Whatever else the Tea Party movement believes, it espouses (and evidences) a firm belief in the self-organizing capacities of free individuals.(via Assistant Village Idiot, who observes "Eventually nations or institutions are called on to back up their claims, and you'd better have something more than a 'by golly, we can lick 'em' attitude.")
Unfortunately, we individuals are rarely free in the face of foreign policy. Foreign policy is highly centralized. And the political power that centralizes foreign policy is--when wielded by foreigners--outside the realm of our political influence no matter how popular the Tea Party becomes.
Nor is the past record of decentralization in foreign policy reassuring. It went well when the Soviet Union lost control of Eastern Europe’s foreign policy. It did not go so well when the European colonial powers lost control of the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. And total decentralization of foreign policy meant a nightmare in the former Yugoslavia.
I take the Tea Party point that, politically speaking, control is scary. Out-of-control is also scary. And what’s most scary about foreign policy is how often it’s simply beyond our control.
I talked to a Tea Party supporter with strong libertarian inclinations. "I’m for staying out of other people’s business," she said, and told me she was surprised by Barack Obama’s continuation of George W. Bush’s foreign policy. I’ll bet Barack Obama was surprised too.
Friday, October 01, 2010
P.J. O'Rourke in the World Affairs Journal: