Reports the Guardian:
US secretary of state John Kerry decried what he called a “new isolationism” in the United States on Wednesday and suggested that the country was beginning to behave like a poor nation.
Speaking to reporters, Kerry inveighed against what he sees as a tendency within the United States to retreat from the world even as he defended the Obama administration’s diplomatic efforts from Syria to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“There’s a new isolationism,” Kerry said during a nearly one-hour discussion with a small group of reporters.
“We are beginning to behave like a poor nation,” he added, saying some Americans do not perceive the connection between US engagement abroad and the US economy, their own jobs and wider US interests.
Without reverting too much to hyperbole, after two pre-emptive wars (that Kerry voted for), a decade of serious post-war mismanagement, illegal drone assassinations, and botched diplomacy in Israel and Palestine, it’s probably fair to say that the rest of the world isn’t that worried about America’s declining influence. Yes, Obama’s foreign policy strategy and diplomatic efforts have been far better than the Bush’s, but they aren’t so radically different that people around the world want more of it.
Obama has done a pretty good job in changing the perception of America around the world by using more diplomacy, more collaboration, and a lot less hubris when navigating international affairs. But the fact remains that America is still deeply despised around the world (particularly in the Middle East), still maintains a military presence in 156 countries, still has military bases in 63 of them, and still continues to assassinate foreign enemies with an illegal drone policy. It is by any historical definition an imperial nation with an economy that relies heavily on the military industrial complex. This is changing rapidly as war fatigue and America’s sluggish economy have hindered its ability to continue unabated. But this is still the status quo in America (see John McCain’s incessant war mongering), and Kerry’s dismay at America’s inability to intervene abroad is indicative of a mindset that is not fully able to comprehend the new political paradigm.
There’s an argument to be made that American intervention can sometimes be useful, but the historical record in recent years shows otherwise. From Vietnam to Iraq, it has been one spectacular disaster after the other, and everyone, including America, could probably do with a break from it.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.