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Sunday, October 15, 2006

Empire of Liberty

Max Boot defends America's Wilsonian Instinct:
Admittedly, American attempts to safeguard liberty abroad were limited in the 19th century, when the U.S. was still a third-rate power. But Americans were excited by liberal revolutions, whether in Latin America, Greece or Hungary. Even John Quincy Adams—the secretary of State who said that the U.S. “goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy”—horrified the monarchs of Europe by urging their subjects to rise up and seek their freedom. The Monroe Doctrine that he helped write was an attempt to keep Spain and other European autocracies from expanding their domains in the Americas.

The U.S. was not willing to fight for purely idealistic motives—something we’ve never done, not even in Kosovo or Iraq. But whatever other motives were present, there was a powerful idealistic impulse behind all of the nation’s 19th century wars, from the War of 1812 to the Mexican War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and numerous smaller forays abroad to safeguard American traders and missionaries.

Contrary to the animadversions of Iraq war critics, there is nothing new about spreading democracy at gunpoint. The central philosophy behind Manifest Destiny was the belief that Americans, as the champions of liberty, had a right to annex not only all of North America but also territories from Hawaii to the Philippines. So successful were the Americans in establishing their “empire of liberty” (Jefferson’s phrase) that today almost no one realizes that the “winning of the West” was imperialism in another guise.

Properly understood, it is not the Wilsonians who are outside the mainstream of American foreign policy. It is their realpolitiker critics who seek to import an amoral approach to foreign policy that flourished in 19th century European chancelleries but has never found a home in the land of the free.
To which I would add that an Empire of Liberty offensive is especially appropriate in light of and in response to the recently rejuvenated and metastasizing Jihad. And that Jihad's existential threat to free civilization should fill its members with resolve - not fear, self-doubt, nor self-loathing. Wilsonian or not, who cares? Speak up. Do your part. We can only hope it is not too late to change the ugly course of history.

A history Spengler confidently describes from a theological angle:
Pope Benedict XVI's September 12 speech provoked a fruitless debate over the remarks of a 14th-century Byzantine emperor about the evils that Mohammed had brought to the world. Nothing ever will be learned, much less proved, by this tedious and sophomoric exercise. Gathering dust half-read on my desk are a number of books recounting the supposed evils of Islam - by Ba'at Yeor, Oriana Fallaci, Serge Trifkovic, and many others. There is not a speck of theological insight in the stack of them.

Western policy toward the Muslim world appears stupid and clumsy because its theological foundations are flawed. It is not what it is, nor what it was, but rather what it does that defines a religion: How does a faith address the paramount concern of human mortality, and what action does it require of its adherents? I addressed these issues under the title Jihad, the Lord's Supper, and eternal life (September 19), explaining that jihad does for Muslims precisely what Communion does for Christians. It is not a doctrine but a sacrament, that is, a holy act that transforms the actor.
If you have a taste for barbequed neocon be sure to read the rest. Pity pithy Spengler doesn't think much of Boot or other pundits with similarly sensible opinions. I doubt he's read even half of their books. Even so Spengler's oxymoronic theo-logic and Boot's Americentric secu-logic complement rather than contradict.

Never mind these retards.


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