Israel The Political Animal

A Misguided Argument About Anti-Semitism

This is not class warfare.
This is not class warfare.

(This essay originally appeared in the Algemeiner on February 11, 2014.)

In the Wall Street Journal of February 3, Harvard’s Ruth R. Wisse published an Op-Ed titled “The Dark Side of the War on ‘the One Percent.” In the article, Wisse argues for a “structural” connection between “anti-Semitism and American class conflict.” First tracing the rise of nineteenth century European anti-Semitism in the accusation that Jews took “unfair advantage of the emerging democratic order in Europe, with its promise of individual rights and competition, in order to dominate the fields of finance, culture and social ideas,” Wisse proceeds to find like grounds for potential anti-Semitic outbreak in President Obama’s and American progressives’ “sallies against Wall Street and the ‘one percent.’” She warns, therefore, against “[s]toking class envy” in a “politics of grievance directed against ‘the rich’” for fear of igniting a “politics of blame directed specifically at Jews.”

Wisse’s argument is both grievously mistaken and dangerously misguided. It is mistaken because it mischaracterizes the connection between anti-Semitism and class conflict, and it is misguided because the argument is, contrary to its concern, actually detrimental to Jewish interests.

First, when Wisse speaks of a “structural connection between a politics of blame directed specifically at Jews and a politics of grievance directed against “the rich,” she is mistaken in her use of the word “structural.” What is structural isinherent, part of the makeup of a thing. To claim that aggrieved attention to any perceived excess accumulation of wealth in a society will inevitably lead to Jews and an outbreak of anti-Semitism is oddly, inadvertently, actually to accept the anti-Semitic formulation of Jews and wealth. In any contemporary Western society, attention to wealth will at least as likely, in far greater numbers, lead the attentive to Christians, atheists and many other groups. The choice of the anti-Semitic to focus on Jews only or particularly is thus selective, not structural, a development contingent on the genuine social and psychological causes of anti-Semitism, not on a true measure of Jewish wealth and power.

Ironically, Wisse is herself selective, seemingly constructing a necessary entailment of reasons and conclusions, leading from progressive concern with gross income and wealth inequality to the incitement of anti-Semitism. Yet, just as Wisse shapes her argument by her choice of the word “structural,” so does she by her use of phraseology such as “class envy,” a “war on the one percent,” and a “politics of grievance.” The problem might well be otherwise expressed and the argument, then, otherwise viewed. Ever did those people with consider any peep of objection from those people without to be an unseemly display of envy and resentment. The Bourbons of France and the Romanovs of Russia also thought themselves set upon and, like Tom Perkins, the victims of “class warfare.”

The Bourbons and the Romanovs themselves, however, were engaged in no class warfare: they were just a feature of nature, like the course of the sun, the divine-right hand of God, or the invisible hand of the free market. (See for this last the recently passed Farm Bill.) It is not “class warfare” or envy that is stoked when state governors, like that of Wisconsin, funded by two of the wealthiest brothers in the United States, campaign (to invoke more military vocabulary) to revoke the labor rights of public employees and to set private employees with their dwindling 401k’s enviously against public-sector employees, who often enjoy the genuine pensions the resentful should wish for themselves and not seek to take from their fellows in a “politics of grievance.”

The language shapes everything. It molds the argument the writer develops. It directs the understanding of the reader to whom the argument is made. If we speak, with less bile, as I did, not of envy and grievance but of “concern with gross income and wealth inequality,” perhaps we invoke less frightening ill will. If we recall James Madison, from Federalist No. 10, who advised that “the most common and durable source of factions has been the various and unequal distribution of property” and that the “regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation,” then perhaps we sound less alarmingly revolutionary, or at least revolutionary in a reassuring and founding American way.

Yet while Wisse is mistaken in the language she employs, and her argument misshapen by that language, she is also misguided in the implications to which she leads by this argument.

The force of Wisse’s argument is to drive American Jews self-interestedly away from “progressivism.” This would be, to echo Wisse, a “dangerous” development. To clarify how, we must briefly attend to language again.

The term “progressive” like so much political nomenclature, opens a broad umbrella. It may, depending on individual usage, cover everyone on the left from moderate Democrats to full-out liberals to socialists to postcolonial culture warriors to recalcitrant Marxists. The farthest left of these, like the far right, have ugly histories with Jews. In the anti-Zionism of some today, they are no friends to Jews now. But among those who was also called progressive was the Republican President Teddy Roosevelt.

Roosevelt was the trust busting conservationist who dramatically expanded the national parks and signed into law the first federal food and drug legislation. In that spirit, it is American progressivism that gave birth over the twentieth century to the full range of labor and economic and social safety net protections on which Americans have come to rely almost as if they are – to choose a word – structural features of reality, though, of course, they are not. They are social enlightenments born not of envy and grievance, but of the progressive belief that the quality of a life – the inherent value of it – should not be measured by the quantification only of what that one life can earn for itself in the free market. It is American progressivism that brought us the civil rights era, with its continuing and expanding benefit in access and human dignity to so many different minorities, including Jews, for it is only that era that brought to a close, for instance, the Jewish quota at Wisse’s Harvard, and ensured, similarly, that I might be admitted to graduate school at Columbia University on merit and not denied entry by reason of my Jewish birth because of longstanding quotas there.

Progressivism made the America in which Jews may feel so secure. To think that American Jews should fear progressive interest in economic justice, progressive belief in what Madison gave us as the proper “regulation of these various and interfering interests” that arise from and expand “the various and unequal distribution of property” is to counsel Jews most unwisely against their own interests. For an America committed in belief and in policy to serving equity and justice will remain for Jews a secure home.

More strategically, with regard to the profound American-Jewish interest in Israel, Wisse’s misidentification would only exacerbate a problem that has indeed developed in the farther left reaches of Western progressivism. It is visible for all to see that Marxist-inspired post-nationalism has joined with postcolonial analyses of culture and power to fixate perversely on Israel and Jewish nationalism as the exemplars of what they oppose. The true current danger is that this irrational, though fashionable misunderstanding is leaking toward more moderate quarters of progressivism. We see this in the growing attention in academia, for instance, to the BDS campaign.

This growing tendency requires a response. It needs to be combated. One way to do that is to clarify both what true progressivism is and what Israel is, which is, in the latter case, despite the pressures of seven decades of conflict and of internal theocratic forces, a nation that has been from the start and remains, socially, astonishingly progressive. Israel’s enemies are enemies of all that is progressive. They are among the most retrograde and increasingly regressive societies in the world, and true progressives should be among Israel’s most natural allies.

But it is true, too, that the political desire to moderate, rather than amplify, systematically arising economic inequities will remain a defining feature of progressive political philosophy. Grossly mistaking and mischaracterizing that profoundly moral commitment as a danger to Jews would work to drive a wedge where one already needs to be removed. Israel and Jews need to work to maintain and recover allies whose sympathies should naturally be theirs, not to sever those ties by declaring those allies’ highest ideals a danger to Jewish interests.

That misguidance would be the danger to Jews.


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On The Road The Political Animal

Make Tomorrow


My previous post represents my appeal to the intellect. This is a different appeal on behalf of that progressive vision of tomorow.

Julia and I lived through 9/11 in Prague. After several days there, we drove to Vienna for a stay, then traveled by train to Budapest. Later we returned to Vienna to pick up our Peugeot and drive through the mountains into Italy and across the North to the Riviera.

In Budapest, in a music store on Váci Street, I picked up a tape by Peter Gabriel of his lesser known Ovo live performance recording. It includes the song below, to which I listened all throughout our drive through the Alps and to Verona. Sometimes during the long hours of driving, Julia would lift her head from my shoulder at my behest to catch a glimpse of Julie Andrews running across a high meadow above. As often, I drove while she slept, staring ahead, my deeply bruised spirits salved by this song.

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The Political Animal

The End of American Democracy


A dissenter will call it hyperbole, an opponent hysterical, some of its targets sensational. We will all or we will not find out – any of us today, I mean, for confirmation may take far longer to receive than the length of our short lives. Rome, you know, word is, was not built in a day, but it did not decline in a day either. Likely, there was no Roman in 290 CE who felt the shift, a start in the earth’s movement or a diminution of the light, and said, “This is the moment,” even though Rome would not be sacked until 410 or Romulus Augustus deposed until 476. The Eastern Roman Empire survived another thousand years, and no doubt its leading lights thought not that a fall had occurred but only the inevitable transformations, in continuity, over time. Which is to say that such a “fall” is really a matter of understanding, not an event – an insight, a recognition, a knowledge acquired that historical developments have left more behind in their occurrence than whatever may have been gained.

I say the election of Mitt Romney to the Presidency, if it occurs, will be that moment for the United States, when the shift could be felt if one cocked one’s head to attune for the vibration. I say it for two reasons. One reason is the programmatic effect on the American nation that Romney’s policies will have, both in representing the values and policies of the contemporary GOP and in extending the “Reagan Revolution.” The other reason, more emblematic, is what it would mean that such a man as Mitt Romney could be elected to the Presidency and that he could be elected in the manner by which Romney will have gained the office.

Of course, there are those to the left and right, different from those who would belittle what they think my excess, who will snort their contempt at so late a recognition. For them, the neoliberal corruption, and the plutocratic charade – the fundamental capitalist crime – were committed long ago, or the opposing loss of our liberty to the unchristian alien socialist hordes suffered just as far back in time under a conspiratorial eye of providence. These contradictory contentions are the curse of unruly democracy – the perpetual confusion of claims with conclusions, of intricate phantasms with arguments. The speaker’s corner of the public square is the think tank for loopy autodidacts and distempered experts. In a healthy system, the vocalizing of these crackpots and agitant spirits demonstrates the breadth and depth of our liberalism. But what Mitt Romney will lead, should he come to lead it, will be no healthy system.

What a Romney presidency will finish, especially were it to extend to two terms, as most presidencies do, is the comprehensive reversal of the liberal American polity that has its roots in the presidencies of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, and that was firmly established by Franklyn Roosevelt. By the time Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society seemed to cement that liberalism into the bedrock of the nation, the reaction against it that has ruled the country since was already mounting toward the Reagan presidency.

As I wrote in “From the People Who Brought You Richard Nixon & George W. Bush,” when considering the historic significance of the Richard Nixon win over Hubert Humphrey in 1968, from 1968 until Barack Obama’s election in 2008, Republicans held the presidency for 28 out of 40 years. Were Romney to defeat Obama and serve two terms, those numbers would extend to 36 of 52, an overwhelming preponderance and duration of Republican presidential power lasting more than half a century. The only domination in the history of the country exceeding it is the 72 year period from 1860 until 1932 – from the election of Abraham Lincoln to that of FDR – when Republicans held the presidency for 56 years against the Democrats’ 16 years (counting Andrew Johnson’s term as a continuation of Lincoln’s). This was the period that made the New Deal necessary.

For this era of GOP domination the numbers are everywhere available – I do not need to repeat them. The three decades of mushrooming income inequality, of wealth inequality. The stagnant wages for the middle class. The dismissal from pragmatic political calculation of any discussion of poverty. The sweeping assault on, and decimation of, organized labor. The increasing political rule, via unchecked lobbying power, judicial decision, and massive wealth expenditure of corporations. The bureaucratic government rollback of legislated environmental protections. The present open concentration – even as liberal America is pleased by the rapid advance in Gay rights – on undoing four decades of progress in women’s and reproductive rights. The conservative transformation of the Supreme Court that will extend this conservative reaction for decades past any end to its domination of the presidency.

Internationally, the United States has remained strategically unreoriented to the end of the Cold War. Over two decades after communism’s demise, the U.S. has retained the worldwide bulwark erected against it transformed into an uncritical and arrogant assumption of imperial right. Finally, President Obama has made the first genuine moves to alter this course in response to world currents. But Romney’s GOP would reassert the claims of unchecked American prerogative – confirming the claims of many of the nation’s critics – even in the absence, into another century, of a Cold War enemy.

After George W. Bush and with only a four-year Obama interregnum, a Romney presidency, at home and abroad, will produce a nation many of its inhabitants will neither recognize nor embrace as theirs. A hard truth is that in its moral pride the United States has been living off only a few very great accomplishments, beginning with its founding ideals and documents, for a very long time. The last of them, the American lead in winning the Second World War and in rebuilding Europe is now over six decades old. What followed, the resistance to the world communist movement was a moral, was a necessary struggle to engage, but in its countless lesser and greater particulars, was not remotely ennobling.

Any continuing claim to American Exceptionalism, residing not in nature or God, but in the enactment of national ideals, rests in the liberal social progress of the American twentieth century – a progress more than equaled by many liberal democracies. And this is precisely what the Republican Party, since Ronald Reagan and through the election of Mitt Romney, seeks completely to undo.

There is more, however.

Wise critics of democratic charades, with their dog and pony shows of free elections never again repeated – in Venezuela or Gaza or Russia, and of which, in fact, there is a horrific history – properly instruct us that democracy is not a single event, a performance of a script – but a spirit and a process, of repeated performance institutionalized and revered over time. To believe that, in the end, how one pursues and gains political power is separable from how one exercises it is a fool’s self-deception. It is a fool’s self-deception to believe that our democratic nature is untouched by a corruption of the republican spirit meant to adhere to a democratic process and the liberating enactment of free and genuine debate.

Against all this, Mitt Romney is the Orwellian candidate of Newspeak, of RomneySpeak. In RomneySpeak, Anti-Obama is pro-Obama. Opposition to unfettered reproductive rights is support for women’s rights. Advocating letting the auto industry fail was advocacy for saving it. Championing universal health coverage is demonizing it. Pro big business is pro middle class. Moderate is “severely conservative” is moderate again. War is peace. “Etch-a-sketch.”

Beyond the lies, however, and the complete absence of any authentic public identity and character (it matters not to the culture of the polis how much Mitt Romney loves his family and gives to his church), the willingness to say anything and alter his identity the way a snake shucks off skins, is the astounding reality that Mitt Romney has told us and shown us on every day of his pursuit of power exactly who he is. He has run for the Presidency of the United States like a wolf with a chicken feather sticking out of his mouth – and the farm hands all the families have relied on to protect the livestock – our self-important and self-satisfied political media – have thought it their meaningful work to marvel at his speed, analyze his stealth, and consider the odds of his making it into the main house without getting caught.

The sad truth is that while politicians as a class are cynical opportunists in the pursuit of power, the journalists who cover them make the same short sale of democracy for the modest reward of a little recognition and inclusion in the game. They have acquiesced to the cynical rules of the game, and beyond the casual obligatory nod to the game’s essential lie, they proceed to analyze policies they know are fake and dress political lies in the cover of acceptable tactics and strategy. When they should be blowing the lid off Romney’s whole, stinking long con of the electorate, they review it, instead, like legitimate theater.

It’s all a show, and everybody’s an actor, don’t you know. Grow up.

Mitt Romney did not invent political opportunism and evasion. The history of the political lie told in a handshake to gain a vote is the history of politics. But the merger of politics with lobbying and billion-dollar, third-party advertising and polling and consultancy and spinmeisters from Dick Morris to Frank Luntz, and all of those with journalists who cover them and consider their hands around the tables they now share has degraded the process and the outcome beyond all worthwhile democratic recognition.

The truth is captured in the final scene of the Mike Nichols film version of Primary Colors. In it, the Bill Clinton character offers the essential argument in defense of his career and of the fundamental dishonesty of the campaign process. It is all the “price you pay to lead,” he tells his young aid, who is still susceptible to conscience. “You don’t think that Abraham Lincoln was a whore before he was a President,” he argues. But once you’re President, he claims, ah, but once you’re President, “that’s where the bullshit stops.”

Then you can do good, because you are better than the others who would not stop bullshitting and would not do good, and you know you are different from those who would lie their way to power and then not do good because, well, you are you, and you know you would never bullshit the people, not when it really counted, not like when looking them in the eye at a news conference and shaking your finger, or on a witness stand contextualizing the presentness of the present tense – or when running for President of the United States in lying theft of every vote you gain.

Mitt Romney did not invent what he is, and, in part, it does not matter what his policies are. If he wins the presidency, he will have been what he is better than anyone who ever came before him. He will have gained the leadership of the greatest democracy the world has ever known on the basis of a complete fraud, by lying without restraint about not only his opponent and the nation, but about himself, who he is, and what he believes. He will have corrupted the very meaning of democratic debate and contest and rendered the process that gained him office a meaningless pretense from which the nation will likely never recover.




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The Political Animal

From the People Who Brought You Richard Nixon & George W. Bush

Who has a shorter memory than the perpetual loser? Over and over the perpetual loser performs the same self-defeating act. Again and again, the loser fails, and failing, finds cause for failure in the inadequacy of others. Charlie Brown runs, as he has run countless times before, for the football Lucy holds to the ground, and which she withdraws yet again, at the ultimate instant, just before Charlie’s flailing kick. Upending himself, he falls to the ground, and cries out in despair, “How long, O Lord.”

Lucy, analyzing Charlie’s unknowing allusion to scripture, offers the final verdict.

“All your life, Charlie Brown. All your life.”

And you thought Peanuts was all sweetness and Christmas specials.

If you are a self-described liberal or progressive anticipating the 2012 presidential election, then you need to beware. For Lucy is coming and she brings her football with her. The same Puritopians who helped elect Richard Nixon president and who practically gave the 2000 election away to George W. Bush, now want to persuade you that the reelection of Barak Obama is not a momentous and meaningful prospect.

Here is Glenn Greenwald, one of the more popular voices of Puritopia (and neither liberal nor progressive anyway) sounding the meme:

Watch the Soros video yourselves. Apparently for the lawyer Greenwald, nuance is like the exculpatory evidence that refutes appearance and shows the defendant innocent. If a mainstream journalist distorted events like this, Glenn Greenwald, blogger, would burn his ass. But who made George Soros the arbiter, and that isn’t even the point.

In 1968 white segregationist George Wallace ran as a third party candidate against Vice President Hubert Humphrey and Republican Richard Nixon, declaring that there wasn’t “a dime’s worth of difference” between the Democratic and Republican parties. The meme may have been that of a racist Southern governor, but the belief was adopted by that era’s version of the Puritopian – the most extreme elements of the antiwar left, who refused to forgive Humphrey for his loyal service to Lyndon Johnson and thus withheld from him their support. In September 1968 Humphrey was 18 points behind Nixon in the polls. He made moves to mollify his Democratic critics, and by just before the election, he was only 2 points behind. He lost the popular vote by a mere 500,000 votes. Significantly, while Nixon won 86% of the registered Republican vote, Humphrey won only 74% of registered Democrats. Democratic division before and after the ’68 convention caused many McCarthy, Kennedy, and McGovern supporters to withhold their votes from Humphrey.

It is so recent, we need not review the events of 2000 and the direct link between the candidacy of Ralph Nader and the loss of Al Gore to George W. Bush, after Nader conducted his campaign on the claim that the two major party candidates were “Tweedledee and Tweedledum.” First, then, consider, in just the broadest terms, how different would be the history of the contemporary United States had Hubert Humphrey gained the presidency in 1968 rather than Nixon. Watergate and the following twenty-four year Democratic exile from shaping the national direction are the broadest strokes. Here, in contrast, is a detail, a dot, that broadens to a wide swath across the canvass: in 1972, Nixon appointed William Rehnquist to the Supreme Court. Rehnquist served for thirty-three years, nineteen of them as the third-longest serving Chief Justice in history.

Rehnquist was still on the court in 2000 and was part of the Republican-appointed Supreme Court majority that gave the 2000 election victory to Bush over Gore. One Puritopian deliverance of the presidency to the GOP played a role thirty-two years later in another.

Imagine, again, in just the broadest terms, the changed history of the United States had Gore rightfully gained the presidency. Almost certainly, there would have been no Iraq War. There would have been no Bush tax cuts. These are the two largest contributors to the national debt. Observe Bush’s appointments to the Supreme Court – young men likely to serve as long as Rehnquist.

From 1968 until Obama’s election in 2008, Republicans held the presidency for 28 out of 40 years. Had Humphrey and Gore been president, the numbers would have been reversed. When we speak, as all on the left do these days, of the thirty-year decline in middle-class financial security, earning power, and wealth, and the obscene increases in riches and plutocratic power among the wealthiest Americans, this is a democratic decline concurrent with the rise of American conservatism and its access to presidential power.

When the Puritopians speak of no difference between the parties, they are like interplanetary probes scanning an alien planet. They cannot see the trees for the forest. Because the two parties both espouse capitalism and run candidates subject to the same human foibles and who play by the same corrupting rules they are given as brokers of power, Puritopians want to pull the ball away. They obscure in their every resentful, rageful blast against the system the individuals who would have jobs under democratic governance, with union protection, and growing earnings, enabled to love and marry and serve as they choose, living under the protection of law and agency enforcement that would uphold their rights in difference, and work to protect their water and their food.

Remember how you felt, if you were around, the night Richard Nixon won, and every day of his presidency. Remember the fallen hopes of December 2000, and the years that justified their fall. Listen to these GOP candidates when they speak. Imagine the country you will face on November 6 of this year if one of them wins. Try to persuade yourself it will be no different from the country you wake up to tomorrow, or the one that Barak Obama will continue to try to develop as of that post-election day, especially with a Democratic congress. Do you think the GOP and Tea Parties and conservatives hate him so much because he is no different from them? They know. How can you not? And who is it who tries to persuade you to diminish the circumstances of your own life out of rage against an imperfect world and system that can never deliver to you all you wish it could?

Has this belief that there is no difference between the parties gained the results its adherents hoped for before? In 1968? In 2000? Is the country better for it? Did we smash the system, start all over, make it all better? Or did we only hand power to those who made it worse?

If you wish for some kind of revolution, that dismantling of the system and believe in starting all over, then I can say nothing to you.

Do you think some third party candidate will win in November? Who? Really? Come on.

Do you think, well, we didn’t make it happen in 2000, or with Nader 04 and 08, but we’ll make it happen one day, we’ll get it done? Well, then, my friend, you believe in the hard work of slow change, and sometimes faster, and the gradual betterment of a human and imperfect world. Instead, then, of believing all your effort the invisible, wondrous cause of an outcome, someday, of successive defeats, and all the dispiriting losses that follow from them, why not work along the way to feel that change a little bit each day, even though there will always be so much more to do?

It is a far better thing to be disappointed in your president, if that’s how you feel, than to despise everything he stands for. You can work with the former. With the latter you can only talk idly again about leaving the country. Or, worse, you can do it – after just handing it over.

If Obama loses in November, Glenn Greenwald will still be writing for Salon (probably, or if not, some other publication). He’ll still be shuttling between the U.S. and Brazil. He’ll get to rage against another perfidious president and the same old rot – but, really, you know, rather worse.

And you, progressive, liberal, mon semblable, mon frère – what will be the prospects of your life on the day New Gingrich or Mitt Romney takes office? How will fare the poor, the uninsured, the working man and woman, the retired, the immigrant, the gay, the different, our environment? How better will we manage the American role in the world? Will you really feel no different?

How many times do we have to do this? How many times do we have to play this game? Because I’m telling you, Glenn Greenwald is kneeling with his ball in his hands. He’s whispering, “I’ll hold the football, and you come running up and kick it.” And he’s smiling.


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The Political Animal

The U.S. International Role: Conservative & Progressive

I offered my take on the current war of words and ideas over whether the U.S. should engage in more warlike action in Libya. Now, there are three essential considerations at The Atlantic.

Substituting for James Fallows, Sam Roggeveen offers here and here, with more to come, two deeply considered  posts (beneath the common sturm und drang) on the nature of international “society” and what a historically appropriate U.S. engagement in it should be.

The benefits of an international society — a law-bound international order marked by authoritative institutions and universally recognized traditions — may not be readily apparent to Americans. After all, systems of laws has little attraction for those with the resources to protect themselves in an anarchical world. But in the multipolar order to come, international society will be far more important to the U.S.

Now, realists are not necessarily against the idea of international institutions such as the UN. As I said in the previous posts, they see such bodies as a useful stage for the international power struggle — a way to manage competition. But that misses their deeper purpose, which is to tame or sublimate the power contest. In my previous post I quoted the English conservative philosopher Roger Scruton, and here he is again on the importance of constitution. It is the conservative’s desire, Scruton says,

…to see power not naked in the forum of politics, but clothed in constitution, operating always through an adequate system of law, so that it’s movement seems never barbarous or oppressive, but always controlled and inevitable, an expression of the civilized vitality through which allegiance is inspired.

In reference to Roggeveen, about calls for U.S. intervention, which are not just coming from conservatives, Andrew Sullivan offers this:

What’s striking to me is how many American conservatives actually long for the exercize of brute force or constant executive action in the face of a dramatically changing world. This they call strength – even after the debacles of Bush’s executive whims. They see the role of an American president as mastering the world, controlling events, forcing everything through the prism of post-war American hegemony. But that hegemony is over, partly because of America’s success in defeating the Soviets and China’s and India’s successes in forging a new economic order. The kind of hegemony Nixon or Reagan enjoyed was an accident of history. It will not be regained, by the laws of economics, and demography.

Roggeveen ends today’s post with the a telling and challenging insight.

Now, if there are any conservatives left reading this post, they may well be thinking that this all sounds rather … well … progressive. In my next post, I want to explain why conservatives can’t just dismiss this as a lefty CINO (conservative-in-name-only) plot.

This seemingly paradoxical union of the conservative and progressive is exactly how to understand the foreign policy of Barack Obama.

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