"America no longer has the will, wallet or influence to impose an active and ambitious global leadership across the world," Harries and Switzer contend. They cite Walter Lippmann, who wrote that a credible foreign policy "consists in bringing into balance, with a comfortable surplus of power in reserve, a nation's commitments and the nation's power.
"Without the compelling principle that the nation must maintain its objectives and its power in equilibrium, it purposes within its means and its means equal to its purposes, its commitments related to its resources and its resources adequate to its commitments, it is impossible to think at all about foreign affairs."
Though U.S. commitments are as great or greater than in 1991, the authors write, America is not so domineering as she was at the end of the Cold War, or when Bush 43 set out to "end tyranny in our world."
"The dollar is weak. The debt mountain is of Himalayan proportions. Budget and trade deficits are alarming. Infrastructure is aging. The AAA bond credit rating is lost. Economic growth is exceptionally sluggish for a nation that is four years out of a recession. And where 20 years ago U.S. military power was universally considered awesome in its scope, today, after more than a decade of its active deployment, the world is much more aware of its limitations and costs. It is decidedly less impressed."
Consider Syria, where the neocons and liberal interventionists are clamoring for U.S. military action, but "no boots on the ground."
Is there really any vital U.S. interest at risk in whether the 40-year-old Assad dictatorship stands or falls?
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been calling for Assad's ouster for two years and transships weapons to the rebels, has now seen his country stung by a terrorist attack.
But though he has a 400,000-man NATO-equipped army, three times Syria's population, and a 550-mile border to attack across, Erdogan wants us, the "international community," to bring Assad down.
But why is Assad our problem -- and not Erdogan's problem?
Harries and Switzer urge Obama to enunciate a new foreign policy that defines our true vital interests and brings U.S. war guarantees into balance with U.S. power -- a policy where the first question U.S. leaders ask about a conflict or crisis abroad is not "how" but "why"?
Why, exactly, is this America's problem?
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?" To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators webpage at www.creators.com.
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