Monday, October 12, 2009

The Prescient Peace Prize For Appeasement


International relations and political science are my professional areas of teaching and research. I draw on this authority to strongly recommend the following article for your reading. Charles Krauthammer's "Decline Is a Choice: The New Liberalism and the end of American ascendancy."Among other things, he says:
.... my thesis is simple: The question of whether America is in decline cannot be answered yes or no. There is no yes or no. Both answers are wrong, because the assumption thatsomehow there exists some predetermined inevitable trajectory, the result of uncontrollable external forces, is wrong. Nothing is inevitable. Nothing is written. For America today, decline is not a condition. Decline is a choice. Two decades into the unipolar world that came about with the fall of the Soviet Union, America is in the position of deciding whether to abdicate or retain its dominance. Decline--or continued ascendancy--is in our hands.

Not that decline is always a choice. Britain's decline after World War II was foretold, as indeed was that of Europe, which had been the dominant global force of the preceding centuries. The civilizational suicide that was the two world wars, and the consequent physical and psychological exhaustion, made continued dominance impossible and decline inevitable.

The corollary to unchosen European collapse was unchosen American ascendancy. We--whom Lincoln once called God's "almost chosen people"--did not save Europe twice in order to emerge from the ashes as the world's co-hegemon. We went in to defend ourselves and save civilization. Our dominance after World War II was not sought. Nor was the even more remarkable dominance after the Soviet collapse. We are the rarest of geopolitical phenomena: the accidental hegemon and, given our history of isolationism and lack of instinctive imperial ambition, the reluctant hegemon--and now, after a near-decade of strenuous post-9/11 exertion, more reluctant than ever.


  1. Nice story. Now I wonder where the US history of helping to overthrow democratically elected leaders in sovereign nation states come into being? Or the idea that Europe and Asia should swallow America's debt to allow the US to consume more resources than it can produce?

    To claim that the US Empire is reluctant is a gross apology. Certainly it isn't the worst empire to live under, but its certainly acting as an empire and has a history of acting like one.

    I think the reason why the USA since 2006 has pursued a less interventionist line is because the resources are overstretched for the moment, not because of any moral high ground or appeasement on the part of Obama. The USA could simply not afford to expand its influence today.

  2. "Certainly it isn't the worst empire to live under, but its certainly acting as an empire and has a history of acting like one."

    Acting like an empire?! Why then, do I not see any new stars on the US flag every time it has taken control of some country? Why do US troops simply bury their dead and leave?

    The world is ungrateful and ignorant. This intervention you see as imperialism is leftist idiocy.

    Lets look at the big wars.

    US confronting Nazi Germany? Oh...true US empire expansion there. After taking control of half of europe, they pack up and go home (except for places like Germany where they spend the next 50 years protecting Western europe from the genocidal leftist paradise that was the USSR).

    US confrontion of Imperial Japan? Absolute case again on imperialist USA picking on er..misunderstood Japan. After Japan is defeated, the US put it back on its feet and laid the foundations of what is today one of the most successful democracies on the planet.

    Same story with the defense of South Korea and the attempt to stop the spread of communism into Vietnam. Iraq today is better off than it was prior to the war and the only real arab muslim democracy in the middle east. Yet somehow, there must be some diabolical scheme under all of this.

    'Less interventionist line'

    Ah yes, the usual and highly ineffective approach against despots that mass murder hundreds of thousands of civilians. Congratulation on your moral high ground. Chamberlain would be proud.