The dogmatic isolationists want to believe that if we withdraw from the world that is now also a nuclear world, into our own borders, then everything will work itself out and folks will live in peace and prosperity, now that we are not there to cause bad shit to happen.
The neo cons and other militarists want us to believe that our status as the only military superpower in the world demands that we use that military to create a peaceful hegemony by force of arms, or the threat thereof, in every case across the board. Even where there are no apparent vital US interests.
The reality is the world was a warring blood lusting place before we existed. The other reality is that you can’t use the military but for specific reasons, where we have vital interest and they are threatened by another military force. It is not, and should not be used as a politcal weapon. Both the neo con and dogmatic isolationists, and they are on both sides of the left right divide, are some right, but mostly wrong from fixed ideology that does not think, but reacts only.
It is surely the case that our military adventurism has created some real bad stuff to happen that needn’t have, see Iraq for a recent example. But it is also the case that our perceived status as the world policeman has likely either prevented some conflicts, which are impossible to list due to not having happened. And has ended some that were ongoing.
And in a nuclear world, everyone should be concerned about events when they occur in places where such weapons exist.
The situation in Afghan,/Pakistan is exceedingly complex, but to dismiss us as having no interests in that region and clamoring for us to leave completely, either militarily or diplomatically is quite frankly insane, given the ingredients of instability, radical religiousity with militaristic intent, not to mention the possibility of a relaxed and unthreatened AQ to again have the space and time to blow up more civilians in the west, and about everywhere else, including their own kind.
But it is folly, imo, to continue an all out military campaign against a foe that cannot be defeated in a conventional military sense, and I think Obama now gets this and will end the whack a mole with the Taliban. What happens after that is above my pay grade, but it will not, and should not, imo, mean we pack up and go home completely. And we won’‘t.
Cross posted at Balloon Juice