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What Americans Get That the Foreign Policy Elite Doesn't

May 30, 2014 in Economics

By John Mueller

John Mueller

Over the last dozen years, American foreign policy has, in its most dynamic aspects, been an abject, and highly destructive, failure. But our self-perpetuating foreign policy establishment seems substantially incapable of fully appreciating the extent of the disaster.

Two misguided wars of aggression and occupation have been waged by the United States in the Middle East in which trillions of dollars have been squandered and well over a hundred thousand people have been killed, including more than twice as many Americans as perished on 9/11.

There has also been a third war — the spillover war in Pakistan — which the United States has avidly promoted. Even though Pakistan receives $2-3 billion in U.S. aid a year, large majorities of Pakistanis (74 percent in the most recent tally) have come to view the United States as an enemy. As negative achievements go, that foreign policy development is a strong gold medal contender.

Going after Osama bin Laden’s tiny band of squirrely fanatics scarcely required the waging of three lengthy wars, two of them of enervating occupation.

The closest to success was the intervention in Libya. And Americans have now been advised to leave that country because it has become too dangerous for its liberators.

But, much of the foreign policy establishment seems to be unmoved by debacle. Thus, foreign policy columnist David Ignatius voices dismay in the Washington Post that only 46 percent of Americans currently consider it “very desirable” for the United States to “exert strong leadership in world affairs.” He also seems concerned that a majority now regard the American ventures in Iraq and Afghanistan to have “mostly failed.”

Over the last dozen years, American foreign policy has, in its most dynamic aspects, been an abject, and highly destructive, failure.”

And in a long article in the current New Republic, Robert Kagan bemoans the fact that Americans have “grown weary of exercising power.” Still, he acknowledges that their worries that intervention in Syria could lead to a military confrontation are “not entirely wrong” and graciously suggesting that that they “can be forgiven” for feeling “tempted” to stop “carrying the world on their shoulders.”

In his speech at West Point on Wednesday, President Barack Obama is perhaps a bit more subdued, but he still manages to tout “American exceptionalism” and use the phrase “American leadership” eight times while recycling the fatuous (and embarrassing) proclamation that the United States is “the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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