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Let's End American Dominance (Yes, he's serious)
The Daily Beast ^ | June 5, 2010 | Peter Beinart

Posted on 06/06/2010 1:45:40 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

Many Americans are anxious about the U.S. losing its supreme-superpower status. But in an excerpt from his forthcoming book, Peter Beinart says we need not dominate the world to enjoy it.

An excerpt from the conclusion of The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris, forthcoming by Peter Beinart, about learning from American history that America can live safely and profitably in the world without dominating it.

What America needs today is a jubilant undertaker, someone—like Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan—who can bury the hubris of the past while convincing Americans that we are witnessing a wedding, not a funeral. The hubris of dominance, like the hubris of reason and the hubris of toughness before it, has crashed against reality’s shoals. Woodrow Wilson could not make politics between nations resemble politics between Americans. Lyndon Johnson could not halt every communist advance. And we cannot make ourselves master of every important region on earth. We have learned that there are prices we cannot pay and burdens we cannot bear, and our adversaries have learned it too. We must ruthlessly accommodate ourselves to a world that has shown, once again, that it is not putty in our hands.

For starters, that means remembering that we did not always believe we needed to dominate the world in order to live safely and profitably in it. In the decade and a half after the Soviet empire fell, dominance came so easily that we began to see it as the normal order of things. We expanded NATO into East Germany, then into Eastern Europe, then onto former Soviet soil, while at the same time encircling Russia with military bases in a host of Central Asian countries that once flew the Hammer and Sickle. We established a virtual Monroe Doctrine in the Middle East, shutting out all outside military powers, and the Bush administration set about enforcing a Roosevelt Corollary too, granting itself the right to take down unfriendly local regimes. In East Asia, we waited expectantly for China to democratize or implode, and thus follow Russia down the path to ideological and strategic submission. And we stopped thinking about Latin America much at all since we took it as a virtual fact of nature that no foreign power would ever again interfere in our backyard.

We were like the warrior guarding his village who suddenly finds that the enemy has abandoned the battlefield, leaving vast tracts of territory undefended, and so takes them for his own, since the acquisition apparently involves little risk and cost. And once those lands have been incorporated, he sees that even more is available: The inhabitants offer little resistance, and even appear pleased to join the realm. And as his domain extends further outward, the warrior begins to see its new size less as a choice than a necessity: the bare minimum necessary to keep his family safe. The old borders, which he once deemed sufficient, now strike him as frighteningly exposed. In fact, he comes to suspect that even his current territory is inadequate; he has grown so used to expansion that mere stasis strikes him as a form of retreat. And meanwhile, the lands just beyond his domain are no longer so welcoming or unguarded, and mutinies have broken out in some of his recent acquisitions. Fulfilling his obligations is no longer so effortless and the resources at his disposal are no longer so plentiful. His challenge is to step back from the border skirmishes that now occupy his time and try to remember which lands he considered necessary for his security and prosperity in those more sober days before the recent windfall, because the days of windfall are now clearly gone.

If the men and women who shape American foreign policy conduct this intellectual audit they will discover a sharp discontinuity between some of today’s widely held assumptions and the assumptions of successful American policymakers in eras past. After 9/11, in the name of fighting terror, the Bush administration declared war or cold war on Iraq, Iran, Syria, the Taliban, Hezbollah and Hamas, virtually every significant regime and militia in the greater Middle East that did not kiss our ring. And in its pursuit of regional dominance, it claimed that it was merely doing what past generations had done in Europe and Asia. But that’s not right. Franklin Roosevelt did not wage World War II so America could be the world’s sole superpower, or even Europe’s. He wanted Four Policemen; unipolarity was Hitler’s goal. And FDR did not wage war against all the enemies of freedom: He allied with Stalin to defeat Hitler and Tojo. During the cold war, America did not take on the entire communist world, except for a period of hubristic intoxication that began with McCarthyism and culminated in Vietnam. In the late 1940s we made common cause with the communists in Belgrade, and in the 1970s and 1980s we made common cause with the communists in Beijing, all to contain the communists we feared most, who resided in Moscow. George Kennan saw the purpose of containment as ensuring that no single power controlled the world’s centers of economic and military might, not insuring that that single power was the United States.

How could our forefathers have been so cowardly and immoral? Stalin was a monster; so was Mao, and they both had nuclear weapons aimed at us. Why did we live with that sword of Damocles? Why did we accept their dominion over billions of souls? Once upon a time, the answer was obvious: Because we lacked the power not to. Franklin Roosevelt knew the American people would not sacrifice their sons by the thousands to keep Eastern Europe from Soviet hands. During Korea, Harry Truman blundered into war with Beijing, and realized that in Asia too, the price of denying America’s communist foes a sphere of influence was appallingly high. Even Ronald Reagan proved so reluctant to challenge Soviet control over Poland in the early eighties that conservative commentators accused him of betrayal. In different ways, all these presidents understood that in foreign policy, as in life, there are things you may fervently desire but cannot afford. And in foreign policy, the recognition that resources are limited, and precious, is even more important since you are not merely spending other people’s money; you are spilling other people’s blood.


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Conspiracy; Military/Veterans; Politics
KEYWORDS: bush; coldwar; hamas; hezbollah; iran; military; obama; wot
If this guy isn't advising Mr. Obama, someone just like him is.
1 posted on 06/06/2010 1:45:40 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

A girly man advising a girly man IMHO. A pox on both of them.


2 posted on 06/06/2010 1:47:42 PM PDT by Lawgvr1955 (You can never have too much cowbell !!)
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To: Lawgvr1955

How much do you want to bet that he never wore the uniform?


3 posted on 06/06/2010 1:50:23 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (Don't care if he was born in a manger on July 4th! A "Natural Born" citizen requires two US parents!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
Pure propaganda. It is revealing that Beinart refers to Stalin and Mao as "monsters" but quite evidently prefers their forms of social organization to our own. He omits the fact that we (America) won the Cold War, not by military force, but by creatively engaging the enemy short of war; showing the world that freedom works and socialism fails.

The only reason that Progressives aver that Mao and Stalin were "unacceptable" is because their identical aims were not promoted by smart, sensitive Harvard men like themselves. Nor have they ever forgiven Reagan for having defeated their secret heroes.

Ultimately, and all illusion aside, the same goals will demand identical means. Do not doubt this: our soft-handed and weak-shouldered Ivy League elitists will ultimately turn to the same means as Stalin and Mao and Pol Pot and Castro to promote their desired ends.

4 posted on 06/06/2010 2:02:35 PM PDT by andy58-in-nh (America does not need to be organized: it needs to be liberated.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“We have learned that there are prices we cannot pay and burdens we cannot bear,” ...

Unless were financing the illegal alien invasion.


5 posted on 06/06/2010 2:13:07 PM PDT by ViLaLuz (2 Chronicles 7:14)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Someone is going to dominate the world to be sure. So take your pick from among these leading candidates:

USA
China
Russia
Iran
Germany
India
North Korea
Venezuela
Pakistan
Iraq

I think that I’ll stick with the USA, thank you very much.


6 posted on 06/06/2010 2:13:21 PM PDT by centurion316
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

7 posted on 06/06/2010 2:13:24 PM PDT by matt1234 (The only crisis 0bama can manage is one he intentionally created.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
After 9/11, in the name of fighting terror, the Bush administration declared war or cold war on Iraq, Iran, Syria, the Taliban, Hezbollah and Hamas, virtually every significant regime and militia in the greater Middle East that did not kiss our ring.

Anyone inclined to take this revisionist moron's narrative seriously probably gave up right about there. It was, on the contrary, Saddam who declared war in 1990, Iran in 1979. And as for the Taliban, there was that little matter of the hosting of the al Qaeda camps and the subsequent WTC atrocity. I do not recall any demand from Bush (who was not President for the first two) to kiss any ring.

What the author's desire translates to is for America to imitate Europe in contracting its defenses, dividing the surplus among sundry groups who did not participate in producing it, and hope desperately that tomorrow never comes. It is, to continue his already risible analogy, as if the warrior watches the wolves gathering at the borderline and decides to go out partying because they haven't crossed it quite yet. Only these wolves already have.

8 posted on 06/06/2010 2:16:01 PM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
We were like the warrior guarding his village who suddenly finds that the enemy has abandoned the battlefield

How old is this kid?

9 posted on 06/06/2010 2:16:01 PM PDT by freespirited (There are a lot of bad Republicans but there are no good Democrats.--Ann Coulter)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

We didn’t lead the world in 1914.....
We didn’t lead the world in 1939.....


10 posted on 06/06/2010 2:18:03 PM PDT by Mike Darancette (Flip Both Houses)
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To: Mike Darancette
We didn’t lead the world in 1914..... We didn’t lead the world in 1939.....

And just how did that work out?

11 posted on 06/06/2010 2:19:10 PM PDT by dfwgator
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

He was on the O’Reilly Factor one night and he is NUTS (IMO)!


12 posted on 06/06/2010 2:21:31 PM PDT by kcvl
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To: dfwgator
And just how did that work out?

Not well until we took the lead.

13 posted on 06/06/2010 2:23:41 PM PDT by Mike Darancette (Flip Both Houses)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Ah yes....the heart of the Obama doctrine.......


14 posted on 06/06/2010 2:24:24 PM PDT by G Larry
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Peter Beinart, political writer for The Daily Beast, is associate professor of journalism and political science at City University of New York and a senior fellow at the New America Foundation.

15 posted on 06/06/2010 2:24:31 PM PDT by kcvl
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To: freespirited

He’s not an innocent. He’s a paid propagandist for the radical Left. and dangerous to the extent that otherwise intelligent people might believe his clever lies. And they are clever - small truths (the practical limitations of American power) embedded within enormous falsehoods (our purportedly false perception of the power of our adversaries) - all in the service of a hideous ideology.


16 posted on 06/06/2010 2:25:02 PM PDT by andy58-in-nh (America does not need to be organized: it needs to be liberated.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Some ideas are so stupid that only an intellectual could believe them.

I paraphrase George Orwell.


17 posted on 06/06/2010 2:27:28 PM PDT by poindexter
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

“Power abhor’s a vacuum”

“History is written by the victor”

“There is no honor in weakness”

Ignorance of history is no excuse. There are so many levels of being wrong in accepting and even wanting to be less than the best on the world stage.

The next world “supreme superpower” who does not have the code of ethics embodied in the US Constitution will not be so fun to be subservient to, or to have his will forced upon us.

We just have no clue as to the cruelty we will be subjected to that will result.


18 posted on 06/06/2010 2:28:38 PM PDT by Wildbill22
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To: andy58-in-nh

“When Beinart was at The New Republic, he was an ardent promoter of Joe Lieberman for President in 2004 and a shrieking scourge of anti-Iraq war liberals through 2006.”


19 posted on 06/06/2010 2:28:43 PM PDT by kcvl
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To: freespirited

He’s not an innocent. He’s a paid propagandist for the radical Left. and dangerous to the extent that otherwise intelligent people might believe his clever lies. And they are clever - small truths (the practical limitations of American power) embedded within enormous falsehoods (our purportedly false perception of the power of our adversaries) - all in the service of a hideous ideology.


20 posted on 06/06/2010 2:28:43 PM PDT by andy58-in-nh (America does not need to be organized: it needs to be liberated.)
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To: andy58-in-nh

Check out what Beinart just wrote about Israel. Typical left-winger.


21 posted on 06/06/2010 2:52:26 PM PDT by Amberdawn
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
He allied with Stalin to defeat Hitler and Tojo.

Wait a second. Hitler and Tojo?

You mean Hitler worked multilaterally with allies (Tojo) towards a common goal?

So Beinart wants us to be like Hitler?

(Yes, sort of kidding here, but if he's going to say unipolarity is Hitlerian, then why not use the same cheap argument against him...)

22 posted on 06/06/2010 3:03:48 PM PDT by Yardstick
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To: ExTexasRedhead; Yehuda; Alouette; Josh Painter

Ping!


23 posted on 06/06/2010 3:20:11 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (Don't care if he was born in a manger on July 4th! A "Natural Born" citizen requires two US parents!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Any idea when this insanity will end? Everyone I talk to is angry beyond words other than profanity when describing the Disgrace in Chief and this Congress.

This past weekend all I heard about was people losing their jobs and having no money.

Hope? Change, yes, the toilet.


24 posted on 06/06/2010 3:23:21 PM PDT by ExTexasRedhead (Clean the RAT/RINO Sewer in 2010 and 2012)
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To: ExTexasRedhead

Just as I get back into mortgages after Hurricane Katrina put me out of business almost 5 years ago, the market and Dear Leader conspire to stop me before I can get off the ground. Congress is about to put most mortgage people into the unemployment line, to join the 25% of workers already there. There’s nothing the Democrats touch that doesn’t turn to crap.


25 posted on 06/06/2010 3:30:32 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (Don't care if he was born in a manger on July 4th! A "Natural Born" citizen requires two US parents!)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

America hasn’t been a superpower for at least a decade. The world realigned itself against us after the fall of the Soviet Union as has been undermining us since.


26 posted on 06/06/2010 11:08:40 PM PDT by TheThinker (Communists: taking over the world one kooky doomsday scenerio at a time.)
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