A glimpse at the post-American world

Thomas Friedman today slams the leaders of Brazil and Turkey for their shameful accommodation of Iran and its “Holocaust-denying, vote-stealing…thug” of a president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. What their alleged diplomatic breakthrough actually accomplishes, he correctly observes, is to “weaken the global coalition to pressure Iran to open its nuclear facilities to U.N. inspectors, and, as a special bonus, legitimize Ahmadinejad on the anniversary of his crushing the Iranian democracy movement that was demanding a recount of Iran’s tainted June 2009 elections.”

I’d like to go a step farther, however, and point out that we can expect more of this is the kind of “global leadership” to result from a world in which America tries to shrink back from the role we’ve held for more than 60 years.

You don’t have to believe that we’ve gotten everything right or acted only selflessly since the end of World War II to recognize that we have been the most selfless superpower the world has seen. It stretches the meaning of words like “imperialism” to describe our foreign policy. We act in our interests; every nation does, and would be foolish not to do so. But more so than any other nation, our interests have at their heart the expansion of freedom for other peoples.

It’s always seemed to me that the critics of the mistakes we’ve made along the way have always presumed, very unrealistically, that the next global leader would be at least as altruistic as we have been. That belief is probably strongest among those who favor multilateral institutions like the United Nations, and who believe a “multipolar” world is more desirable than our time as the sole superpower. You know, the kind of institutions that put Iran on their committee for women’s rights even though Iranian adulteresses are subject to death by stoning.

In almost any multipolar configuration, countries like Brazil and Turkey figure prominently. Their performance with the Iranians inspires something other than confidence.

Be careful, critics of American policies, what you wish for.

47 comments Add your comment

retiredds

May 26th, 2010
12:59 pm

Kyle, I would add, that it is always very difficult for the one who is at the top to remain the model of exemplary behavior. After all there are always those “down below” who are wanting to garner the “top spot”. Power and control make strange bedfellows.

lmno

May 26th, 2010
1:01 pm

Just because one is a critic of something, doesn’t mean that they are completely against it.

You can like me and still say I have a bad hair cut, for example.

The fact is that while there are some wonderful things that the US foriegn policy has helped, but also some things that are harmful.

Its not coincidental that many of our strongest critics come from Central and South America. Our support of Pinochet in Chile has left many Chileans, rightly, critical of our policies. I mean, Noriega in Panama was more than just a person we supported. We created him.

Even Osama Bin Laden wouldn’t exist without our help.

Horrible Horrace

May 26th, 2010
1:09 pm

Seeing how Joe “DirtClod” Biden proclaimed Brussels the capital of the World we can rely on the EmU to figure prominently in the ushering in of WWVI.

Where is Neville Chamberlain when he is needed?

Saul Good

May 26th, 2010
1:32 pm

The “American” world? Gee Kyle…that sums things up! Did you not study history enough to realize that ALL “EMPIRES” come to an end? Bush and Co just sped it up a bit…

My suggestion? Learn to speak Chinese… it’s THEIR turn again.

Sad that so many can’t understand that EVERY Empire comes to an end… we had our run…so did the French, the British, the Greeks, the Romans, etc… so now the ball belongs to China. Cool… Is it THAT “important” to RULE the world? What good came of OUR run? What will history say about the USA in 200 years from now? Mostly good things… but NOW the NEXT “Empire” has begun… better to be their friend then foe… bc honestly… their military could kick our A$$… and that too is okay. Time to STOP being the world’s bully. The CT Cowboy helped us along… and now that he’s gone… the “manufacturing” jobs and the “tech” jobs will all come from a place far from here… maybe not tomorrow…but in our lifetime? yes.

Kyle Wingfield

May 26th, 2010
2:00 pm

Saul: If you’re referring to the title of the post, I was alluding to the title of (what I thought was) a well-known book.

Saul Good

May 26th, 2010
2:02 pm

Yes…I know. I’ve not read it yet… just another on my “list” to get to… my “rant” stays the same. :)

I’m out… I’ll see where this all gets twisted and goes later my friend!

@@

May 26th, 2010
2:27 pm

Brazil’s actions baffle me, but I’m not willing to give up on Turkey, just yet. Their geographical locale and demographic make-up puts them in a precarious situation. It’s like walking a tightrope with a “poll” for balance. Sometimes the aspiring alpha dog has to put up with fleas from the regional pack.

JF McNamara

May 26th, 2010
2:28 pm

I don’t think we chose ” to shrink back from the role ” of global leader. I think it has been taken away due to our own poor decision making. Towards the end of the Bush era, the United States was losing esteem around the world because of his policies.

That’s not a bash of Bush, its just fact and there were numerous articles and actions documented during that time as proof of our diminishing global influence.

If you aren’t going to lead by force, people have to follow. They simply stopped following and there isn’t anything we can do about it.

Scooter (the Original)

May 26th, 2010
2:29 pm

Once our society becomes sufficiently reliant on government provisions, there will be no appetite to spread freedom our opportunity to other nations. The only appetite will be for the majority to fill their perceptions of entitlement and remedy their animosities.

Conservatives used to be the isolationist, I presume because they wanted other nations’ citizens to fend for themselves. Now, liberals are becoming the isolationist because they don’t want any of their plundered income to be redistributed to the liberation of oppressed people in other nations.

Bud Fox

May 26th, 2010
2:30 pm

American exceptionalism is a oxymoron

redneckbluedog

May 26th, 2010
2:50 pm

So, out of curiosity, do the republican gubernatoral candidates of Georgia get it on like they do in S.C….? Bow-chicka-bow-bow……

Gator Joe

May 26th, 2010
3:16 pm

Kyle,
Criticism of American foreign, when warranted, is always appropriate, as in the case of our illegitimate, immoral war in Iraq. Unfortunately in the past, our foreign policy too often was for the benefit of business interests here at the expense of average citizens in countries with whom we had relations with. Criticism of our government’s actions, thoughtfrul, consistent criticism that is, will always be apropriate.

Gator Joe

May 26th, 2010
3:25 pm

Kyle, sorry, the first sentence should include the word “policy” after foreign.

Aquagirl

May 26th, 2010
3:33 pm

The U.S. emerged as a world leader post WWII due to our industrial production. We no longer hold all the cards. It’s not coincidental that Iran produces a h3ll of a lot of oil, a key to the world’s economy, and we created that situation.

I’m sure Iraqis realized we had their best interests at heart when President Bush said “We’re taking the fight to the terrorists abroad, so we don’t have to face them here at home.” Why suffer through the inconvenience of a war when you can wage it in someone else’s backyard? I’d be thrilled too. It’s the same for the Mexicans, who are dying by the thousands in our drug war, and we get P.O.’d when they show up on our doorstep.

We abdicated our leadership.

Skip

May 26th, 2010
3:38 pm

How many aircraft carriers do we have? How many does the rest of the world have? Foreign countries support us cause they love us, yea right.

Gerald West

May 26th, 2010
3:40 pm

The US was once the undisputed leader of the free world. We acted wisely and unselfishly up until the end of the Eisenhower administration. The seeds of our misadventures were sown by John Foster Dulles, the Secretary of State under President Eisenhower. He introduced “brinksmanship” and “the domino effect” as substitutes for reason and judgment.
Our first grand misadventure was involvement in the Vietnam civil war. We stupidly attempted to do what the French had attempted before us, and ended up like the French, in defeat and withdrawal. In the process, we squandered our national wealth, wasted the lives of thousands of Americans and millions of Vietnamese, and widened the political rift between young and old in our country.
War became just a ploy in domestic party politics. President Johnson escalated the Vietnam war to show that he was as tough on communism as Goldwater, his wacky opponent in the 1964 presidential election.
Of the conflicts the US has engaged in since Vietnam, only two were guided by a sense of international leadership and responsibility: the middle east conflict over Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, and the resolution of the ethnic conflicts in the former Yugoslavia. The military actions were executed by a coalition of nations acting under American leadership. Both produced successful outcomes with few American casualties.
The other conflicts, such as the fiascos in Lebanon and in Somalia, the farcical invasions of Grenada and Panama, the counter-strategic destruction of Sunni leadership in Iraq, and the opening of wars on two fronts as a knee-jerk reaction to the 9/11 strike by terrorists, were all ploys in domestic politics rather than pursuits in the interests of our country.
The world is rightly concerned about the “cowboy diplomacy” of the US. We can’t be trusted to place our immense military power in the hands of responsible and intelligent leaders.
Our world leadership role is a thing of the past. We are a fading economic power with big, but useless, rockets in a world where the threat is determined young men in jeans and sneakers, armed with box cutters or a few ounces of explosive.

seaingsea

May 26th, 2010
3:48 pm

It is flat out incorrect to say we aren’t an imperialist nation. We have been responsible for the overthrow of democratically elected leaders from Guatemala to Iran an back again. Our foreign policy for the last 60 years has been one of terror and support for military despots.

Einstein

May 26th, 2010
4:06 pm

I’m sure the people of East Germany, the former Soviet Union, France ,Italy, the Netherlands, South Korea, etc etc would all agree that the USA is bad!Horribly bad imperialists. Funny though how so many people try to come here and live from other countries, guess no body gave them the word on what a terrible place this is.

Elephant Whip

May 26th, 2010
4:09 pm

The “western” power center will shift to a trans-atlantic government based on the US and the western european nations in the UN. Eastern Europe and Asia, including also North Africa, all the way over to former USSR states bordering China, will be subsumed in a new Muslim Empire and China will take the rest of far eastern Asia. The western power center will weaken and become a cultural interest and food resource to China, but nothing more. Atheistic Communist China and the Muslim Empire will then duke it out for oil and natural resources in South America, Africa, and the Middle East. That’s the next 300 years.

Elephant Whip

May 26th, 2010
4:11 pm

Oh and there will be a Muslim upheaval in Western China as part of that.

Junior Samples

May 26th, 2010
4:16 pm

Ask the Middle East if we’re selfless

Jefferson

May 26th, 2010
4:24 pm

Good thing we never have thugs in our elections.

Jeff Fryer

May 26th, 2010
4:32 pm

I never knew blogging like this was possible. I can’t believe what I just read.

“You don’t have to believe that we’ve gotten everything right or acted only selflessly since the end of World War II to recognize that we have been the most selfless superpower the world has seen. It stretches the meaning of words like “imperialism” to describe our foreign policy. We act in our interests; every nation does, and would be foolish not to do so. But more so than any other nation, our interests have at their heart the expansion of freedom for other peoples.”

The road to hell is paved with “good” intentions. Our selflessness is the Saudi’s selfishness. Not so much multipolar as bipolar, our foreign policy since IKE has been a total disaster to both ourselves and millions of foreigners. And US interests had nothing to do with it: our foreign policy was directed by the Saudis.

That’s just a fact. I can prove it, but to do so, the Saudis would send ninjas to my home at night while I slept in my bed and garrote me and my blow up doll. Now I don’t care so much for what happens to me, but the inflatable deserves better.

The word “thug” is getting a lot of play these days. Notice?

neo-Carlinist

May 26th, 2010
4:41 pm

Gerald West – excellent post. Homework for all; read Andrew Bacevich’s “The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism”. True conservatives will understand. Neo-cons will not. Then read Bacevich’s The New American Militarism. In order to have an Empire (and perhaps lose and empire) any state must have an out-of-control Military-Industrial Complex. Is it not funny how the neo-cons blather about “European Socialism” or how they mock France? Who thse guys think were the “top dogs at the end of the 19th century and early 20th century (France, Germany, U.K.). A couple of ill-advised imperial wars and guess what you get? Financial collapse. America is a victim of its own arrogance and greed, and I don’t mean Main Street America, or Joe Six Pack America.

neo-Carlinist

May 26th, 2010
4:47 pm

Jeff Fryer – ditto, and check out Bill Maher’s “tea party” rant on YouTube

Saul Good

May 26th, 2010
5:24 pm

Einstein…. And other nations don’t have Immigrants as well flooding their gates? Perhaps it’s time for you to come out of your bubble and see the world… look at MANY of the European countries… add them all up…and they take in MORE Immigrants then we do every year.

Trudy

May 26th, 2010
5:33 pm

US lost its credibility with the bush administration. The world sees the US as warmongers and GREEDY!

No More Progressives!

May 26th, 2010
6:49 pm

Saul Good

May 26th, 2010
5:24 pm
Einstein…. And other nations don’t have Immigrants as well flooding their gates? Perhaps it’s time for you to come out of your bubble and see the world… look at MANY of the European countries… add them all up…and they take in MORE Immigrants then we do every year.

And where are they from? The Middle East. Those peace-loving Muslims that absolutley refuse to assimilate.

itpdude

May 26th, 2010
7:52 pm

I have an idea of how the US can exert its influence: Nuke everything.

I swear, W and his adventurism put the US in the pickle it is in now. And I’m not even a Dem. I rooted for W in 2000, in fact, I generally leaned GOP. Not anymore.

Think about it: Nixon would be a Democrat now. Dole? Dem. The GOP is out of its mind nowadays.

Saul Good

May 26th, 2010
8:04 pm

No More…so nice of you to admit that you’re prejudice. So according to you…pretty much ALL Muslims are terrorists. Yet if you were born in Saudi Arabia… I guess YOU too would have believed in a different version of the fable and been labeled a terrorist as well. So sad that you view others like that. Know what? THEY view YOU and we Americans as terrorists who invaded one of their countries and killed hundreds of thousands of “innocent” people… called for by those who believe that “ALL LIFE is sacred”…. yeah it is…as long as it’s a white christian American born life.

I’m sure you feel the same way about Mexicans and pretty much anyone from Central America…their just not as “good and pure” as you are… that’s truly sad. You’re a sad case… hopefully if you have kids…they’ll one day bring home a Muslim that they wish to marry… that they love completely… maybe…just MAYBE you’ll learn that you were WRONG to view them as “less” of a human than you are.

No More Progressives!

May 26th, 2010
11:08 pm

Put the crack pipe down, Saully. I didn’t call anyone a terrorist; I said they refuse to assimilate.

That’s a multi-syllable word you may want to get some help with. Your local Barnes & Noble will sell you a Websters Collegiate dictionary for, what, $10.00?

I doubt that either of my boys would bring an Arab home, especially to marry. Both of them are as repulsed by jihad and the other “peace-loving” behaviour.

But you hang in there, Open Borders Liberal. One day, An-Awlaki will live right next door to YOU!!! Hear the drone coming??

Saul Good

May 27th, 2010
6:33 am

I’d welcome some Arabs to move in next door…I’m SURE they’d be better neighbors and kinder people compared to the current talibangelicals living next door.

No More Progressives!

May 27th, 2010
10:45 am

Talibangelicals. That’s very creative, Saully.

Here’s a quiz for you. Tell me the last time you read about a car-load of “talibangelicals” driving into an open-air market in Baghdad, detonating the explosives hidden in the car, and murdering 62 people?

Hope you understand Sharia law; your new neighbors will expect it.

Saul Good

May 27th, 2010
11:36 am

No More….perhaps I can tell you about all the bombs, bullets, and other things that Talibangelicals” used upon other “Innocent” people…do their lives matter?What about the lives effected by their loved ones? Or…are they just “collateral damage” to you? You know… the “ALL LIFE IS SACRED” crowd who cares only about the unborn…but could care less about brown skinned people who live in another part of the world and follow a different “version” of the fable.

Perhaps your sons WILL bring home Muslim girls…or maybe even a Muslim GUY…would you love them LESS? Would you think less of them if they did? I KNOW you love them with all of your heart, but if they really do one day bring home a Hispanic girl (maybe even an Illegal Immigrant), or a Muslim girl… or a guy… would you be “ashamed” of them? Would you disown them? OR… would you ACCEPT their partner and give them your blessing?

Saul Good

May 27th, 2010
11:39 am

BTW…. with regards to Talibangelicals…. what do you think Eric Rudolf and Timothy McVeigh were? Because Rudolf tried to blow up MANY with his bombs…. How about the guy who killed the abortion doctor in Kansas? Do you condemn HIM? HE too was a “talibangelical” christian who “murdered” in the name of YOUR god (as opposed to the many other “human” created gods that exist in this world).

No More Progressives!

May 27th, 2010
1:34 pm

Feds Issue Terror Watch for the Texas/Mexico Border.

The Department of Homeland Security is alerting Texas authorities to be on the lookout for a suspected member of the Somalia-based Al Shabaab terrorist group who might be attempting to travel to the U.S. through Mexico, a security expert who has seen the memo tells FOXNews.com.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/05/26/terror-alert-mexican-border/

Saul Good

May 27th, 2010
2:15 pm

No More….perhaps he can just walk across the border from Canada…no fences or troops…much bigger border. Why do you think that in over 5 years not ONE of you Talibangelicals have asked that we step up our border with Canada?

Besides this being the SAME network who sold the Iraq war and told us all to duct tape our windows because Saddam was going to send “poison gases” over here… can you PLEASE name one single “terrorist” that has ever been said to have entered our country from the south.

I wonder who that “security expert is” (un-named of course)…Dick Cheney perhaps?

No More Progressives!

May 27th, 2010
2:21 pm

Allāhu Akbar you’re boring, Saully. Get a hobby, man.

Saul Good

May 27th, 2010
6:03 pm

No More…typical answer from someone backed into a corner and has no answer. Yes…Allah is GREAT… just the same as YOUR version of him…another myth that has caused much pain, sorry, and death in this world. The belief that your phony story book written by flat earth humans is anything more than that…a story. You’re no better compared to they. In fact, you’re EXACTLY the same. The brainwashing that took place in your youth graduated to your becoming a bigot… glad to know you passed along the same fable to have your children become the same.

BTW….I have a hobby…it’s calling out all the falsehoods and evil in the bible… (as well as all the other human created cults)… enjoy your 6000 year old planet and keep waiting for the rapture. I’m sure you and the other WHITES in your man made heaven will enjoy stoning your children and raping virgins just like in your story book.

No More Progressives!

May 27th, 2010
10:30 pm

Boy, Saully, you’re an awfully angry Liberal. But then, most are.

You don’t do so well with English, certainly not economics or religion, so try a little sagely advice from the Ancients:

Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus

So go back to Bookmans’ site where all the other angry, limp-wristed lefties hang out. Take the cultural diversity crowd to Starbucks & you can split a $13.00 latte. This was a nice neighborhood till you got here.

Take your camel-jockey friends with you.

StevenCee

May 28th, 2010
4:58 am

No More, I hate to add a couple cents worth to your boxing match, but I can’t help but point out something you denied, while almost in the next breath, affirmed, again & again. Saul believes you lump all Arabs/Muslims in the “terrorist” pot, which you denied, but do admit believing “they refuse to assimilate”. Is the same true here? None of the millions of Muslims here have assimilated? I guess you must believe that too, since you also believe that ANY Arab/Muslim a son of yours could possibly meet, would be found “repulsive”, since you know they are both “as repulsed by jihad and the other “peace-loving” behaviour”, you must know all Arabs/Muslims subscribe to jihadist philosophy, or your previous statement would make little sense…

Of course, since that statement is far from true, the previous comment, in fact, makes very little (really no) sense, & basically self-affirms your stereotyping of all Arabs/Muslims as terrorist jihadists… Which is the only explanation to account for your certainty that no son of yours would ever be anything but “repulsed” by women of Arab origin, or of the Muslim faith.

Saul Good

May 28th, 2010
5:52 am

No More just HATES being called out for his blind racism. He proves that his party as well as his religion are the party of hate, intolerance and racism. He believes that because he’s a white American born member of the christian cult that he is BETTER by birth compared to all others that do not call into his same group. He truly has NO idea how painfully sad it is that he even thinks that way. He also has no idea that he’s NO better then those he considers to be terrorists. Most people don’t think that way….terrorists do.

No More Progressives!

May 28th, 2010
3:05 pm

Sally – You’ve found a new friend! Or did he find you? Whatever. Now you have someone to go the Acorn meeting with. I recommend hand-in-hand; show some signs with the Gay Pride thing.

Mr. C – are you a barrister? I’ve read you post numerous times, and I’ve come to the conclusion that you speak in electronically scrambled Klingon, which I don’t speak. Whatever it is you want me to agree to, disagree, disavow or decline; you’ll have to re-write it in English. That’s the language Americans like me speak.

As for my Sons bringing home an Arab; the reason they didn’t bring an Arab/Muslim home is because they’re already married. I bet that nanogram of a thought never passed through your avian cerebellum, did it? You see, they picked two very nice women that they liked, and married them. I don’t think our culture supports arranged marriages, like they do in the Middle East.

As for your view of terrorists, I couldn’t care less. The link for a list of terrorist acts is included; pick out all the “talibangelical” incidents & you can mull them over.

http://www.fas.org/irp/threat/terror_chron.html

So you two have a good time at the community organizing meeting. Don’t forget to wear your Birkenstocks, ear-rings and Che Guevara tee-shirts.

No More Progressives!

May 28th, 2010
3:30 pm

Saul Good

May 28th, 2010
5:52 am
He believes that because he’s a white American……………

I almost forgot. Sally, what evidence do you have that I’m white?

No More Progressives!

May 29th, 2010
8:49 am

Suspected militants kill 80 at minority sect’s mosques in eastern Pakistan

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/05/28/gunmen-southwest-pakistan-kill-police-including-officer-pursued-sunni/

Islamist gunmen and a suicide squad lobbed grenades, sprayed bullets from atop a minaret and took hostages Friday…………………

StevenCee

May 30th, 2010
5:45 pm

So No More, is this supposed to help bolster your belief that all Arabs & Muslims are terrorists?
One needn’t be a barrister to be unconvinced, the question is why dost thou protest so, when Saul stated what is simply fact?

it's me

June 10th, 2010
4:03 am

Muntadar al-Zaidi, My hero.