“Disengaging” From “The World”?

On one hand, we had heard for years that the U.S. was too engaged; it was the world’s policeman, or the world’s cowboy, or the imperialist. On the other hand, we had been told, and continue to hear, that the U.S. must be prepared to intervene anywhere, anytime, within, apparently, minutes. All that is worth bearing in mind, as we read this by Peter Foster, in The Telegraph:

….the current geopolitical landscape, which is being shaped by a “notable decline” in US foreign policy characterized by Barack Obama’s ultra-pragmatism in foreign affairs….

….the idea that the US is both challenged by a rising China but also withdrawing from the world, [is] creating deep uncertainty among old allies over how far the US is prepared to underwrite the existing world order….

….in a new world order where everyone now doubts where they stand, the US remains confident it can look after itself. But as the US disengages, Britain, particularly a Britain drifting away from Europe, should be much less sanguine.

I never know quite how to approach such talk. “The idea” underlying the piece’s premise is simply wrong: the U.S. is not “disengaging,” and will not, from “the world.” Americans are not living in “1920”. They know that.

Rather it appears that after a decade of wars and economic upheaval at home, Americans are currently just a bit weary. In short, they are not “disengaging” so much as resisting finding themselves drawn front and center into seemingly every dispute – especially military – everywhere. However, even if their leaders occasionally blunder, Americans earnestly wish their U.S. always to be a solid, reliable ally.

Early today, RAF Lakenheath reported sadly:

1/8/2014 – ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England — Four Airmen were killed in a U.S. Air Force HH-60G Pave Hawk helicopter crash at about 6 p.m. yesterday near Salthouse on the Norfolk coast.

Names of the Airmen killed in the crash will be released 24 hours after next-of-kin notifications.

U.S. military officials are coordinating the recovery efforts with the U.K. police and the Ministry of Defence. The authorities have secured the crash site and established a cordon….

Almost 6,000 U.S personnel are at RAF Lakenheath. Britain remains, for Americans, an extraordinary ally and friend. Despite what some journalists have convinced themselves, that is not changing anytime soon.