President Obama has noted that these conditions are unpleasant, but a new order based on a “different set of principles,” a “sense of common humanity” is just over the horizon. For him, “No world order that elevates one nation or group of people over another will succeed. No balance of power among nations will hold.” These comments are nothing short of ahistorical nonsense. Some nations have dominated other nations. All one has to do is observe Putin’s actions in Crimea, in defiance of the Budapest Accord with guaranteed Ukrainian sovereignty including Crimea, to understand the absurdity of a claim. Balance of power politics hasn’t been removed from international politics whatever the president’s wish may be. It is precisely this balance that the U.S. helped to establish across the globe since the end of World War II and a balance many allies continue to rely on.
A desire to relinquish American power and influence doesn’t lead to the sharing of principles and a common humanity; it promotes chaos. The estimable political philosopher, Leo Strauss wrote of Weimar Germany, it is “the sorry spectacle of justice without a sword or of justice unable to use a sword,” conditions that led to the barbarism and savagery that followed in Nazi Germany.
Alas, Obama’s utopia is filled with idealism and promise. What it lacks is realism and a basic appreciation of world history. It is one thing to regard history as a dream from which we should awaken. It is quite another thing to ignore it completely and assume a world without borders is possible.