GOP candidates follow ‘Washington Rules’ rules

Just a brief acknowledgment that the Repub prez candidates debated again Saturday night, focused on national security and commander-in-chief issues, in the form of a quick follow-up to my post of last week about “Washington Rules” by Andrew Bacevich.

As Bacevich wrote:

“When it comes to projecting power, the United States exempts itself from norms with which it expects others to comply… Precisely because American purposes express the collective interests of humankind, Washington expects others to view U.S. military power, the Pentagon’s global footprint, and an American penchant for intervention not as a matter of concern but as a source of comfort and reassurance.”

The Saturday night debate was a pretty great illustration, basically from the get-go, which began with a discussion of what the United States should do about Iran.

Bomb the nuclear sites in Iran and/or work with Israel to get that done? Overthrow the government (in polite company, we call it “regime change,” and by the way, although most Americans choose not to know about it, the regime of Iran is one that the United States already changed in fairly recent history).

Assist those within Iran who seek to overthrow the government? Impose “crippling” economic sanctions? Covertly (and deniably, Newt Gingrich recommended) assassinate the Iranian nuclear scientists? And, of course, if none of these got the job done, we the United States of America must be willing, in the final analysis, if necessary, to take military action to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon.

Just within the opening segment of the debate, all of these measures and more were advocated proudly by the Repub candidates, other than Ron Paul. (Rep. Paul brought up the quaint idea, which was never mentioned again, that if you want to do things like this to another country, the Constitution requires that Congress first declare war.)

Now just ask yourself, what other countries in the world publicly arrogate to themselves the right to overthrow governments, bomb, assassinate, wage economic war, etc?

And what would the attitude of the U.S. government be toward another country that arrogated to itself such a right?

To repeat Bacevich: “When it comes to projecting power, the United States exempts itself from norms with which it expects others to comply.”

Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 11/14/2011 - 11:32 am.

    I just want to point out that Bacevich is not presenting a new idea here, nor is he even stating it in a novel way. Authors like Howard Zinn and Noam Chomsky have been saying this for decades amongst many more progressive intellectuals. I’m not complaining, a new voice is always welcome, I’m just saying if this is new to you it’s because you’ve ignoring the progressive voice for decades. Take a trip to May Day book store down by the U.

  2. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 11/14/2011 - 12:41 pm.

    I could almost vote for Ron Paul if I could be sure his “fair” tax program wouldn’t have a chance of being enacted. He is the only bona fide anti-war/anti-defense-bloat candidate from either party and, as far as I can tell, the only one who doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism — that belief in our superiority over all other countries which exists only in American minds.

  3. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 11/14/2011 - 12:48 pm.

    Face it. International law is whatever the United States says it is. And it’ll remain that way until another country challenges that assumption. So far I don’t see any takers as much as the Left craves one.

  4. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 11/14/2011 - 04:02 pm.

    Just out of curiosity I did a Google Scholar search to see if intellectual Gingrich had actually published any scholarly articles. Most of the references were to his vanity press books, but there was one in a reputable journal:

    “N Gingrich – Foreign Policy, 2003 – JSTOR.
    Anti-American sentiment is rising unabated around the globe because the US State
    Department has abdicated values and principles in favor of accommodation and passivity.
    Only a top-to-bottom reform and culture shock will enable the State Department to …”

    Note the date: at least he’s consistent.

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