The Interventionists Are Different From You and Me

If her recent Washington Post column is any gauge, Katrina vanden Heuvel has just figured out that the Republican and Democratic foreign policy establishments are in lockstep in pursuit of American military hegemony:

The neocons — led by the likes of Bill Kristol, Max Boot and Dick Cheney — were the ideological motor behind President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq, the worst foreign policy debacle since the Vietnam War. The indispensable-nation crowd — personified by Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright and Michele Flournoy — were initial supporters of the Iraq War, championed President Barack Obama’s “surge” in Afghanistan and helped orchestrate the disastrous regime change in Libya. Neither the neocons nor the indispensable-nation crowd has been instructed nor daunted by failure.

Illustrative of their emerging alliance, as Glenn Greenwald reports, is yet another Beltway foreign policy initiative: the Alliance for Securing Democracy. The Alliance describes itself as a “bipartisan, transatlantic initiative” focused on Russia. Its purpose is to “develop comprehensive strategies to defend against, deter and raise the costs on Russian and other actors,” while working to “expose Vladimir Putin’s ongoing efforts to subvert democracy in the United States and Europe.” Consider this an updated version of Kristol and Robert Kagan’s 1997 Project for the New American Century, which fulminated for the invasion of Iraq. The Alliance’s advisory council includes Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s foreign policy adviser, and Mike Morell, acting CIA director under Obama. They sit comfortably with Kristol, Mike Chertoff, homeland security secretary under Bush, and hawkish former Republican congressman Mike Rogers. With a record of catastrophic foreign policy fiascoes, the establishment comes together to strike back.

In practice there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference among them. Their persistent and dominant view is marked by continuous war and repeated failure.

Perhaps I’m overly optimistic but I don’t believe that represents what most Americans believe. I don’t think most Americans care what goes on outside our borders enough to desire American military hegemony.

5 comments… add one
  • Guarneri

    I think you’re correct. I’ve only seen one live interview with this Max Boot character. It was difficult to watch. Rarely do you see such arrogance in the face of historical failures.

  • bob sykes

    Every establishment guru that I have heard commenting on the North Korean situation has explicitly assumed that China would stand by and do nothing if we attacked North Korea. No exceptions. The vast majority have assumed that North Korea would take an attack and not respond.

    Any rational person must know that any attack on North Korea starts WW III. Unfortunately, none of them are advising Trump.

  • steve

    You are overly optimistic. Americans have fairly uncritically supported just about every war effort we have gotten into. Remember how the Dixie Chicks had to go into hiding for daring to criticize Bush? I would agree that if you specifically asked people if we should pursue a military hegemony they would vigorously answer in the negative, but they they turn around and support almost any war, no matter how weak the reasons justifying military action.



  • Americans have fairly uncritically supported just about every war effort we have gotten into

    I distinguish between the urge to intervene and supporting wars once we’re in them. Yes, most Americans do the latter. I don’t see most Americans looking around for places to go to war as neoconservatives and liberal interventionsts do.

  • steve

    A distinction with almost no difference. Most Americans won’t go looking for wars, but they will support almost any war their leaders want to pursue.


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