I’ve written before about my admiration for the writer P. J. O’Rourke. It’s not just that he’s funny. It’s not just that, politically, he’s conservative-libertarian with libertine leanings (I think he was a “South Park Conservative” long before there was a “South Park). It’s not just because he’s a semi-regular on “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.” And it’s not just that he’s a fellow Cow Hampshirite (although I’m a native and he’s a Patty-come-lately). It’s because the man just NAILS some essential truths, in absolutely amazing fashion.
I just finished his latest book, “Peace Kills: America’s Fun New Imperialism,” and it is amazing. P. J. absolutely pounds the case for the war on terror, and captures the sentiments I so often struggle to express.
I’m going to put an excerpt from the first chapter, “Why Americans Hate Foreign Policy” in the extended section. And I defy ANYONE to argue with it.
Americans hate foreign policy. Americans hate foreign policy because Americans hate foreigners. Americans hate foreigners because Americans are foreigners. We all come from foreign parts, even if we came here ten thousand years ago on a land bridge across the Bering Strait. We didn’t want anything to do with those Ice Age Siberians, them with the itchy cave-bear-pelt underwear and mammoth meat on their breath. We were off to the Pacific Northwest — great salmon fishing, blowout potluck dinners, a whole new life.
America is not “globally conscious” or “multicultural.” Americans didn’t come to America to be Limey Poofters, Frog-Eaters, Bucket Heads, Micks, Spicks, SHeenies, or Wogs. If we’d watned foreign entanglements, we would have stayed home. Or — in the case of those of us who were shipped to America against our will, as slaves, exiles, or transported prisoners — we would have gone back. Events in Liberia and the type of American who lives in Paries tell us what to think of that.
Being foreigners ourselves, we Americans know what foreigners are up to with our foreign policy — their venomous convents, lying alliances, greedy agreements, and trick-or-treaties. America is not a wily, sneaky nation. We don’t think that way. We don’t think at all, thank God. Start thinking and pretty soon you get ideas, and then you get idealism, and the next thing you know you’ve got ideology, with millions dead in concentration camps and gulags. A fundamental American question is “What’s the big idea?”
Americans would like to ignore foreign policy. Our previous attempts at isolationism were successful. Unfortunately, they were successful for Hitler’s Germany and Tojo’s Japan. Evil is an outreach program. A solitary bad person sitting alone, harboring genocidal thoughts, and wishing he ruled the world is not a problem unless he lives next to us in the trailer park. In the big geopolitical trailer park that is the world today, he does.
America has to act. But, when America acts, other nations accuse us of being “hegemonic,” of engaging in “unilateralism, of behaving as if we’re the only nation on earth that counts.
We are. Russia used to be a superpower but resigned “to spend more time with the family.” China is supposed to be mighty, but the Chinese leadership quakes when a couple of hundred Falun Gong members do tai chi for Jesus. The European Union looks impressive on paper, with a greater population and a larger economy than America’s. But the military spending of Britain, France, Germany, and Italy combined does not equal one third of the U.S. defense budget. The United States spends more on defense than the aforementioned countries — plus Russia plus China plus the next six top defense-spending nations. Any multilateral military or diplomatic effort that includes the United States is a crew team with Arnold Schwarzenegger as coxswain and Nadia Comenici on the oars. WHen other countries demand a role in the exercise of global power, America can ask another fundamental American question: “You and what army?”