Here’s a rule that can save you a lot of time: Nine out of every ten essays written about America’s role in the world aren’t worth reading. Make that nineteen out of twenty. Endlessly reciting the same clichés about the imperative of American global leadership while drawing on the same historical “lessons” – appeasement bad, assertiveness good — they argue for perpetuating a world that no longer exists.
Writing in the Financial Times, Katrina Manson offers readers that one in twenty – maybe one in a hundred. The title of her essay is “Has America Had Enough of War?” The body of her piece provides an abundance of evidence to answer that question in the affirmative. Crucially, much of that evidence comes in the form of testimony offered by those who have fought our recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Manson calls attention to a “new wave” of critics daring to “question the militarization of U.S. foreign policy” and by extension the “moral underpinnings and claims that the world requires America as its leader.” She correctly identifies the real culprit as American Exceptionalism — or at least the perversion of American Exceptionalism that came to prevail in post-Cold War Washington when members of the establishment became infatuated with the nation of the U.S. as “indispensable nation.”
Manson identifies the Quincy Institute as the vanguard of a movement offering restraint as a relevant principle for organizing U.S. policy going forward. Thanks for the hat-tip, Ms. Manson. We are doing our best to avert further needless wars.