“We Are All Humanitarian Interventionists
A “happy holidays” email from The Atlantic’s ubiquitous self-promoter Steve Clemons last week suggests that any unified right-left movement to end America’s wars of choice might be unattainable. Normally I do not read Clemons, but on this occasion I persevered and was rewarded with a bit of political folderol that was too deliciously bizarre not to share. Steve is a progressive who sees himself as a realist and who likes to suggest to his readers that he is a true Washington insider unafraid to challenge the status quo. He does so gingerly, however, never wanting to offend anyone who is really important. He is a fan of the late Richard Holbrooke, whom he describes as an “outstanding global policy practitioner,” presumably a tribute to his success at turning the Balkans into a festering sore before pissing the Pakistanis off. He also believes that Henry Kissinger is the greatest foreign policy genius to emerge since the Second World War.
Washington’s stewardship of much of the world after the Second World War as a continuation of the Pax Britannica has been an abysmal failure, largely because of the inability of the U.S. government to rein in and control the military-industrial complex. As a result of 9/11, latent militarism has evolved into a full-blown national security state that has global pretensions but cannot pay its utility bills. That people who call themselves progressives see America’s overseas role as a wonderful success is quite frightening, particularly as one has to suspect that it is also the type of thinking that drives the White House. Those who support an aggressive policy to give the world stability, prosperity, and liberalism should pause and consider what they are advocating. The assumption that the United States is a force for good and must promote its values worldwide is fallacious. It will inevitably lead to bankruptcy, civil disorder, and a loss of fundamental liberties at home as well as creating resentment and devastation overseas.”