Thomas Sowell

That phrase, by Max Boot of the Counsel on Foreign Relations and The Weekly Standard, is breathtaking in its implications. When he places himself and fellow neoconservatives in the tradition of Woodrow Wilson, it is truly chilling.

Many of the countries we are having big trouble with today were created by the Woodrow Wilson policies of nation-building by breaking up empires, under the principle of "self-determination of nations." Such trouble spots as Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon were all parts of the Ottoman Empire that was dismembered after its defeat in the First World War.

The Balkan cauldron of nations was created by dismembering the defeated Austro-Hungarian Empire. That dismemberment also facilitated Adolph Hitler's picking off small nations like Czechoslovakia and Austria in the 1930s, without firing a shot, because they were no longer part of a defensible empire.

The track record of nation-building and Wilsonian grandiosity ought to give anyone pause. The very idea that young Americans are once again to be sent out to be shot at and killed, in order to carry out the bright ideas of editorial office heroes, is sickening.

In a dangerous nuclear world, it is a full-time job for the U.S. government to protect the lives of the American people. That cannot be done by staying home and depending on two oceans to shield us, as the old-line conservatism of Patrick Buchanan seems to suggest. But to destroy regimes that are trying to destroy us is very different from going on nation-building adventures.

Thomas Sowell

Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institute and author of The Housing Boom and Bust.

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