8 modern principles about international relationships

George Weigel presents it as how Democrats view the world. He says the ideas have a precise and definable origin which he traces as an outcome of the Vietnam war.

In briefest compass, eight ideas have shaped the foreign-policy perspective of today’s Democratic establishment. Different leaders will emphasize one or another of these ideas, and circumstances will dictate the ways in which these ideas are applied to real-world situations. However, anyone wanting to dig into the subsoil of the incompetence, ineptness, and just plain bad judgment currently on display had better be prepared to reckon with these eight ideas — and with the fact that people in power actually swear fealty to them.

The list is worth examining and the ideas considering no matter the implications of political affiliation. The ideas provide a description of an ideological value system. The eight ideas in the list are about (1) the nature of conflict, (2) how peace is achieved, (3) the role of the United States, (4) the attitude towards armed forces and their use in conflict resolution, (5) the subservience of nations to global power structures, (6) the responsibilities of the United States as subservient to international organization, (7) the threats to the United States, (8) the distinctiveness or need to preserve the United States.

These are the ideas that, in one form or another, lurk just beneath the surface of the thinking of virtually the entire Democratic foreign-policy establishment. They shape the minds of the people who form the talent pool from which Democratic administrations draw their senior foreign-policy officials. No Democrat who strongly challenges these ideas has a chance of being the Democratic presidential nominee. Moreover, the people who hold these ideas are firmly convinced that they are true.

That, and not some psychological tic of President Obama’s, is why U.S. policy has been what it has been since a Tunisian fruit vendor immolated himself and set North Africa and the Middle East ablaze. Ideas do indeed have consequences, for good and for ill.

These are all ideas about the nature of power on the global scale, who should have it and how it is to be expressed. The focus is on removing power from the lowest levels and, instead, placing it at the levels of highest scope where only an elite, selected and determined by indeterminate processes and not subject to any accountability, can govern.

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