Isolationism has generally not worked very well for the US. It invariably leads to the development of world trends that just plain suck, and the US then has to go and kick in some heads to get things back to normal.
This is the subtle face of isolationism.
Because of this line:
Salvation does not lie abroad. It's here at home.
This is the most craven line I've read lately: it's nothing less than an abrogation of responsibility, an abandonment of principal, a bowing to an inevitability that hasn't even happened.
And this is the biggest lie I have seen in a long time:
The truth is that the United States, with rare exceptions, has demonstrated little talent for changing the way others live. We have enjoyed far greater success in making necessary adjustments to our own way of life, preserving and renewing what we value most. Early in the 20th century, Progressives rounded off the rough edges of the Industrial Revolution, deflecting looming threats to social harmony. During the Depression, FDR's New Deal reformed capitalism and thereby saved it. Here lies the real genius of American politics.
This isn't the truth: as a matter of a fact, it's the opposite of the truth.
The US has been the world's greatest instrument for change that the world has ever seen: the ways that others live have been transformed. Germany and Japan, Korea, Iraq, every one in those countries has had their lives fundamentally altered, fundamentally changed. We are constantly re-inventing ourselves, making necessary adjustments: that's what free people do. Progressives today are the leading edge of a reactionary, isolationist movement that embodies the very worst in US politics, the woolly-headed Wilsonians.
The real genius of American politics is the wisdom of the American voter in choosing the right man for the job of President, based more on his leadership abilities and character than on any other aspect of his person. Hence Reagan and the younger Bush. Hence Kennedy.
The real genius of American politics is the wisdom of the American voter: when making a mistake, they learn from it and don't repeat it. Hence Jimmy Carter's single term of office.
For the United States, the prospect of permanent war now beckons.
Well into the first decade of this generational struggle, Americans remained oddly confused about its purpose. Is the aim to ensure access to cheap and abundant oil? Spread democracy? Avert nuclear proliferation? Perpetuate the American empire? Preserve the American way of life? From the outset, the enterprise that Gates now calls the "Long War" has been about all of these things and more.
The US did not decide to go to war, anymore than it did so in the 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century. War was brought to us, or was waged against our interests: the decision to take down Iraq was the decision to start putting a stop to state-sponsored terrorism in the Middle East, to finish the job begun in 1991.
And it's not so much that Americans are "oddly confused" about its purpose: it's that the pundits and hacks are confused by the fundamental support for the war. The only sentence that makes sense here is that this war is about all of those things: however, the writer is clearly incapable of understanding that there can be more than one cause or more than one effect of any given event, preferring instead the simplistic and naive belief that everything can be reduced to a single causality or a single effect, the sign of a small mind.
Again, for those liberals with reading difficulties (sorry, I repeat myself): the long war here is not the war that the US wages, but rather the war that is waged against the US.
Nothing more, nothing less.
This writer would have you tire of it, would have you be exhausted by it, would have you snivel and crawl back to the safe haven.
The best way to fight this war is to take it to the enemy and destroy their ability to wage war by changing the way that people that they hide behind live.
Anything else is the face of isolationism, a face that refuses to see how the world is, preferring to cut the US off from the rest of the world, preferring to think that the US doesn't need the rest of the world and vice versa.
Gee, that worked soooo well for the US leading up to WW1 and also up to WW2. That worked so well for Korea, for Vietnam, for the decades of the Cold War, where the world was a zero-sum game with the Soviets.
That way lies not madness, but the inevitability of greater conflagration and even greater deaths.