The End Of The Foreign Affair
In a post over at The Other McCain entitled I Want To Agree With James Joyner, But I Fear He Shot Us Both Down, references a recent article over at The Atlantic by Mr. Joyner. The relevant part of the latter:
The Republican Party needs a new message on foreign policy that is true to the conservative principles of the base and yet has a broad appeal to the American public. It so happens that one already exists, has a proven track record of electoral success, and is only slightly used: the "humble foreign policy" that candidate George W. Bush espoused during the 2000 campaign but abandoned with the Global War on Terror and the Iraq invasion.
Bush’s wisdom during the October 12, 2000 debates is striking in hindsight. "If we’re an arrogant nation," he warned, "they’ll resent us; if we’re a humble nation, but strong, they’ll welcome us. And our nation stands alone right now in the world in terms of power, and that’s why we’ve got to be humble, and yet project strength in a way that promotes freedom."
Smitty then gives us some insightful commentary on the proposal that you can read here.
Here are my thoughts on the form our foreign policy should take…
The problem is: since WWII, most conservatives have adopted and adapted the Wilsonian belief that The United States has been charged with making the world, ultimately, into one, big [happy] Democracy.
[Wilson was a rabid Progressive who applied his Utopian ideas to the
world stage...and it failed miserably. FDR, as has every Leftist leader
who has come along believes about the failed Leftist experiments of the
past, believed that Wilsonianism had not been really tried yet and that
he was gifted enough to make it work. Both were quite wrong because
their premises were fantastical.]
This belief in a Universal Democracy Project, as it were, was well-entrenched in the GOP before there ever was such a thing as a neo-conservative. Thus, the table was set when the neo-cons came along and sat at the Right Wing feast – and we were so overjoyed to have them on our side that we ignored the fact that the neo-cons never stopped wearing their Made-In-Left-Land rose-colored glasses. Soon, in fact, many conservatives were wearing them, as well.
For some on the Right, this state of affairs was so bad in their eyes that they reacted, as men often do, by running to the exact opposite view: isolationism.
In the midst of all this micheghas, Right Wingers on both sides forgot that being successful in any venture requires one to practice The Art Of The Possible, and not to engage in flights of fancy and whim [ie: idealism].
The world is what it is. A is A. People are fallen creatures – only the degree to which they are corrupted varies. The American Experiment cannot be conducted in any other country because there never has been and never will be the same set of circumstances present any where else in the world that were to be found here in 1787. Therefore, any efforts to impose the American template on any group of people in the world are doomed to fail.
Ultimately, we have to be concerned with our own security and survival. And this requires us to see the rest of the world, not as a set of laboratories, but as always and forever different. This requires us to act accordingly.
When we go to war our goal must not be to win it and then seek to transform the loser nation(s) into a mirror image of ourselves. Our goal must be to deal our enemies such a crippling blow that they will not be a threat to us again in the near future, issue them a warning that we’ll be back if they dare threaten us again, and then go home.