The sun set on Britain as international political/moral actor, of import, a long time ago, yet Mr. Rachman engages in a kind of rhetorical version of political nostalgia, not exactly mirroring that of Niall Ferguson’s nostalgia for Empire, but continuing the deeply held notion, that is indeed a fiction, of British Indispensability.
American Exceptionalism rules all Foreign Policy debate in America, even as other political actors are on the rise, like China and India. Declinism is an idee fixe of the Ferguson world view, steeped in a ersatz political nostalgia for a lost world dominance.
What are ‘British Values’ ? Supporting the new 30 Years War? Spending on War while cutting the Welfare State to the point of being able to drown it in a bathtub, to paraphrase American Grover Norquist? Hilary Benn and Mr. Rachman are part of a long tradition of political nostalgics, who find the political world refracted through a failed Neo-Liberalism, and its ally the myth of a hegemony lost, a very powerful mythology.
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The strategy adopted since the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and the toppling of Saddam Hussein by America and its allies:
‘L. Paul Bremer III, a self-described “bedrock Republican,” also had no experience in Iraq and couldn’t speak Arabic. With only two weeks to prepare, he made what everyone now admits were two drastic mistakes that the U.S. is still trying to correct: banning a huge number of Baath party members from government jobs and disbanding Iraq’s army.’
And The Surge in Iraq:
‘“We had it won, thanks to the surge. It was won.” — John McCain, Sept. 11, 2014
The goals of the Iraq surge were spelled out explicitly by the White House in Jan. 2007: Stop the raging sectarian bloodletting and reconcile Sunnis, Shiites, and Kurds in the government. “A successful strategy for Iraq goes beyond military operations,” then-President George W. Bush said.
In light of all that has happened since that announcement, it is jaw-dropping to still hear the surge described as a success. Yet the myth of its success is as alive as it is dangerous. It’s a myth that prevents us from grappling with the realities of the last effort in Iraq, even as we embark on another.’
Just two examples of the utter incompetence of American Leadership in The War on Terror! What makes you think that a coalition led by America, Russia and its allies can improve on their abysmal failure that has left the ‘Middle East’ in chaos. How many bombing raids will it take? How much ‘collateral damage’, meaning how many innocent lives will need to be sacrificed to the ‘greater good’? Please read Mr. Bacevich’s essay. It describes in vivid detail the political fate of America, which should be viewed as a cautionary tale by Europeans:Holland, Cameron and even Putin!