William Pfaff argues against American utopianism
in foreign policy--a form of "manifest destiny" not limited to the Bush administration. The Bush administration defends its pursuit of this unlikely goal ["ending tyranny in the world"] by means of internationally illegal, unilateralist, and preemptive attacks on other countries, accompanied by arbitrary imprisonments and the practice of torture, and by making the claim that the United States possesses an exceptional status among nations that confers upon it special international responsibilities, and exceptional privileges in meeting those responsibilities. ... Other American leaders before George Bush have made the same claim in matters of less moment. It is something like a national heresy to suggest that the United States does not have a unique moral status and role to play in the history of nations, and therefore in the affairs of the contemporary world. In fact it does not.
Pfaff has been a columnist for the International Herald-Tribune, based in Paris, for the last 25 years. His website
includes an archive
of past columns. Previously
posted by russilwvong
on Jan 31, 2007 -
The Utopian Nightmare
: "What is utopianism? It is promising more than you can deliver. It is seeing an easy and sudden answer to long-standing, complex problems. It is trying to solve everything at once through an administrative apparatus headed by “world leaders.” It places too much faith in altruistic cooperation and underestimates self-seeking behavior and conflict. It is expecting great things from schemes designed at the top, but doing nothing to solve the bigger problems at the bottom."
Also, be sure to check out the the 16 ideas, values and institutions that may not be with us 35 years from now written by a variety of interesting people and compiled as part of Foreign Policy's 35th anniversary (although not all are free or available without registration).
posted by loquax
on Aug 31, 2005 -