The War Against ‘Isolationism’
The empire strikes back
(AntiWar.com) -- by Justin Raimondo --
Yesterday’s radicalism is today’s conventional wisdom – and nothing underscores this truism more than the current foreign policy debate. Remember way back when neoconservatives were calling for “draining the swamp” of the Middle East, George W. Bush was hailing the advent of a “global democratic revolution” to be led by the US, and anyone who dissented was marginalized as part of what Andrew Sullivan called a pro-terrorist “fifth column”? Those were heady days for the War Party, which was still enjoying the momentum of the post-9/11 rage that sucked us into two major wars simultaneously. It was also before the Great Meltdown of 2008, when the biggest pillars of the American economy creaked, cracked, and nearly collapsed of their own weight.
As a great songwriter put it a couple of decades ago: the times, they are a’changing.
A Pew poll taken a couple of years ago in which respondents were asked whether the US should “mind its own business” showed a huge disparity between elite and hoi polloi opinion on the matter, with the elites saying “No, no, a thousand times no!” and the plebeians answering “Heck yeah!” I suspect elite opinion hasn’t changed much: among the general public, however, recent polls show an even more overwhelming popular consensus in favor of non-intervention, including one taken by The Hill newspaper which records a whopping 72 percent saying “the United States is fighting in too many places,” and a mere 16 percent saying “the current level of engagement represented an appropriate level.” (Twelve percent weren’t sure.)...
For the first time since the 1970s, the American ruling class is frightened to death that its global empire is in danger of being subverted on the home front by an “isolationist” movement, and elite pundits are up in arms. Liberal columnist Richard Cohen writes that the President should leave “as few as possible” troops in Afghanistan, but then avers:
“The trouble with recommending such a course is that it conforms to the foreign policy views of almost all the Republican presidential candidates. Their position regarding Afghanistan is, however, just a piece of their wholesale embrace of Herbert Hoover Republicanism. They would turn the country inward – what Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham characterize as isolationism – while also adopting Hoover’s disastrous economic policy. Not satisfied with a recession, they would cut government spending and bring on a depression..."
Our anti-Hooverites are devout Keynesians: they believe government spending can lift America out of its economic depression, and this is the largely unacknowledged motive behind elite liberal support for our failed foreign policy of global intervention. Because military spending is indeed government spending, and, in the Keynesian mindset, the more the merrier.
For years, the US has poured its resources into making itself into the military arsenal of the world, while our traditional industries have atrophied. At a time when the rest of the economy is sliding into the abyss, the military-industrial complex is doing just fine, thank you. US military operations abroad, and the billions we ship overseas in “foreign aid,” may impoverish most of us – but some people are profiting, particularly US exporters. If our role as world policeman is abolished, or even cut back, that means, in the short term, more Americans on the ever-lengthening unemployment line.
Our elites have neither the will, nor the intention, of shrinking the US presence in the world: they are far too invested, politically and psychologically, in the idea that Washington is and must remain the center of the known universe. Within the limits of the District of Columbia, the virtue of humility is nearly unknown: indeed, it is considered a vice. Rather than admit defeat, they are willing to risk whatever political consequences might follow from their stubborn hubris, confident that they’ve rigged the political system sufficiently to render the popular revolt against interventionism impotent.
How it will end is anybody’s guess, but mine is this: our elites, like those in the Middle East (and now Europe), are underestimating the rage boiling beneath the surface of everyday life in America. Smugly complacent, they scold the people for succumbing to “isolationism” and assure them that they – the “experts” – know best how to solve the world’s problems … when they can’t even solve the problems we are confronting here at home...MORE...LINK