May 17, 2006


From Kennedy’s Cold War to the War on Terror: Gareth Jenkins looks for continuities in American foreign policy from the 1960s to the 2000s. (Gareth Jenkins, June 2006, History Today)

'The United States is in the early years of a long struggle, similar to what our country faced in the early years of the Cold War. The 20th century witnessed the triumph of freedom over the threats of fascism and communism. Yet a new totalitarian ideology now threatens, an ideology grounded not in secular philosophy but in the perversion of a proud religion.’
--US National Security Strategy, March 2006

The US invasion of Iraq of 2003 is viewed by many as a historical watershed, as ushering in a new era in which the world’s only superpower feels unconstrained in resorting to pre-emptive military action to achieve its strategic goals. For the first time in more than half a century the term imperialism has regained common currency, and there is renewed interest in understanding the European scramble for colonies in the late nineteenth century.

No doubt the period we are entering does in many ways mark a new historical phase. Global power relations are accommodating rapidly to new economic realities – the collapse of the Soviet bloc, the rise of China and India and the emergence of structural weaknesses in the US economy. Nevertheless, as George Bush recently reminded us, there are many continuities with the past half century of the American exercise of power.

There have been continual assaults on the sovereignty of Third World countries, backed by covert and overt military interventions, throughout the period since the Cold War was launched. [...]

The ideological underpinnings of America’s projection of its global power are very different today from what they were in Kennedy’s time. During the Cold War, Washington could at least point to an enemy that controlled a huge state armed with nuclear weapons. Today one is asked to believe that life as we know it is threatened from a cave in Afghanistan, or by Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction that no one could find, or by a civil nuclear programme in Iran that could, one day perhaps, morph into a military programme.

The ideological underpinnings never waver, only the enemies of that ideology do:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 17, 2006 1:42 PM


What if our own Government becomes "destructive" of those ends.

A substantial minority of the center, center-left, and center-right believe this to be so (though they can't agree on the source or how to fix it)

Majorities of the far-left & far right believe that our government has become destructive of "these ends," and can make at least one or two points "proving" their case.

Further, the opportunities to "alter or abolish" our own problems is under attack from every direction (at least in my opinion).

I'm looking out over the horizon, and I see things getting very shaky. At times, the cheerleading on this site is one of the few things that keeps me optimistic.

Posted by: Bruno at May 17, 2006 2:24 PM

Which is why America will devolve into several states eventually. Seculars don't even believe in the basis of those ideals so why would they remain in a state Founded on them? They'll split off into their own European-style states and die off quietly. No big deal.

Posted by: oj at May 17, 2006 2:35 PM

Bruno, you're right to be optimistic and oj's just being contrary. We'll break up into secular states? Nah.

Posted by: erp at May 17, 2006 2:45 PM


Florida won't--it's Judeo-Christian.

Posted by: oj at May 17, 2006 3:02 PM

The Untied States will become a part of OJ's global, borderless, multicultural glob of ignorant powerless peons. Take any Latin American country and use it for a template.

Posted by: NC3=KKK at May 17, 2006 4:32 PM

There are no Latin American countries that have large scale immigration.

Posted by: oj at May 17, 2006 5:09 PM

erp, Agreed. The pot is simmering right now, but I don't think we are yet living in "interesting times" of the really serious sort, like 1776, 1860, 1939, or even 1968. Could change, of course, but there have been much worse storms weathered.

Posted by: jdkelly at May 17, 2006 6:19 PM

BTW, OJ, will New Hampshire live free or die?

Posted by: jdkelly at May 17, 2006 6:25 PM


We don't much like any of y'all flatlanders.

Posted by: oj at May 17, 2006 7:48 PM

I guess you're fixin' to die.

Posted by: jdkelly at May 17, 2006 7:53 PM

oj. Florida is only the latest of our home states. All the other were firmly in red territory and I don't think they'll cave either.

Funny, I'm not religious and yet I have faith in the America, faith in those oddly dressed teenagers at the mall even. What's wrong with you believers? How about some halleluiahs. One of the other female bros made a statement that I thought was brilliant. There was a lot of grumbling and she said, "The U.S. isn't perfect. Boo Hoo."

No we're not perfect, we're still a work in progress. Let's cut ourselves some slack here. Just think tonight at 9:00 PM, we may learn what happened to Michael and Walt.

Oh, and keep smiling, it drives the moonbats nuts!

Posted by: erp at May 17, 2006 8:01 PM


Yes, you are, you're just a vicarious believer.

Posted by: oj at May 17, 2006 8:13 PM

We'll be independent of everyone.

Posted by: oj at May 17, 2006 8:16 PM

Independent? Planning to sign a bunch of free trade agreements to import your food? And what about heating oil? Can you convince Jeb to let you drill near the Chinese rigs Castro wants to set up off the coast of Cuba?

Posted by: jim hamlen at May 17, 2006 10:00 PM

Why would trade be any different?

Posted by: oj at May 17, 2006 10:06 PM