The Footprint We Can’t Afford
“There’s been a certain amount of pop sociology in America … that the Shia can’t get along with the Sunni and the Shia in Iraq just want to establish some kind of Islamic fundamentalist regime. There’s almost no evidence of that at all. Iraq’s always been very secular.”
~ William Kristol, April 4th, 2003
Joe Covered William Kristol’s comments below but I had a little more to add.
William Kristol takes to the pages of The Weekly Standard to bemoan the fact that the Conservative movement is in deep disarray.
And the conservative movement—a bulwark of American strength for the last several decades—is in deep disarray. Reading about some conservative organizations and Republican campaigns these days, one is reminded of Eric Hoffer’s remark, “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” It may be that major parts of American conservatism have become such a racket that a kind of refounding of the movement as a cause is necessary. A reinvigoration of the Republican party also seems desirable, based on a new generation of leaders, perhaps coming—as did Ike and Reagan—from outside the normal channels.
Of course he’s upset for all the wrong reasons. What he is really upset about is the Neocons are no longer in power and the US is no longer the world’s bully. He want’s the US to have a big footprint that it can no longer afford.
As the world unravels on Barack Obama’s watch, conservatives might want to take some solace in saying—We told you so! But they shouldn’t First of all, it’s not as if the Romney campaign or the GOP congressional leadership or most conservative organizations really spent much time bothering to warn of the consequences of Obama’s foreign policy. And in any case, there’s not much solace to be had, as the world coming apart threatens the well-being of America, not just the success of Barack Obama’s second term.
So what can conservatives do? They can explain that decline has been a choice, and that weakness has consequences. They can explain that Obama’s inaction in Syria now is of a piece with his inaction in Iran in 2009, that the abandonment of Iraq in 2011 prefigured the prospective abandonment of Afghanistan over the next couple of years, and that defense cuts at home go hand in hand with an oh-so-light footprint abroad. The Obama administration has chosen a course of American retrenchment and retreat. Conservatives can urge the president to reverse course. They can try to minimize the damage he can cause over the next four years. And, as important, they can prepare to be ready to repair the damage from the Obama years.
Sorry Billie, we simply can’t afford that big footprint anymore. We should have never gone into Iraq – a war based on lies and paid for on a credit card. Afghanistan now also appears to have been a mistake. And you want to get us involved in wars in Syria and advocate an attack on Iran.
And speaking of Iran – have you forgotten that Khomeini gained power in Iran because the democratically elected Prime Minster was overthrown by the CIA and universally hated Mohammad Reza Pahlavi was placed in power as a puppet of the US and Britain. Our interventions have not really worked out too well.
No we can’t afford that big footprint or the blow back that usually results when we insert ourselves.