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US Foreign Policy From 11/9 to 9/11

As part of a media partnership with Blogactiv, we are cross-posting this book review by Stanley Crossick:

"America Between the Wars: From 11/9 to 9/11", by Derek Chollet and James Goldgeier, is an interesting read, in particular in highlighting the continuities of policies of the Clinton and George W Bush Administrations.

American exceptionalism is alive and well in both parties as can be seen from the speeches of both Senators McCain and Obama. The authors argue that President Clinton and Madeleine Albright, his Secretary of State, shared common ground on many policies with the Project for a New American Century, a neo-con organisation, including NATO enlargement and the Balkans. And both opposed any isolationist tendencies and the US turning its back on global problems. Both believe in the "indispensable nation" (a phrase coined by Albright) with a unique role to play in the world. Both believe in democracy promotion.

These conclusions no doubt upset many red and blue politicians but it is timely to express them. There is a danger in believing that all will be well after 4 November and EU-US relations will resume where they left off. However, this is not so. Deep foreign policy differences divide the Atlantic and we need to address these frankly together. The gulf in understanding between Americans and Europeans cannot be bridged if its width is underestimated.

Finally and frighteningly, the authors point out that from 1989 to 2001, the United States averaged one large-scale military intervention every 18 months.


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Joe Noory on :

WHat's actually frightening about it, is that most of the world is so passive and willing to accept chaos and inequity that it's necessary to roll out the big green machine every 18 months. Bear in mind that 4 of those deployments were in the Balkans, and would not have required the US to be involved if the Europeans were able to make themselves do what they were asking the US to help them do. That would make up half of that 12 year quota the author at CFR is looking to characterize as 'American hostility' which boils down to a staring contest that the US wasn't willing to play in Darfur: while the various Europeans fragments said several times since 2004 that they would deploy an effective force and hasn't, the US did not blink this time and cover their shortfall. You might recall that while Sarajevo was under bombardment, the French and the British were trying to pull their forces out in the view that it was hopeless. I would think that the population in reflection would be thankful that someone was willing to be aggressive enough to bring that chaos to an end. SO then all we have left is a continent reduced to public relations positioning instead of acting on instability, even that close to home, and the people who managed to stabilize it caricatured as warmongers. Some things never change.

Pamela on :

Bear in mind that 4 of those deployments were in the Balkans And the First Gulf War was in 1991

Pamela on :

"Finally and frighteningly, the authors point out that from 1989 to 2001, the United States averaged one large-scale military intervention every 18 months." Frightening? Grow a pair already.

Aston on :

Well the really frightening piece of it is that most americans don't see a problem witht the US bombing, invading or occupying a new country every 18 months. But now them, most germans didn't see a problem with Nazi-germany invading its' neighbours either back in the thirties ...

Joe Noory on :

That is precisely not the problem. The issue here is the self-evasion of critics leading this conclusion after the fact. Add them up - half of those deployments were FOR the stability that has permitted Europe to come closer together and live in peace. What's so magical about 1989? Simple: it removes from the equasion the many French deployments in Africa, the Soviet legacy, and so forth. It's a statistical evasion. After all, why not start in 1939? This feeble attraction to this sort of argumentation is the reflection of those who aren't so much interested in whatever higher and gentler motives that they imagine for themselves, but an indulgence of those who have accomplished relatively little in facing the challenges to stability outside of their own bubble. It's rhetorical tonsil-hocky with your own ego, and little else.

Kevin Sampson on :

A 'large-scale military intervention every 18 months'? How about a list of all these 'interventions'?

Joe Noory on :

Oh yes, surely it's those awful Americans again. What with their bombardment of the Chechens, suppression of Tibetans, the CIA creating the Janjaweed, the red Brigade, the Sindero Luminoso, the Neapolitan Mafia, and all that. You know if anyone ever did anything wrong in the world, clearly they were "created" by Americans, and were in the employ of "big oil", what with their "money". It's all about corporations and capital. After all, if it weren't for Americans, clearly no-one would have had to have industry and corporations anywhere else in the world, even Siemens and Mitsubishi in the 19th century. Sorry. I slipped into "Comment is Free" mode there for a moment.

quo vadis on :

All that 'frightening' invading, and yet we still get dinged for not sending troops to stop the the Rwanda massacre, and we'll probably also get blamed for not heading off the looming Zimbabwe disaster. Already I'm hearing the 'no oil there so Americans don't care' trope.

Pamela on :

Already I'm hearing the 'no oil there so Americans don't care' trope. Next up - VENEZUELA!!

Joe Noory on :

Even though the question is 'why DIDN'T the Dutch act in Rwanda?', or the conspicuous lack of a action by the governments of America's benighted critics in Zimbabwe, Chechnya, etal. Or the covor provided to the very worst possible outcome by saying they would go to Sudan and then not. It enables genocide, and by ridiculing what anyone would to to act against it with force, unwittingly assists it.

Pat Patterson on :

I think also the question would be to learn what exactly is a "...large scale military intervention?" Sending a platoon of Marines into Liberia to secure a safe route to the port is obviously not major to the US but it might bankrupt a small country even if they had the physical assets necessary for such an action. The US has the equivalent of 10 divisions in Iraq while Romania has a short batallion and Macedonia has two companies of SOFs. I would hesitate to try to tell the latter two that their engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan was minor. I have a strong suspicion that the definition used mainly consists of surging assets into an area where American officials and citizens might have to be evacuated and any of the disaster relief operations that the US has been involved with since the cut-off date of 1989.

Kevin Sampson on :

No joy on the list here, so I made the same request over at Stanley Crossicks blog. We'll see....

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