Attacking wars’ legitimacy just ignorant

Renee Rosenow

Senior Collin Hawkins’ recent editorial on American foreign policy is a classic example of an anti-American segment of present-day liberalism which responds to every aspect of foreign policy it finds disagreeable by ranting about “the hubris of American exceptionalism” and decrying the willful nationalistic ignorance of the arrogant masses.

Hawkins blames American conservatives for perfecting “the technique of patriotic demagoguery.” The truth, however, is far from a concerted effort by conservatives to suppress the freedom of opposing viewpoints. Hawkins would be better suited looking in a mirror and examining the foundations of his own political leanings.

He mocks the notion of the city on the hill, but perhaps it is he who arrogantly practices willful ignorance, ignoring it was the liberal president John F. Kennedy who, in 1961, declared our government “must be as a city upon a hill – constructed and inhabited by men aware of their great trust and their great responsibilities.”

Likewise, it was the classical liberal political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville who in 1865 wrote of America’s exceptionalism in his seminal book, Democracy in America: “The position of the Americans is therefore quite exceptional, and it may be believed that no democratic people will ever be placed in a similar one.” To this day, that book remains a classic centerpiece in the political science curriculum of most American
universities.

In an editorial that was ostensibly about what Hawkins considers to be a hypocritical American policy on terrorist extradition, he made sure to touch on all of the standard liberal talking points – giving a shout-out to the Fox News-haters by blaming the media for “white-washing” the true evils of the Bush administration, and offhandedly including a potshot at the American invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, portraying them as unjustified, and as prime examples of America’s “dangerous arrogance that threatens the international order.”

This attack on the legitimacy of America’s two current wars is yet another instance of Hawkins’s own willful ignorance as he conveniently ignores the most prominent founder of his beloved liberal internationalism, the Democratic President Woodrow Wilson, who took American exceptionalism a step further by declaring that “it is surely the manifest destiny of the United States to lead in the attempt to make (democracy) prevail.” Here Wilson recognized, for the first time, the obvious realization that America is destined to be the leader of the entire free world.

The truth is the United States is the most powerful nation in history – both economically and militarily. Yet despite our obvious capability of becoming the most expansive empire in history, the U.S. has voluntarily rejected imperialism, choosing instead to become the most benevolent nation the world has ever seen by spreading freedom and democracy, enforcing a stable world order, tackling the spread of global diseases, propping up international markets, promoting the economic development of the third world, funding the U.N., and handing out billions of dollars in foreign aid annually to needy countries across the globe.

Hawkins’ editorial should be seen for what it truly is – a manipulative attempt to victimize his particular political leanings concerning foreign policy, portraying his views as the marginalized underdog to his fabricated notion of ideological domination by an unchallenged, dangerous, hypocritical worldview propagated by what he believes is an ignorant and arrogant nationalistic American populace. It’s a classic example of the liberal victimization that uses selective history, half-truths, and distorted logic to cry afoul about how the mean, nasty conservatives are playing unfairly and the American people are either too fooled by conservative rhetoric, or simply aren’t intelligent enough, to realize the liberals are right.

Ripe with the injection of generic talking points from any Democratic stump speech, Hawkins’s editorial manages to meander its way through a quixotic string of arguments and sidetracks that, in the end, only succeeds at further enforcing the underdog status of Hawkins’s foreign policy ideology. Not for the reasons he wants us to believe, however, but because the vast shortcomings of the article only confirm that his positions are simply untenable.

Barnekow is a senior political science major and guest columnist for The Spectator.