The world of the Foreign Policy Technocrat is more like the Vatican, than the Think Tank or the Academy where these failed ‘experts’ proliferate . Mr. Fitzsimmon’s latest pronouncement in the ‘American Interest’ demonstrates that the employees and academic hangers -on, that people the American National Security State, are always looking to publicly shame/expel the Apostates, in the midst of their self-declared virtue.
Mr. Fitzsimmons platitudes about ‘Liberalism’ as the bringer/deliver of ‘Free Markets’ , ‘Wealth Creation’ and ‘Human Rights’ are continually cited as proof of the free-floating virtues of that ‘Liberalism’. Mr. Fitzsimmon’s offers no empirical proof of these asserted virtues. Yet he asks of Mearsheimer for what he can’t supply! But the reader can supply the proof that the ‘Free Market’ collapsed in 2008 and the Self-Correcting Market has yet to manifest itself! Look, now, to the American intervention into the internal politics of Venezuela, that makes a mockery of Mr. Fitzsimmon’s political moralizing about Human Rights and its concomitant of self -determination !
This reader welcomes what Mr. Fitzsimmon’s derides Mearsheimer for: ‘It is a tool of polemics, not analysis’ The insular , self-congratulatory, not to speak of the morally, ethically vacuous world, of the Foreign Policy Technocrat is in desperate need of more scathing critique! Some selective quotation from Mr. Fitzsimmons polemic masquerading as political rationalism.
Oppenheimer definition of liberal hegemony—which could serve for all of the authors—is “an ambitious strategy in which a state aims to turn as many countries as possible into liberal democracies like itself while also promoting an open international economy and building international institutions.” While these tendencies have existed throughout modern U.S. history, it was the end of the Cold War and the “unipolar moment” that the authors believe freed American leaders to pursue liberal hegemony in earnest.
In practice, Walt explains, this pursuit “involved (1) preserving U.S. primacy, especially in the military sphere; (2) expanding the U.S. sphere of influence; and (3) promoting liberal norms of democracy and human rights.” This is an accurate enough description of U.S. foreign policy, but do these features add up to “liberal hegemony”?
Mearsheimer seems particularly emotional about Washington’s role in precipitating Russian aggression in Ukraine, which he believes “anyone with a rudimentary understanding of geopolitics should have seen . . . coming.” He might consider that anyone with a rudimentary understanding of actual foreign policy decision-making would appreciate that most choices involve balancing risks with imperfect options. When things go badly, this is not dispositive evidence of cluelessness, or even of surprise.
He continues with the rather extraordinary assertion that, “Western elites were surprised by events in Ukraine because most of them have a flawed understanding of international politics. They believe that realism and geopolitics have little relevance in the 21st century and that a ‘Europe whole and free’ can be constructed entirely on the basis of liberal principles.” Needless to say, no “Western elites”—much less “most of them”—are quoted expressing any such foolishness.
This kind of argumentation is known as the fallacy of the straw man. It is a tool of polemics, not analysis. Walt’s and Mearsheimer’s readers should be on guard accordingly.
I recommend Perry Anderson’s ‘American Foreign Policy and Its Thinkers’ as a more valuable exploration of the topic, than Mr. Fitzsimmons’ weak journalist polemic.