‘Imperial By Design’

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Political scientist John J. Mearsheimer has a very intriguing analysis of contemporary American foreign policy in the current edition of The National Interest. Entitled “Imperial By Design,” his thoughtful article carefully and decisively destroys the flawed rationales behind the post-Cold War grand strategy of “global dominance” — whether of the neoconservative or liberal imperialist varieties — which has fueled all presidential regimes for the past two decades.  In its place Mearsheimer offers a counter strategic stance which he deems “offshore balancing.”  One important caveat:  The good  professor wants his elite readership to clearly know that he is a communicant in good standing of the sanctified Church of America’s foreign policy Establishment.  He quickly dismisses from serious policy considerations the heretical Paulian option of non-interventionism or strategic disengagement, with the straw man smear of “isolationism”:

“THE DOWNWARD spiral the United States has taken was anything but inevitable. Washington has always had a choice in how to approach grand strategy. One popular option among some libertarians is isolationism.This approach is based on the assumption that there is no region outside the Western Hemisphere that is strategically important enough to justify expending American blood and treasure. Isolationists believe that the United States is remarkably secure because it is separated from all of the world’s great powers by two giant moats—the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans—and on top of that it has had nuclear weapons—the ultimate deterrent—since 1945. But in truth, there is really no chance that Washington will adopt this policy, though the United States had strong isolationist tendencies until World War II. For since then, an internationalist activism, fostered by the likes of the Rockefeller Foundation, has thoroughly delegitimized this approach. American policy makers have come to believe the country should be militarily involved on the world stage. Yet though no mainstream politician would dare advocate isolationism at this point, the rationale for this grand strategy shows just how safe the United States is. This means, among other things, that it will always be a challenge to motivate the U.S. public to want to run the world and especially to fight wars of choice in distant places.”

(Thanks to Walter E. Grinder)

1:43 pm on January 2, 2011