Summary: After 2 failed invasions and occupations, as we gear up to repeat the same tactics in another round of interventions, it’s time for our hawks to excite us with stories about our mad unprofitable Empire (unprofitable to us). Today we have a review of the oddly named America in Retreat: The New Isolationism & the Coming Global Disorder. Our first 2 interventions have set the Middle East aflame. He’s right; imagine what disorder we can cause in a future guided by our hawks (a species found on both Left and Right). But where’s this “retreat” and “isolationism” he speaks of?
By Jessica T. Mathews
Excerpt from The New York Review of Books, 19 March 2015.
Review of America in Retreat: The New Isolationism & the Coming Global Disorder
by Bret Stephens (2015).
Almost from the beginning of its history, America has struggled to find a balance in its foreign policy between narrowly promoting its own security and idealistically serving the interests of others; between, as we’ve tended to see it in shorthand, Teddy Roosevelt’s big stick and the ideals of Woodrow Wilson. Just as consistently, the US has gone through periods of embracing a leading international role for itself and times when Americans have done all they could to turn their backs on the rest of the world.
… Bret Stephens, a Pulitzer Prize–winning foreign affairs columnist for The Wall Street Journal, sounds a call for more powerful and more engaged US leadership around the globe. Stephens appears to worry about a return to isolationism, or at least a more inward-looking American policy, and does what he can to head it off.
… Stephens’s is a facts-be-damned polemic, designed to show that the world has gone to hell since President Obama took office. Somehow, Obama is saddled with responsibility for the success of North Korea’s nuclear program. Stephens does not say that North Korea began the program in the 1950s, succeeded in building its first bomb 22 years ago, and carried out its first atomic test 3 years before Obama took office.