Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Blue ostriches and red ostriches

Robert J. Lieber explains why Barack Obama and Donald Trump and Gary Johnson and Ron Paul and Hillary Clinton (though less so than the others) are dead wrong about foreign policy, and about America's role in the world- and why the various passive paths they offer are roadways to disaster for both America and the community of nations.

We overlearned the lessons of Vietnam, and it took us quite a while to get over that syndrome. Now we're dealing with having overlearned the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan- or rather, of learning the wrong ones.

True enough, we have a bad habit of using the wrong kind of power in the wrong place at the wrong time. But what is called for is neither the naive, trusting passivity of the Obama administration or the pre-World War II style isolationism of the especially clueless elements of the Right. What is needed is thoughtful, perceptive, intelligent, but unhesitating and assertive use of American power instead of vacillation between the extremes of rushing into everything like the proverbial bull in the proverbial China shop on one hand and maintaining the illusion that we can be weak and passive or securely isolated in the age of the Internet and the ICBM and a globally interdependent economy on the other. 

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