At the U.S. Army War College's 16th Annual Strategy
Conference last week, a senior Department of Defense strategist defined U.S.
"Grand Strategy" as the export of freedom and democracy. He added
that the U.S. military would play a huge role in implementing the strategy.
In short, and to paraphrase, the official said: "Get ready, soldiers, you're
Exporting freedom and democracy is not a Grand Strategy. It may be an ambition,
an obsession, or – most likely – a hallucination. The idea that such exports
are a "Grand Strategy" spotlights the ignorance about America of the
men and women who today lead the country. Ditto for many of the 535 individuals
in the Senate and House. America is not a nation meant to order others how to
live and then push them at bayonet point into that lifestyle. The cost of such
a policy, John
Quincy Adams wrote, would be the loss of America's soul.
The force behind this Grand Strategy is President Bush's inane, ahistorical
claim that "The survival of liberty in our land increasingly depends on the
success of liberty in other lands." This is pure Wilsonian claptrap with the
lethality-multiplying extra of being hands-on, rather than rhetorical Wilsonianism
– the difference being that foreigners died from the latter, while Americans
will die from the former. Mr. Bush, Mr. Rumsfeld, Ms. Rice, Mr. Cambone, Mr.
Wolfowitz, Mr. Bolton, and their acolyte front organizations at the Weekly
Standard, American Enterprise Institute, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies,
etc., are not bad or evil people. They're just confused and ignorant about the
meaning of America.
And, like Wilson, Bush is ill-served by some of his advisers, public and private.
Wilson had House, Page, and Lansing, each of whom put British interests above
American and pushed us into world war. Bush has Wolfowitz, Rumsfeld, and Perle,
who seem to conflate Israel's interests with America's and are pushing us toward
a war with Islam. Indeed, U.S. elites across party lines bask in this American-killing
Wilsonianism is nothing more than cynically promising oppressed people freedom
that cannot be delivered without using force. As an anti-military, provincial
bigot, Wilson knew this. He knew Americans would not allow their sons to be
killed in large numbers so that 1919 Bosnia-Herzogovinians could vote. He also
knew the rhetoric of "self-determination" and "teaching people
to elect good men" would cost him nothing. He did not care what it cost
the foreigners who believed his twaddle; they could not vote.
Today's Wilsonians, with father-and-son Bush in the van, are far more dangerous
to America than the late, unlamented Wilson. Their ignorance of the Founders'
intentions and lack of any semblance of the Founders' wisdom have made them
democracy-crusaders in every blood-spilling sense of the phrase. Knowing nothing
of, and thus having no respect for, the long and bloody post-Runnymede
struggle of Americans and their ancestors to build an equitable democracy at
home, the new Wilsonians are using – and intend to expand the use of – the U.S.
military to seek overseas the unobtainable, war-inducing goals of the crazed
As the president and his aides expand the Bush-family-spawned democracy-krieg,
they are also preparing the world's strongest, smartest, most decent, and best-trained
military to be shock troops. Ignorant of America, contemptuous of other cultures,
and driven by the fantasy that our liberties depend on those of others, the
new Wilsonians will use our sons and daughters to teach all peoples, in all
cultures, at all times, and in all places to "elect good men." This
is a recipe for war in each place we decide to "help." Hands-on Wilsonianism
means our leaders will go looking for trouble around the world. They will find
it and then cheerfully spend the lives of our soldiers and Marines on warfare
in numerous places, overwhelm the volunteer military, and necessitate conscription's
return. Worse, our soldiers and Marines will be transformed by this ignorant
crew from the protectors of the United States to the bloody – and bloodied –
imposers of a brand of democratic orthodoxy that brooks no opposition based
on others' history, culture, or faith, and is eager to teach democracy with
Sadly, for America, the neocons and many Republicans differ from the Democrats
only in that the latter are eager to teach democracy with the sword until there
are U.S. casualties, then they run for the hills. Neither the neocons nor the
Democrats – an imperial power in their own right, serving as the master of numerous,
single-interest colonial constituencies – seem to know that the Founders they
often praise believed in a nation of laws and in nonintervention in the affairs
of other countries. Refusing to enforce laws they pass – witness immigration
and border control – and meddling in multiple foreign nations knowing that they
will provoke war, this entire crowd is a pox on America's house. Americans should
damn them, damn Wilson, and cull the strength to resist their plans from three
things for which this crowd will never tumble: the Founders' timeless guidance,
the traditional repugnance of Americans for bullies, and the innate common sense,
insularity, modesty, and quiet patriotism of non-elite Americans. A presidential
candidate for 2008 could do no better than talking to as many of these folks
as possible, while systematically absorbing the Federalist and Washington's
Farewell Address, and reading the essays of Congressman Ron
Paul and Paul Craig Roberts on
this Web site.