Senator Joseph Lieberman writes today that we should get in the face of India, Russia, and China and shame them into reigning in Burma, with whom all three nations have good relations. And people think Bush is making America enemies around the world! This is typical of the Democrats’ post-cold-war foreign policy: the cause must be pure, with little relation to U.S. interests; the cost may be immense; the benefit (and likelihood of success) minimal; and then, and only then, will we know we are behaving authentically. Because only then will we know that our power is being used solely for humanitarian reasons. Liberals, in spite of their self-image as peaceniks, have a penchant for military intervention, so long as it’s done for the right reasons. Let’s not forget, Vietnam (1965-73), Korea (1950-53), Bosnia (1996), Kosovo (1999), Bay of Pigs (1961), Haiti (1995), and East Timor (1999) all happened on a Democratic President’s watch.
If one of these venture fails, we can rest assured that our purity of intention will make up for our errors. This is dangerous stuff, devoid of any natural barriers to excess. Bush is bad enough and also a kind of liberal: he combines a vague sense of interest with a messianic sense of mission that stresses democracy and human rights. But Obama, Lieberman, and Clinton are much worse: they forget the interest part and replace it solely with a good intentions policy, one that views “selfless” missions as more valuable because they prove to ourselves and the rest of the world that we are good people.
Almost all liberal foreign policy functions to discredit and apologize for the Western past. It is supposed to show we’ve “grown up” and are no longer mere imperialists. We don’t fight for ourselves but for others. Of course, we have an agenda, and it seems at first glance to be a kind of self-assured imperialism. But for liberal hawks that agenda is everyone’s agenda, because everyone wants democracy, free speech, MTV, homosexuality, CNN, globalization, outsourcing, abortion, etc., and the only reason they don’t have them now is because they’re oppressed. Remember how excited they were about the spontaneous rallying cry for the Iraq War “Democracy, Whiskey, Sexy,” as if our own standards on these matters were beyond criticism. Most important, liberal foreign policy functions to atone for the great stain of American inaction in the face of the Holocaust. Almost all their thinking is based on a set of principles that retroactively would have required our intervention in the European Campaign before December 7, 1941.
This is history repeating itself not as tragedy or farce, but as psychodrama.