In a recent column, Thomas Friedman, probably the most influential “internationalist” — read: proponent of U.S. interventionism in faraway places — has finally discovered that the United States must soon turn inward and put domestic economic growth first because of its massive public debt, huge federal budget deficit, and looming fiscal crisis caused by a dramatic automatic escalation in entitlements spending.
Eureka, the foreign policy rapture has begun!
The real problem with Friedman’s piece is not him reaching a conclusion that was obvious even before the onset of the Great Recession of 2008, but that he laments how dangerous the world will be without the steady guiding hand of the United States.
Friedman writes, and most Americans will be eager to believe, that the diminished interventionism of the now “frugal superpower” will be bad for the world because:
“[T]he most unique and important feature of U.S. foreign policy over the last century has been the degree to which America’s diplomats and naval, air, and ground forces provided global public goods — from open seas to open trade and from containment to counterterrorism — that benefited many others besides us.
“U.S. power has been the key force maintaining global stability, and providing global governance, for the last 70 years. That role will not disappear, but it will certainly shrink.”