“A Better Manager of the Empire”

That’s Michael Berube’s take on an Obama Administration’s approach to US hegemony. It may sound like a trivial distinction, but improving our approach to foreign policy at the margins is a genuinely heartening development. Unlike some, I don’t have any principled objection to liberal interventionism. I think genocide, poverty, and war are pretty awful and may – under certain carefully prescribed circumstances – justify foreign (read: American) involvement. I just worry that our policy-makers are insufficiently cognizant of the pragmatic costs associated with aggressive interventionism. That’s why I thought it was so dishonest of pro-war commentators to describe critics of the Iraq War as “pro-Saddam” during the run-up to invasion. It’s not as if the mainstream antiwar movement was particularly happy with the status quo – most antiwar observers were simply better at diagnosing the strategic and humanitarian downsides of our invasion and subsequent occupation. Incidentally, Obama’s nuanced explanation of his opposition to the Iraq War suggests he has some understanding of this, which is no small improvement over the current administration.

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Filed under Foreign Policy, Liberalism (Left)

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