Photo Credit:
Rudyard Kipling, 1865–1936

The press of events in the 20th Century forced America to take on great power, but it reacted to that power by adopting the model of FDR, who ran for as many terms as he lived, instead of the model of Washington who stepped down as soon as it was feasible. The difference between these two kinds of power is the difference between Caesar and Cincinnatus , it is the difference between empire and expedition and between virtue and burden.

It is now long since past time to put down that burden. It is not America’s mission to teach democracy to the Muslim world or to export any of its virtues by gentle means or harsh. The first duty of every society is not the export of its virtues, but their safeguarding. Only then can that society serve as an example to the world that inspires, rather sacrificing its virtues to teach virtue to the world.

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Originally published at Sultan Knish.

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Daniel Greenfield is an Israeli born blogger and columnist, and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. His work covers American, European and Israeli politics as well as the War on Terror. His writing can be found at http://sultanknish.blogspot.com/ These opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Jewish Press.

28 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you, Daniel Greenfield! I have struggled for many years to understand in a concise way what has taken place in America's last 100 years. I knew what was right and wrong but didn't understand colonialism/ empir-ism. I see it clearly know from your writings. God has given you a gift of precise insight and clarity. I look forward to reading much more of your work.

  2. The problem is, when America does not lead…..when it succumbs to its instinct for isolationism, the world turns a blind eye to atrocity. The thing about America is that we follow a policy of "enlightened self interest". This is unlike any other nation that has ever been on the earth. When the French or Russians or Chinese bring the fight to their enemies, they take land or tribute of some sort. Only America tries to make the enemy lands a better place. Only America tries to feed the hungry or heal the ill without asking anything in return. Would you like the Russians or the Chinese or the French or the Germans to lead the world? Have we not seen enough of the costs to the people they "help"? Only America allows those lands liberated from the enemy to decide their own fates by way of a peaceful and fair vote. And only America protects those that have so very little to offer in return. 231 years ago we began a great experiment to "form a more perfect union"…….not a perfect union, but a damn sight better than anything else I have seen in this world.

  3. Ironically, Russia and China are now mostly non-interventionist (militarily). While they may peddle arms here and there (usually used against us) they keep their actions in other nations on a business and trade level. While we are sending in troops, China is sending in negotiators for business and trade agreements. There is an enormous difference between non-interventionism and isolationism.

  4. Peddling arms here and there could be the understatement of the year. Russia is sending a marine force to shore up Syria and threatening over Iran. Remember its intervention in Georgia? How about Russia's involvement in the Tazik civil war? Russia is also pushing a new interventionist law for use of force in Central Asia. Have you forgotten its threats to make a nuclear target of Poland if it puts a defensive missile radar on its soil? And How about China…..from the South China Sea to threats against Japan to incursions in Indian airspace. How about incursions into Vietnam recently? To open threats from their military against Taiwan and the US. And their continued occupation of Tibet. Both are using increased state sponsored cyber attacks on both government and industrial targets.

  5. Thank you, Daniel Greenfield! I have struggled for many years to understand in a concise way what has taken place in America’s last 100 years. I knew what was right and wrong but didn’t understand colonialism/ empir-ism. I see it clearly know from your writings. God has given you a gift of precise insight and clarity. I look forward to reading much more of your work.

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