Monday, January 24, 2005


I'd just like to concur with most of what Michael has to say here.

This part of the McDougall piece caught my eye:

Having thus set the stage with a less than accurate historical

Nothin' new there... *snark*

Kristol and Kagan move on to define their neo-Reaganite foreign
policy. Now that the “evil empire” is vanquished, they write, the U.S. must
aspire to exercise a “benevolent American hegemony.” For never has the U.S. had
such a golden opportunity to promote democracy and free markets abroad, while
Americans themselves “have never had it so good.” Hence, the “appropriate” goal
of the United States should be “to preserve that hegemony as far into the future
as possible.” The authors dismiss those gloomsters who warn of imperial
overstretch or the danger of conjuring enemies, and call instead for a sharply
increased U.S. defense budget “to preserve America’s role as global hegemon”;
measures to enthuse the American people, perhaps through some form of military
conscription; and a bluntly moral foreign policy that aims at “actively
promoting American principles of governance abroad.” After all, the revolting
alternative would be to pursue business as usual with authoritarian states
suchas China, and such “Armand Hammerism should not be a tenet of conservative foreign policy.”

To all that I would say, first, that “benevolent hegemony”
is a contradiction in terms. Such a self-conscious, self-righteous bid for global hegemony is bound to drive foreign rivals into open hostility to the U.S.and make our allies resentful and nervous.

I think a couple of points need to be raised here. First, this. Second of all, the notion of "balance of threat". I think the USA is in real danger of running into this - or at least it will do if it goes wholeheartedly down the "neocon" route, which it hasn't so far. Third of all I'd just note again my contention that the use of American power in the international sphere runs the risk of being subject to something like a Clausewitzian "culminating point of victory" (similar to the balance of threat actually).


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