Thursday, June 16, 2011

Steyn on the US Defense Bog

A really incisive and useful essay which defines the difficulty very well.

Transnational do-gooding is political correctness on tour. It takes the relativist assumptions of the multiculti varsity and applies them geopolitically: The white man’s burden meets liberal guilt. No wealthy developed nation should have a national interest, because a national interest is a selfish interest. Afghanistan started out selfishly — a daringly original military campaign, brilliantly executed, to remove your enemies from power and kill as many of the bad guys as possible. Then America sobered up and gradually brought a freakish exception into compliance with the rule. In Libya as in Kosovo, war is legitimate only if you have no conceivable national interest in whatever conflict you’re fighting. The fact that you have no stake in it justifies your getting into it. The principal rationale is that there’s no rationale, and who could object to that? Applied globally, political correctness obliges us to forswear sovereignty. And, once you do that, then, as Country Joe and the Fish famously enquired, it’s one-two-three, what are we fighting for?

How, exactly, did we get to that pathetic status?

...Clearly, if one nation is responsible for near half the world’s military budget, a lot of others aren’t pulling their weight. The Pentagon outspends the Chinese, British, French, Russian, Japanese, German, Saudi, Indian, Italian, South Korean, Brazilian, Canadian, Australian, Spanish, Turkish, and Israeli militaries combined. So why doesn’t it feel like that? Well, for exactly that reason: If you outspend every serious rival combined, you’re obviously something other than the soldiery of a conventional nation state. But what exactly?

In the Nineties, the French liked to complain that “globalization” was a euphemism for “Americanization.” But one can just as easily invert the formulation: “Americanization” is a euphemism for “globalization,” in which the geopolitical sugar daddy is so busy picking up the tab for the global order he loses all sense of national interest.

Indeed. Obama is merely the latest practitioner of "do-good Kinetic Military Actions" (and easily the most flagrant.) But GWB, Clinton, LBJ, and Truman were all, more or less, creating the mold into which we now fit.

It's not a good place to be, and it's time for a very serious re-evaluation.

HT: Captain

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

“The President does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

- Senator Barack Obama, 2007