Former US Ambassador Ryan Crocker concludes his interview with The New Mexican (“‘It’s a failure of American patience,'” September 10), asserting, “It’s September 10 again. “
Such a fear campaign has no place in any serious discussion of US foreign policy.
Crocker says, “We don’t engage in long-term conflict. … If they become long term, that’s when we start to get excited and look for the door. … We have created an atmosphere in which our allies care about our commitment and our patience. … ”
We must understand and reject Crocker’s worldview if the United States is ever to face serious challenges to democracy at home posed by our unhindered Right and also tackle the most serious global threat of its life (and ours), climate change.
First, Crocker contradicts himself on long-term conflict. The Vietnam War was a protracted conflict. The United States’ efforts to dominate the Americas have been, at least since the 1890s, a long-term episodic conflict that still rages against Cuba, for example. “[L]looking for the door ”after failure or weariness does not mean that a long-term conflict has existed or has not.
Second, Crocker’s interview is steeped in fear and paranoia: fear of the non-American “other” and paranoia of a “return of al-Qaida”. The use of fear and paranoia to get the nation’s citizens to act has long been a fundamental component of foreign policy. The result after 1945 was an effort to create a hegemonic global presence through what has been called the American Century.
Third, Crocker claims to occupy Afghanistan “[cost] we have very little blood and treasure “and” was our insurance policy against another September 11 “. This is partly true: the lack of drafts probably prevented the bloodshed in the house. More precisely, the treasure that is American democracy cannot survive the foreign adventures which arose out of the will of an American century.
An unlimited presence in Afghanistan as an insurance policy against future unrest means that our involvement there was, and is, a vital national interest. It was and is not such a thing.
Government officials like Crocker, whether Democrats or Republicans, are prepared to sacrifice fundamental values, such as liberty in general, individual freedoms, political inclusion and, alas, even democracy, in the name of the security. The Patriot Act represents the tragic erosion of our core values.
We must remember the words of John Quincy Adams and Richard M. Nixon. First, Adams, July 4, 1821: “[America] do not go abroad, looking for monsters to destroy. … She could become the dictator of the world. She would no longer be the mistress of her own mind.
And, Nixon, at the Bohemian Grove in July 1967: “American-style democracy is not necessarily the best form of government for the peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America of totally different origins. [from ours]. “Could it be that he had taken his own advice.
I submit to Ryan Crocker et al. that it’s time for a “failure of American patience” with the kind of foreign policy they espouse.
We need to engage the world with others who also know that the existential threat of climate change is much closer than the horizon. Only then can America’s word to its allies be credible and its core values endure.
William Walker is the author of National Security and Core Values in American History (2009) and The rise and fall of the American century (2018). He lives in Santa Fe.