How Do Americans View the World?

-

This week, I attended two fascinating briefings on how the American public is thinking about the world. The first was a press conference to unveil research sponsored by the UN Foundation and the second was a small working group organized by the Stanley Foundation.
The major takeaway from both sessions? We’re living in a post-Iraq world and looking for a post-Iraq foreign policy as of right now. The post-9/11 era that dominated U.S. opinion and decision-making for the early part of this decade is effectively over, except in the minds of the approximately 25 percent of Americans that represent the Republican base.
This isn’t a momentary change, either — it’s a more fundamental change in the way that Americans view the world.
Americans want something different than what we’ve got now. People want the U.S. to work with other countries, forge global partnerships, and restore our standing in the world. “Go it alone,” is a non-starter. Interestingly, Americans view the decline of our reputation as a major problem. The classic conservative mantra “foreign policy isn’t a popularity contest” isn’t really politically viable anymore.
One disconcerting finding, though, is that there appears to be a new wave of isolationism, represented by folks like Lou Dobbs and Ron Paul. Both would probably object to “isolationist” as an appropriate label for their school of thought, but they do believe fundamentally that neither the U.S. nor the world is well-served when the U.S. is involved in global problem-solving.
This group of citizens — who are primarily young Kerry voters — would prefer that the U.S. government focus its attention on domestic problems and worry less about global issues. In part, that’s because this group can’t conceive of a different form of global engagement other than the Bush foreign policy of pre-emptive military strikes and poorly executed occupation.
Barring a catastrophic, public psyche-shaking event, the American electorate will not accept a candidate who proposes to continue President Bush’s arrogant approach and emphasis on unilateral use of the military to solve problems. To satisfy many of these “new isolationists,” the next President will have to present a compelling vision of positive American influence based on diplomacy, working with international institutions, and genuine global partnership. That will be hard — but not impossible.
— Scott Paul

Comments

42 comments on “How Do Americans View the World?

  1. Ruth Blameuser says:

    We need to be asking our elected officials and those running for office in congress and the presidency what they are going to do about a legitimate, independent, thorough investigation of the events that occured on Sept. 11, 2001. We can’t let so many questions remain unanswere d. See http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-275577066688213413&q=david+Ray+Griffin
    and
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-9127706080717077488.

    Reply

  2. Kathleen says:

    Dan & Rich… I really enjoyed reading your very cogent comments.
    arthurdecco…Ahoy, Matey!!!

    Reply

  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Great post Rich.
    Perhaps Steve will read it, and get a clear picture of what an elephant looks like.

    Reply

  4. rich says:

    No kidding POA.
    Here’s another one:
    Scott Paul wrote on the monks in Myanmar.
    But why should any American be upset or shocked or sympathize with Scott Paul’s plea?
    After all, by taking our own (misguided) judicial rulings pertaining to the very same issue, and applying them to the beatings of peaceful demonstrators in that country–SLORC was fully justified in cracking down. By our own judiciary’s ‘logic.’
    SLORC is detestable by any measure. But no one asked:
    Did the monks first obtain the proper permit before demonstrating (marching, parading, speaking)? I suspect they did not (though the details of that inevitably exist).
    Bear with me, yes, this is somewhat in the abstract—because my question is aimed at us, not SLORC’s totalitarian policies.
    From SLORC’s perspective, then, “disturbing the peace” has as much validity as it does when wielded by any American cop or judge. The difference is one of degree–but not of kind.
    And if you doubt that, try explaining to your arresting officer that the petty illegitimate local laws you’re being arrested under are superceded by the Constitution. Call it spontaneous, legitimate speech and assembly–and suffer a level of state violence equivalent to that meted out by SLORC, if necessary, to quell your liberties.
    The only difference is American citizens are choosing to be docile precisely because they’ve been taught the level of violence that will be applied. See WTO, Seattle, and elsewhere, time and again.
    SLORC is obscenely abusive. But if Uncle Sam can “regulate the time, place, and manner” of free speech, then what’s saucy for the goose is saucy for the gander. So can SLORC. The only difference between Myanmar and America is one of degree, not kind. Both nations fall on the wrong side of a principle set down in the Constitution as the Supreme Law of the Land.
    But instead of upholding what everyone knows to be the defining Law that sets us apart(justifying much of what we do abroad, no less)—that America is one big ‘free speech zone’ from sea to shining sea—we’ve got these yokels arresting people for exercising their God-given (literally) civil liberties. Razor-wire cages at the RNC convention, indiscriminate arrests that eviscerate the right to assemble, travel, speak, and free associate (I like that last). Certainly ‘free speech zones’ several hundred yards away from and out of shouting distance/hearing range of our imperious oligarchs make a mockery of free speech, and eviscerate any substantive redress of grievance.
    Squashing legitimate, fully legal speech/dissent has become standard operating procedure in America.
    My purpose in citing Ron Paul is to point out that the shared politics, common ground, and social contract cutting across ‘left’ and ‘right’ in this country forms an enormously deep and resilient de facto reality, a Constitutional and cultural bottom line, regardless of legal precedent to the contrary. George Bush has, if nothing else, unified the middle-of-the-road sane on ‘left’ and ‘right’ of that much. So a status quo that erodes the Bill of Rights in practice, is an Establishment who’s forgotten those articles exist precisely to prevent their erosion by themselves, by the rigid mechanisms of State–and whose time is up.
    Relative to the reality cited above, the machinery of state and disingenuous sophistry of lawyers & jurists are ludicrous, temporary and frail. (Note: that machinery has literally turned Moloch, thx to A. Ginsberg; see Howl)
    Ron Paul’s Constitutional rhetoric presents a golden opportunity for either: a broad coalition to be built in defense of inalienable rights; and/or for moderates to cleave right-wing wackos from conservative Constitutionalists. Either one’d be redemptive, for the country, at minimum.
    Even sophists are welcome; catharsis is good for you, as it was for the greeks. (I expect tragedy w/o catharsis would equate to unmitigated catastrophe.)

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Did you ever think, that in the United States, we would be matter of factly discussing the attraction of a presidential candidate because he is one of the few that won’t wipe his ass with our Constitution?

    Reply

  6. rich says:

    Rich,
    Dan Kervick wrote:
    “You are entitled to your opinion and admiration of Ron Paul.”
    I do not admire Ron Paul per se, and as a Bob LaFollette progressive (updated version) I share “[your] own political ideals .. that are in man ways characteristic of what is traditionally called the “left”, with its combined roots in liberal and socialist traditions.”
    That political background is not mutually exclusive of the understanding that limited government best respects our civil liberties and a conservative respect for the Constitution is necessary to combat the ill-advised frittering away of the Bill of Rights, the requirement that Congress Declare War, etc.
    Ron Paul is to be respected for saying this, right out there in the open, no matter how much I strongly disagree with him on many issues. And that view is perfectly congruent with strongly held principles on the so-called “left.”
    Your stance is ideological–and that’s no small part of the problem. An example to illustrate where I’m coming from:
    My folks are progressive–Old Line liberals, really–but they believe in a work ethic, personal responsibility, paying your debts, as mch as anyone: all supposedly ‘conservative’ values. Their LBJ-McGovern-Carter-Hillary politics stem not just American political history, but from New Testament teachings as well. Anti-Vietnam War, pro-civil rights, pro-choice. Hell, they took me to the ERA march in ’78.
    But those are essentially ‘conservative’ positions when examined closely (and in good faith). Believe in national security? Get a Declaration of War before engaging in war, covert or overt. Believe in individualism and opportunity? Civil rights is paramount. Believe in liberty, a humane respect for the individual, and limited government? A pro-choice position gets the government out of our bedroom and out of hte business of making decisions about our bodies. Because guess what? Liberals can be pro-choice–and against getting an abortion if at all possible. it’s a policy thing.
    Having been steeped in teh traditions of non-violence (my Dad was a pastor for a couple years (United Church of Christ)), I am also intellectually able to say that the Second Amendment serves a valid purpose. It can’t be frittered away through a series of court decisions. Unlike you, I’m not willing to sacrifice a foundational, proven political principle that defines this nation to a preferred policy. It’s self-indulgent. Prohibition doesn’t work; know how to use a tool, address it openly, but taboos will fail you and will cost lives—as has the backwards attitude to the Constitution held by much of the centrist [sic] establishment.
    Point is, nonviolence–however admirable–does not work against Hitler, Salvadoran death squads, or the British Crown. Bush has disproven the fallacy that the National Guard ever functioned as a militia, which would’ve knit power into the fabric of our society. Like the volunteer Army, such poorly thought-out decisions cleave our society, cost us immeasurably, and functionally change the nature of what this country is on the ground.
    Despite my HUGE differences with Ron Paul, I could easily live with those, in exchange for a realists’ understanding of, and adherence to, the Constitution.

    Reply

  7. Dan Kervick says:

    Rich,
    You are entitled to your opinion and admiration of Ron Paul. But speaking for myself, Paul’s political ideals and my political ideals are quite far apart. And I believe my own ideals are in many ways characteristic of what is traditionally called the “left”, with its combined roots in liberal and socialist traditions, while Paul represents a radical right-wing version of libertarianism, and a commitment to Austrian school, free market capitalism. I am not a libertarian or a lover of unrestrained capitalism, but am closer to the social democratic tradition.
    The libertarian anti-imperialist tradition sees the roots of imperialism in too much governmental power in general, and seeks to combat it by weakening government and governments across the board. It opposes vigorous international governance, as it is hostile to governance in general.
    The left-wing anti-imperialist and internationalist tradition, on the other hand, identifies the culprit as the undemocratic and unrestrained nature of the global system, and the power of governments *and* private economic agents to act with impunity in the advancement of their interests. Left anti-imperialists note the propensity of capitalists – whether acting on the own or with the assistance of the governments they control – to steal, exploit and accumulate capital abroad. Left-wing internationalists thus want to create *more* global government to constrain the unilateralism and strong-arm proclivities of powerful states, and to reign in the exploitive and ruthless tendencies of free marketeers.
    You might not see a problem with nationalism per se, but I do. I think there is far too much of it everywhere. I believe in a vigorous internationalist movement and agenda that seeks to diminish the political role and vitality of nationalism around the world, and sublimate nationalist attitudes under expanded global governance, and an expanded internationalist consciousness.
    As you can see, I oppose the weak, undemocratic and capital-subservient forms of government in modern capitalist states like the US, but am not anti-government in general. Paul is. I am not a xenophobic defender of American separateness – many anti-imperialists of the right are.
    Paul’s intellectual influences are Hayek, Rothbard, von Mises and Ayn Rand. He wants to go back on the gold standard. He opposes NAFTA because it is *too* regulatory and is thus “managed trade”. I oppose NAFTA because it is too laissez faire, and there is *not enough* management and regulation. Paul wants to end the federal income tax, and generally thinks we have too much tax. I don’t want to end the federal income tax, and think we probably need more taxes – paricularly taxes with a redistributive intent and effect. Paul wants to withdraw from the UN. I don’t, and would like to reform the UN security council and make the UN more powerful. Paul opposes gun control. I strongly favor gun control.
    Of course Ron Paul deserves to be heard. Everyone deserves to be heard. But Justin Raimondo has been posting Ron Paul speeches as opinion pieces for many years now. His views are no mystery to people who have been reading that stuff.
    I’m not smearing anybody. The positions I described are the positions that Ron Paul and his friends and comrades frankly espouse. I respect their right to hold them. I also respect their devotion to the Constitution, and their determination to challenge US imperialism. I also support the libertarian tradition where it bears on personal expression, freedom of association and conscience, privacy and civil legal protections. But I am not an economic libertarian, and my motives and Paul’s motives are very different.

    Reply

  8. pauline says:

    Scott Paul:
    Two questions for you are still waiting for your public responses.
    Rich asked —
    “Scott, if you HAD to choose between the Constitution and U.S. foreign intervention/ involvement/ meddling, which would you choose?”
    I asked —
    “Also, Scott, do terrorists hate us because of ‘our way of life’ or because of our foreign intervention?”

    Reply

  9. JM says:

    The American public is awakening to the peril of living as if politics and civic action were a hobby instead of a right, privilege, and necessity.
    In this dawning, they envision a voting booth, a shining little temple on a hill, and themselves approaching it reverently, reaching for the lever and making all things right again.
    Unfortunately, morning has stuck its fingers under firmly shut eyelids only to reveal–Surprise! rigged elections.

    Reply

  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    It’s still incumbent on Scott Paul to address the internal contradictions in his original post.
    Go back in the archives and have a look at his post about the islands that are being swallowed by the “rising oceans”. Good ‘ol Scott just sorta forgot to mention that there is quite a bit of scientific controversy about whether or not the islands are being swallowed by rising sea levels, or they in fact are sinking due to coral breakdown or volcanic activity.
    Don’t hold your breath. How many people got refunds for buyin’ an Edsel?

    Reply

  11. rich says:

    Dan & Scott–
    Long-winded of me, above, but more concisely:
    Libertarianism is not the problem. And the shared understanding and defense of the Constitution is as mainstream as it gets.
    When right-to-lifers and pro-choicers both understand the Bill of Rights and the Constitution is shared and holy ground, and that there’s no one left to defend it but average citizens–then yes, you know it’s time for the compromising among pols, pundits, and political ‘pros’ to end.
    Whenever it became ok to demonize adherence to the Constitution as somehow extreme, that was the moment the Establishment deviated from its obligations to uphold the law and Constitution, no longer could claim the mantle of moderation, and veered from “The Center.” Became extreme.
    Do foreign service officers really come before American soldiers? Does Scott Paul’s portfolio come before upholding and defending the Constituion?
    I’m not a big dailykos fan, nor do I know anything about Judge Andrew P. Napolitano. He verifies what commenters on this blog have been trying to get across:
    “There is more widespread feeling than you would think, (…) I’ve found among right to life groups tremendous disdain with the president and the Congress about abuse of the Constitution, much to my surprise (…) there is this undercurrent of anger (over the Bush-era assaults on the Constitution).”
    http://www.dailykos.com/storyonly/2007/11/18/185731/00
    “In A NATION OF SHEEP, Judge Andrew P. Napolitano frankly discusses how the federal government has circumvented the Constitution and is systematically dismantling the rights and freedoms that are the foundation of American democracy. He challenges Americans to recognize that they are being led down a very dangerous path and that the cost of following without challenge is the loss of the basic freedoms that facilitate our pursuit of happiness and that define us as a nation.”

    Reply

  12. karenk says:

    It always amazes me that the world gives Americans so much credit for being intelligent. Don’t they know that 1 in 4 Americans has not read a book in the last year? In one random street poll 50% of New Yorkers couldn’t point out NY state on an unlabeled map of the US! Another poll showed that 60+% of 18-20 year old Americans would relenquish their right to vote FOR LIFE for a million dollars(30+% would give it up once for an i phone). Safe to assume the vast majority of Americans could not name all of the countries that border Iraq(No one I’ve ever asked has been able to and these were college educated people). Why soo much credit for intelligence? Outside of DC, average Americans know very little about the rest of the world-and care about it less than that.

    Reply

  13. rich says:

    Dan Kervick:
    “We’re seeing more strains now in what has for several years been a fairly amicable coalition. There is a left-wing, internationalist version of anti-imperialism and non-interventionism; and there is a right-wing nationalist and sovereigntist version of anti-imperialism and non-interventionism.”
    Dan, such wishful thinking.
    That so-called “coalition” hasn’t yet been forged; what you eagerly call strains” is the awakening understanding that the coalition will come to be.
    Neither one, though, as much as you might like, qualify as left- or right-wingers. They aren’t extremist at all. Here’s the thing:
    Both mainstream groups understand that if you don’t punch the other guy first, he’s not gonna come after you. America has culturally understood that if you don’t engage in unprovoked attacked on other nations, you won’t have to worry about other countries coming after you. For the most part. And we’ve historically followed that–for the most part.
    We abandoned that in Vietnam, in Iraq, and in the intervening years by supporting series of coups and covert ops too numerous to list.
    I can’t approve of or defend REAL far right nuts. As Dan puts it:
    “the far-right sovereignty fanatics, black helicopter paranoids and hard-core, uncompromising nationalists.”
    But I doubt that describes Ron Paul, and as a progressive I believe he deserves to be heard.
    Dan, I don’t believe there’s something wrong with sovereignty or nationalism (per se). And it’d be wrong to mischaracterize/smear liberal or conservative so speciously–as you do.
    Simply put, it’s common sense, and a mainstream American cultural understanding as well as an original, core American political principal, to not strike other nations militarily (covert or overt), without real provocation.
    That’s mainstream, and closer to the moderate middle than any self-described centrist can claim. Bush has exposed a longstanding establishmentarian extremism.
    It’s still incumbent on Scott Paul to address the internal contradictions in his original post. If he had to pick, would he choose? The Constitution or his own pet portfolio? (much of which I approve of?)

    Reply

  14. arthurdecco says:

    I didn’t read your post earlier, Kathleen. I wish I had.
    “Boatrockers of the world, need to convene in whichever end it takes, bow or stern, to right their own Ship of State.” posted by Kathleen
    What a wonderful analogy! (Being a both a boater and a thinker. lol)

    Reply

  15. arthurdecco says:

    “Oh damn, you want me to cut it down to once a week???” posted by POA
    Naaw. I hope you post when you feel the need, POA. But in addition to your regular posts, I thought Mr. Clemons, et al, could let you and Carroll go for broke on a subject that YOU wanted to discuss once a week – columns from a vantage point determinedly different from sufferers of “InsideTheBeltway Itis”.
    It appealed to my appreciation of complexity.

    Reply

  16. Kathleen says:

    Carroll.. I was just about to ask where you were these days… we needed things kicked up a notch…
    The pendulum swings both ways.. it’s one of the laws of motion. As it swings too far in one direction,`gravity forces it to change course and swing too far in the opposite direction, if left to the natural course of events.
    Of course unnatural events can occur to disrupt that flow, like Martial Law and secret tribunals.
    I favor military isolationism, but not cultural, humanitarian and enviromental isolationism.
    At the end of WW2 when the UN was built and born, the hope of the whole world rested in International cooperation for maintaining world peace. We need to recapture that spirit of trust in symbiotic interactions with our fellow planet dwellers. Regardless of how many different Ships of Stare there are afloat in the world at large, when all gets said and done, we are all on the same boat, planetarilly.
    Boatrockers of the world, need to convene in whichever end it takes, bow or stern, to right their own Ship of State. With Busholini and Capt’n Ahab at the our helm, all hands are going down, trolling the seas for enemies, unless they are relieved of their command and suited up in those jackets with tied arms. The hour for all hands on deck is here. Perfect storm abrewing.

    Reply

  17. rich says:

    Carroll wrote:
    “The “isolationism” you see is that famous old “blowback”. If you want to blame someone for this new isolationism, blame the politicans.”
    Strictly speaking, that’s not ‘blowback.’ A political backlash, yes, among staunch conservatives against the abusive policies of the Republican party.
    Blowback is the unintended consequence of overseas black ops, which create more enemies through violation of another nation’s sovereignty (& our own principles), bringing about more damage to our national security than they sought to prevent.
    This so-called ‘isolationism’, this wider recognition of our national character and core political contract, on the other hand, is an internal poltical backlash to the rupture or breach of that contract, and a positive course correction.
    A President Ron Paul would be balanced by an equally extremist Congress going the other way (Establishmentarian), assuming the status quo holds. So what’s the problem?
    Because reassuringly, Bush has demonstrated just how well the everyday mechanisms and fundamental principles of American governance hold up under the strains of bipartisanship. So well has the Congress fulfilled its duties, so well the checks & balances withstood civil differences between men of such good faith, I just don’t see what the issue is. Why worry about falling back to the social contract or cultural norms, when you’ve got the Constitution?
    I’m playing Devil’s Advocate, but the point bears your attention–because that’s what we were always told about Reagan and Bush: Congress will act as counterweight; they’re men of good faith; it’s a return to values.
    The last eight years have been an excruciating lesson that these were not men of good faith, who do not share core American or even Christian values. Is this too broad brush? Lump it. Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich are men of good faith. They are far less radical and more centrist than any who’ve assisted Bush.
    So let’s get offa this idea that a reasonable pullback from an ‘internationalism’ that’s already visited incalculable harm on this country is somehow ‘isolationist.’
    Isolationism is not the result of Bush’s misadventures; it’s always been a foundational American principle–and not as some head-in-the-sand asocial naivete.
    It’s plain common sense: Avoid the obscene and senseless wars of Old Europe. Do not incite hatred against us by fomenting unprovoked attacks or preemptive wars on foreign armies–which would, you know, repeat the mistakes of Old Europe. Stay out of entangling alliances.
    That’s not isolationism. That’s just where plain old American democracy equate to a true, effective RealPolitik. It’s Jeffersonian. George Washington knew and understood it. It’s only common sense to avoid blowback.
    And it’s bone deep in the Scotch-Irish colonists, and the English ones too, that fought in the American Revolution. They learned the hard way that owning land is and was a counterbalance to tyranny and to any federal power—and rightly so.
    They cherished what they had in America, because when the English Crown amputated people from the land and denied them access, it opened them up to greater abuse, famine and unending exploitation. That’s why the poorest Appalachian landholder defended his small lot in life as though it were the whole world. They remember.
    When the English Crown sent mercenary Hessians and British Soldiers (which is the greater betrayal?) against proud Englishmen, who bore the brunt of that crime? We did: my ancestors. Now who’s repeating that same crime King George III committed against us? Igniting blowback by using mercenaries to occupy Iraq? Bush, & Co., and a Washington Establishment that, as long as it’s not paying the cost, as long as a so-called internationalist agenda moves forward, doesn’t feel any need to call BushCo on this sort of betrayal.
    Germans who immigrated in the 1870s weren’t isolationist either, so much as they were conscious of the senseless bloody Franco-Prussian wars. Ginned-up, ultra-nationalist–and as late as the Third Reich, pre-emptive.
    Those folks knew what D.C. and the Foreign Service forgot: Hitler wasn’t evil and malignant (just) because of the Holocaust, not broadly known at the start. It was his use of preemptive war that made him universally hated and gave us political and military advantage. That and the Gestapo tactics and enhanced torture techniques, of course.
    Yet now we have the spectacle of American foreign service officers–who stood by while American soldiers were misused without a Declaration of War, oh that was Okay, regardless of cost to country–now complaining that forced assignment to Iraq might be a death sentence.
    Now we have the spectacle of Senators–candidates for President–desperately trying to explain their vote for a ‘resolution’, because they didn’t have the familiarity with the American Constitution or the self-worth to vote for a legitimate Declaration of War for legitimate reasons in the first place.
    Hillary Clinton, Scott Paul, those foreign service officers all have one thing in common. They all believe that as long as their own interests and agendas are put first, as long as they move forward before a more basic and straightforward adherence to the Constitution, then there really isn’t a problem.
    They couldn’t be more wrong; and if a full-bore isolationism is the cure, then we’ll all be lucky to get off so easy.
    The internal contradictions of Scott Paul’s original post are fatal. Foreign engagement isn’t a positive in and of itself, Scott, not in the abstract, and assigning primacy to a pet portfolio at the expense of the Constitution isnt’ tenable. For anyone.
    Trying to take responsiblity for “fixing Iraq” was doomed without first taking responsiblity for fixing the broken political process here at home. The first rule of sovereignty is: Pottery Barn makes you leave the store if you keep breaking stuff. As vandal/thief, you dont’ get to take over the store. You have to pay. And leave.

    Reply

  18. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “And while you guys are at it – adding interesting voices to your already intelligent and interesting blog – you might want to consider asking POA to write a weekly Contrarian piece. He might turn you down, but it would be worth asking, don’t you think?”
    Oh damn, you want me to cut it down to once a week???

    Reply

  19. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Carroll, welcome back.
    Heres an interesting little bit from the AIPAC website. I have copied and pasted it in its entirety. Can you guess why I find it so odd? Whats missing….? (Hint, there was a photo of Arlen Specter next to the text)
    http://www.aipac.org/1680.asp#5574
    Members of Congress Address AIPAC Leaders
    Three United States Senators and more than a dozen members of Congress addressed AIPAC leaders at a congressional gala saluting the U.S.-Israel relationship. The event took place on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and offered congressional leaders the opportunity to talk about why they support a strong friendship between the two democracies. The gala was part of the two-day AIPAC National Summit, which gives AIPAC’s leading activists the chance to hone their advocacy skills and gain insight into the most pressing issues impacting the U.S.-Israel relationship.

    Reply

  20. arthurdecco says:

    Mr. Paul and Mr. Clemons, After some reflection, I think it’s time you put Carroll on the payroll. She’s often more prescient than the regular contributors – that’s gotta be worth something, even in Washington, DC.
    And while you guys are at it – adding interesting voices to your already intelligent and interesting blog – you might want to consider asking POA to write a weekly Contrarian piece. He might turn you down, but it would be worth asking, don’t you think?
    …Just for the chords it would create with the melding of opinions.
    (I’m grinning.)

    Reply

  21. arthurdecco says:

    Great post, Carroll, re: November 16, 2007 03:18 PM!
    (I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Scott Paul. LOL)

    Reply

  22. Scott Paul says:

    Carroll, I think your observation is right on the money.

    Reply

  23. pauline says:

    Corporats and corpublicans are not and will not turn to isolationism. Their money masters (disguised as international bankers) and AIPAC would not allow it. And you can take that to the “bank”.
    I love Ron Paul’s voting history and ideas, but he would need a completely new congress with new ethics rules to make a serious righting of the ship.

    Reply

  24. Carroll says:

    I think Scott is missing part of the equation here in “isolationism”.
    Here is what 80% of the public is saying:
    “No One in Washington Represents Americans Any More”
    That is the number one chant in the American public.
    And the fact is that is true. And everyone sees it reflected in what our politicans do and how they spend our money.
    Americans do not want to totally withdraw from the universe. What they want is to put first things first. That means stablizing and cleaning up the US for the common good of Americans “first”. But not to the exclusion of all other conditions in the world.
    However as long as our so called “leaders” continue acting as the masters of the universe and regard the American citizens as just ignorant working peons that provide them the money to strut their stuff upon the world stage the more isolationist the public really will become.
    Our government hasn’t listened…so the public is going to tilt and tilt to the extreme if necessary
    until that extreme creates a swing back the correct balance.
    We all have to run to the opposite side of the boat from our current leaders so we can tilt them off the boat into the sea.
    The “isolationism” you see is that famous old “blowback”. If you want to blame someone for this new isolationism, blame the politicans. The isolationist public sees quite cleary their only option is to force the correct balance back to US government by taking it to an extreme. It won’t correct itself on it’s own.

    Reply

  25. Arch Stanton says:

    So they think they can put the genie back in the bottle, huh? Good luck on that one. They’re going to need lots of it.

    Reply

  26. Dan Kervick says:

    Scott writes:
    “Dr. Paul is against intervention, and that is good. He is also against participating in international institutions, treaties, and cooperative, government-led efforts to solve global problems like poverty, disease, and climate change. In my view, that is harmful.”
    Well-said!
    We’re seeing more strains now in what has for several years been a fairly amicable coalition. There is a left-wing, internationalist version of anti-imperialism and non-interventionism; and there is a right-wing nationalist and sovereigntist version of anti-imperialism and non-interventionism. For some years now, as the war in Iraq and the “war on terror” have rumbled on, these two camps have made common cause.
    Perhaps the virtual headquarters, so to speak, of this coalition is over at antiwar.com. I read antiwar.com almost every day, and I think Raimondo and Co. perform an amazing public service. They are also very fair in representing the two separate camps in this coalition in their opinion pieces. But their radical right Ron Paulism and Pat Buchananism just do not match my own “one-worlder” internationalist views.
    I’ll be glad to continue to make common cause with these folks to advance our common interest in challenging imperialism. But there are limits. And Ron Paul is one of them.

    Reply

  27. Arch Stanton says:

    So they think they can put the genie back in the bottle, huh? Good luck on that one. They’re going to need lots of it.

    Reply

  28. pauline says:

    The current rank lot of corporublicans and corporats, as well as the current admin’s neo-con/Israel firsters sure have objectives, but they don’t seem to have the same values and principles I think are desirable for us citizens.
    To that group, the constitution is out-moded and just a few pieces of old paper. While I am thrilled to see what the SJC has recently done to the FISA bill, it remains to be seen if the sudden new love for the constitution holds up. Or are the corporats feinstein, schumer, clinton or even corpublican specter going to bow deeply to their masters and forget us and the constitution and allow the telecoms immunity?
    Hey, it’s only the rule of law and constitution hanging in the balance.

    Reply

  29. rich says:

    Almost.
    No one commenting here has said ‘it’s intervention or nothing.’ No one.
    You seem to work from (or towards) a false dualism or false rhetorical choice between interventionism and isolationism—maybe due to lack of space.
    We’re all for a positive American role and a positive American influence in the world. But you seemed to assert that anything short of intervention defaulted to isolationism. That is very troubling.
    While you clarify–a bit–you seem prone to nonsequiturs such as “some Americans are taking his position because they believe reducing America’s global influence is the polar opposite of intervention.”
    If I read this right, now suddenly, ANY reDUCtion in global influence is the polar opposite of intervention. When and how did even modest, prudent, reasonable reduction in influence become tantamount to the polar opposite of interventionism???
    There are two points you need to address.
    1. Treaties, aid, constructive bi-lateral relationships are all to the good. Yet we all know these tools can also be used to wage war, without resorting to actual military force.
    But the meaty middle you are bent on defending is not necessarily defensible. It, too, can be (has been and is) equally “interventionist.”
    2. It’s incumbent on you to answer the question posed: if forced to choose between the Constitution and significant global influence that falls short of military force but abandons our nations core objectives, values, and principles–which would you choose?
    This is critical to the success of your own portfolio. Too many believe their concerns are somehow separate, that these issues are/can be divorced from the Constitutional issues (domestic & foreign policy), and that their issue can take primacy. That’s not the case.

    Reply

  30. Scott Paul says:

    Thanks for the thoughts and questions, everyone. It’s become obvious that Ron Paul is the third rail of blog commentary.
    The research that was unveiled this week illustrates that Americans are done with heavy-handed intervention. I think that’s a good thing. What troubles me is that many people (some readers of this blog included) believe that intervention is the only form of global engagement available to us. Dr. Paul is against intervention, and that is good. He is also against participating in international institutions, treaties, and cooperative, government-led efforts to solve global problems like poverty, disease, and climate change. In my view, that is harmful.
    Ron Paul’s brand of non-intervention is not the only one out there. The new research suggests that some Americans are taking his position because they believe reducing America’s global influence is the polar opposite of intervention. I disagree. The opposite of what we’re getting now is a foreign policy based on listening to others, open diplomatic relations, cooperation and global partnership.

    Reply

  31. pauline says:

    Also, Scott, do terrorists hate us because of “our way of life” or because of our foreign intervention?

    Reply

  32. pauline says:

    Let’s all start a campaign to get our own local police, firemen, judges, city councils, state reps to sign a solemn pledge to promise not to partake in any “false flag” operations. Then we can work backwards to the basement of the White House for signatures.
    Want to start one or sign first, Scott? Or, are you one who thinks that has never occurred?

    Reply

  33. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Uh oh, no commission for you today, Mr.Edselman.

    Reply

  34. TokyoTom says:

    Scott, a retreat from heavy-handed American intervention of the kind Ron Paul offers is exactly what we – and people around the world – need.
    His message is one that should be welcom, not “disconcerting”. A peaceful nation that builds bridges and trades with Cuba and Iran and other nations, and turns from spending trillions (much unfunded) on defense to paying attention to domestic needs greater checks and ba? Isn’t that what you guys want too?
    Maybe it’s the part about “small government” and breathing life into more local decisionmaking that makes you uneasy?
    I for one would settle for an administration that first and foremost doesn’t deliberately manipulate us and did holes for us, for the benefit of narrow special interests and powerful insiders. Maybe once again we can lead the world, but first things first.
    With “mainstream” candidates we will continue to have bloated, secretive government, with rabid partisanship that only deflects attention form the corruption.

    Reply

  35. sdemetri says:

    “Barring a catastrophic, public psyche-shaking event, the American electorate will not accept a candidate who proposes to continue President Bush’s arrogant approach and emphasis on unilateral use of the military to solve problems.”
    I see a very real potential for that happening sometime before next Nov. In the current climate we won’t know if such an “psyche-shaking event” comes from honest-to-god terrorists, or a black ops cabal determined to continue the shock and awe treatment on the US public. My bet is the latter.

    Reply

  36. rich says:

    Working Theory #9:
    Scott Paul is Ron Paul’s estranged son.
    Two Critical Questions for Scott:
    1. This post requires a clarification: WHICH group “of citizens–who are primarily young Kerry voters . . “? It has no referent. Who are you specifying–and why imply they are alone in their beliefs?
    More important:
    2. Scott, if you HAD to choose between the Constitution and U.S. foreign intervention/ involvement/ meddling, which would you choose?
    Reflecting on that, even momentarily, exposes the problem persisting at the core of Scott’s posts.
    Labeling the corrective consensus that America must come to its senses as “isolationist” is either a) a smear, or b) reductive as hell.
    And that does not serve this country well.
    It’s one or the other. Either the Constitution has primacy–or foreign intervention. (As a tool, as a fetish, as a parrying or defensive mechanism, or as a force for positive change; take your pick.) Not both. We all know the answer.
    .
    (Side note: despite some serious flaws, it’s entirely possible Paul’s campaign is will have greater impact than many expect–even among liberals.
    http://www.thedailypage.com/isthmus/article.php?article=13681 )

    Reply

  37. samuel burke says:

    “Both would probably object to “isolationist” as an appropriate label for their school of thought……
    It is good to see that Ron Paul is getting the attention of the washingtonians, the smearing has begun. phase 2 has begun.
    “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win.” –
    — Mahatma Gandhi
    http://antiwar.com/paul/?articleid=11156
    you and steve are worthless washington kissbutts, ron paul is a non interventionist, the original foreign policy. washington can keep on suckin on the blowback from all their ingenious operations around the world but sooner or later oil at 100 bucks and gold at a 1600 will get the entire nations attention and then washintonians will start to remember who “we the people” are.
    over the counter derivatives is the weapon of mass destruction that wallstreet cant control.
    so dream on, one day you”ll wake up in a nightmare.

    Reply

  38. arthurdecco says:

    Three assertions from Scott Paul that I’d like to address:
    Scott Paul#1 “…but they do believe fundamentally that neither the U.S. nor the world is well-served when the U.S. is involved in global problem-solving.”
    re: #1 If Paul and Dobbs really believe that “neither the U.S. nor the world is well-served when the U.S. is involved in global problem-solving”, they’re right about something.
    For example: By permitting the deliberate, criminal targeting of the civilian population of Palestine by Israel to continue – to this Administration’s tacit support for military dictators like Musharraf – to the missiles they want to put in Russia’s front yard – to (…you get the idea…) – America’s political policies reek of rank corruption and hidden, violent agendas. Its no wonder conspiracy theories hold such sway these days.
    And we haven’t even begun to discuss America’s economic abuse of power that they’ve wielded through their real-world control of the World Bank and other plenary financial institutions, though thankfully, their malign influence over much of South America seems to have been curtailed – perhaps even thwarted by recent events.
    Scott Paul #2 “…that’s because this group can’t conceive of a different form of global engagement other than the Bush foreign policy of pre-emptive military strikes and poorly executed occupation.”
    re #2 No matter what the next Administration CLAIMS its intentions are, we all can be assured that “the Bush foreign policy of pre-emptive military strikes and poorly executed occupation” will continue, with some of what their brand new spokespeople will describe as “fine tuning”, or “turning over a new leaf” or some other inane and meaningless sound bite justification for continuing with the status quo.
    But the only thing that will change is how they MARKET their violence. It’s those who believe in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus who will buy into the “Epic Myth of Positive Change” starring AMERICA!, that epic tale every pundit seems to be wistfully, or perhaps malevolently floating these days – it’s a myth that’s certainly not been bought into by any of the sensible people I know.
    Scott Paul#3 “Barring a catastrophic, public psyche-shaking event, the American electorate will not accept a candidate who proposes to continue President Bush’s arrogant approach and emphasis on unilateral use of the military to solve problems.”
    re #3 Forget “Barring”…! Replace “Barring” with EVEN!
    EVEN if there is “a catastrophic, public psyche-shaking event” – NO! Replace “EVEN” with “ESPECIALLY!” – ESPECIALLY if there is “a catastrophic, public psyche-shaking event, the American electorate will (NEVER) accept a candidate who proposes to continue President Bush’s arrogant approach and emphasis on unilateral use of the military to solve problems.”
    The American people may have been dumbed down by a tragically flawed and under-funded educational system, by the systemic abuse of them through their own media’s attempts to shape public opinion to match their owners’ wishes and ambitions, by coordinated assaults on their better feelings and sense of community and by their life-long indoctrination into the religion of Ownership, (even when you have to borrow, even mortgage your whole life to buy things you could do without)…
    But in SPITE of all that – do you really think the American people are going to ACCEPT the role their elites have in mind for them? Do you really think they’re just going to role over and play dead because it’s convenient for those who would like nothing better that to OWN them?
    I’ve heard and read the slurs about fat, stupid, television-addicted, layabout Americans who shout slogans instead of thinking thoughts, but do you really think that’s a description of the average American citizen? I don’t. It doesn’t describe any of the Americans I know.
    No matter what happens politically tomorrow or next week or next election cycle, I believe the majority of the American people are going to finally explode, no matter what bullshit they’re fed, no matter what trinkets are dangled in front of them, no matter how afraid you try to make them – they’re finally going to have enough of the lies, destruction and greed and they’re gonna blow.
    Just like has happened everywhere, all through history.
    Americans aren’t just Americans – they’re people too.
    And you beltway types need to be reminded of that.
    Regularly.
    (…why is that?)

    Reply

  39. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Both would probably object to “isolationist” as an appropriate label for their school of thought……
    But you’re gonna dump that horseshit on us anyway, eh?
    Any Edsel’s on the lot today, Scott?

    Reply

  40. rapier says:

    We are in the Post 911 era, until the next significant terror attack on US soil. Let’s not forget two things.
    First: another, and then probably another and another terror attack was assumed to be forthcoming after 911.
    Second: While many if not most assume the Bush GWOT has been an exercise in bad faith, and I’m front and center on that score, we have to admit that there is a huge nugget of good faith there too. In that the people involved in fact do want to stop terror attacks.
    As a political enterprise the Bush GWOT has become a popular failure because there has not been further attacks. Even if we don’t assume the Bushies were counting on a stupendous political boost from futher attacks it doesn’t take much imagination to guess that another attack would be a political boost of gigantic proportion for the Bush style GWOT partisans.
    The entire political playing field will change come next attack. You can count on it.

    Reply

  41. Hedley Lamarr says:

    Sad to see Lou Dobbs considered a national bell-weather.

    Reply

  42. Dan Kervick says:

    I’ll have to pull out and dust off my old foreign policy proposal, which I have called “global internationalism”. Global internationalism focuses on the need to advocate and foster a new, truly internationalist spirit in America that aims to guide the United States to become a healthy *participant* in the construction of a vibrant global community organized around new and potent international institutions and committed adherence to international law, rather than seeking to be the *leader* of an America-centered global order. It seeks to diminish the role of patriotic nationalism in the American psyche, and replace them with a much more modest nationalism that plays a secondary identity role to the consciousness of belonging to a broader and more important global community. Achieving a global internationalist consciousness in the United States will be challenging, and is not the work of an election or two, but the high task of a generation.
    Mere multilateralism or another installment of contemporary liberal internationalism is not enough. Conventional liberal internationalists are still working within a romantic and grandiose postwar and Cold War vision of America as the leader of the “Free World”. They do want to bring back a more multilateral approach, but as part of a new sort of Restoration, to bring back the postwar wonder years we all grew up in, where the rest of the world tendered us awe and appreciation, as we here in the US basked in the egotistical glory of American “prestige”.
    The idea that there is a new “post-Iraq” period isn’t the half of it. Latin American countries are kicking out the World Bank. Russia and China are building new spheres of influence. Europeans are increasingly disposed to work out their own way of life, which contrasts with ours. Markets are changing. Popular culture – seemingly everywhere outside the US at least – is more cosmopolitan than ever. The world is busy re-organizing itself for a *post-American* world – not in the sense of a world in which there is no America, but a world in which America is one large and powerful nation among others, and no longer plays the commanding role it has since the end of WWII. They accurately perceive the sunset of the American era of world history. Now it only for us in the United States to grasp this fact.
    The American Century is over – kaput. Let’s all get over it, and move on to creating the truly international system of governance that internationalists have dreamed of for over three centuries. There are massive global problems to solve, and global markets and economic structures that need coordinated intervention and regulation.
    Paul and Dobbs are the descendants of the far right sovereignty fanatics, black helicopter paranoids and hard-core, uncompromising nationalists. Their outlook has become depressingly common on the right, and also among a segment of the left – at least a segment that deludedly seems to think of itself as on the left. They don’t have an international bone in their bodies, and are last-century dinosaurs wrapped up in a futile attachment to a vanished, self-contained, economically and politically independent and insular republic. They are right to oppose the hungry interventionist and imperialist monster America has become. But the notion that we can simply return to a nationally self-sufficient bunker state is exactly the opposite of what the times call for.

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *