Everybody's Got One
A blog. An opinion. An elimination orifice. A dream. An agenda. A past. A hidden talent. A conceptual filter. A cross. A charism (often the same). A task. A wound. A destiny. A lost love. A blind spot. A bad habit. A secret. A passion. A soul ... okay, maybe not everybody ...
Friday, October 24, 2003

 

Mackubin Thomas Owens on Bush Doctrine:
The United States is not an empire, but it is a "hegemonic power" and that is a good thing, not only for the United States but also for the world as a whole.
A good thing for the world, most assuredly, but maybe not so much for the US. Not so obviously, anyway; costs far outweigh the perceived benefits. Not just the direct costs in blood and treasure and civil liberties and the inescapable enmity of the ungrateful, but in opportunity costs as well. (The defeatists are right in this much: without the guns, we could afford a lot more butter. Perhaps enough to sustain the welfare state for another handful of decades.)

More than that, I remain enough of a Jeffersonian to worry about the costs to the American soul. There are stresses and strains and scars-in-the-making that we can't even imagine yet.

Perhaps the problem is that, while American hegemony is a positive good for the world - (relative) international stability, safety and freedom of the seas, a reliable world currency, a dynamic economic engine to pull the train, the presumption that democratic means (and goals) are desirable in themselves, a thousand other things the world takes for granted because America does the heavy lifting - the benefits to America are a negative good. Without the US things could - and would - be worse.

American hegemony is a lousy way to organize the world - except for all the other available alternatives.

Not very satisfying - and it makes a terrible bumper sticker.

posted by Kelly | 1:42 PM link
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