader doubts that America must remain, as Dean Acheson put it, the locomotive of the world. â€”David Brooks
The hardest part about listening to the Democrats who would be President is that, while they are all in a hurry to proclaim the Iraq war a mess â€” Bush’s mess â€” with the exception of fringe candidates Mike Gravel and Dennis Kucinich, no one questions America’s role as the world’s biggest military machine and sole super-bully. According to the Clinton-Obama Dems, America should go on intervening here and there, doing whatever necessary to maintain the American way of life. We just need to do a better, more progressive-minded job of dominating others.
The Number One Rule of the bi-partisan Foreign Policy Community is that America has the right to invade and attack other countries at will because American power is inherently good and our role in the world is to rule it though the use of superior military force. Paying homage to that imperialistic orthodoxy is a non-negotiable pre-requisite to maintaining Good Standing and Seriousness Credentials within the Foreign Policy Community.
Conversely, one who denies that premise reveals oneself to be deeply unserious and unworthy of meaningful discourse. While differences on the “when” and “how” are permitted, there is virtually no debate within the foreign policy establishment about whether the U.S. has the right to continue to intervene and attack and invade and occupy other countries in the absence of those countries attacking us.
Most important, the notion of essentially good and necessary American war-mongering must remain “a bi-partisan view so that, in turn, the question of America’s role in the world is never subject to any real debate.”
So we all keep thinking of war as inevitable, just, and, when waged competently, good.