William Pfaff on manifest destiny
January 31, 2007 4:41 PM   Subscribe

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 (5 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Thanks for the post. I've held Pfaff in high regard for several years now, since discovering his syndicated column that runs in the Japan Times: his is an intelligent and reasoned voice of dissent.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:20 PM on January 31, 2007

Today's major democracies are all advanced societies; in some ways, in social standards, distribution of wealth and opportunity, the provision of universal health care and free or affordable education, and certain technologies and industries, many are more advanced than the United States.
What about India, the most populous democracy? Or is this a tautology following the use of "major"?
posted by Schmucko at 5:53 PM on January 31, 2007

2 comments? Anyhoo, this gives us the opportunity to continue a previous debate.

I find the assumptions of utopianism present here awfully eye-roll inducing. AEI, PNAC, AIPAC, OPEC, BP, KBR, USD, are/were the engines driving this train, everything else was BS.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 9:16 PM on January 31, 2007

Yeah I read it in the paper version (tucked away in the back). It's very good.

I thought of this article when watching the SOTU address. Bush ended his speech:
"..the State of our Union is strong, our cause in the world is right, and tonight that cause goes on. God bless. (Applause.)"
posted by stbalbach at 9:33 PM on January 31, 2007

OK, I've read that wank now.

The received wisdom:

"Making the world safe for democracy"

After it goes through the BS decoder:

"Making the world safe for rent-seeking"

The US wants our laws, money, and people in power throughout the world. I fail to see what's so hard about this to understand.
Such a noninterventionist policy would rely primarily on trade and the market, rather than territorial control or military intimidation, to provide the resources and energy the United States needs
What a child-like view of how the world works. . .

You want to know why we play ball with Khaddafi? Cuz he's honoring his commercial commitments once we disembargo his economy. Saddam, well, he made the mistake of messing with the, ah hell, lemme just quote the fictional Arthur Jensen:

It is the international system of currency which determines the vitality of life on this planet. THAT is the natural order of things today. THAT is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today. And YOU have meddled with the primal forces of nature. And YOU WILL ATONE. Am I getting through to you, Mr. Beale? You get up on your little 21-inch screen and howl about America, and democracy. There is no America; there is no democracy. There is only IBM, and ITT, and AT&T, and DuPont, Dow, Union Carbide, and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:47 PM on January 31, 2007

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