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Another issue that gives me pause in the ongoing debate with Douglas Lain here is his seeming inability to bring any sense of objective balance to his views of the United States.

It seems, in his estimation, that virtually every foreign policy decision we've ever made is bad. We're intent on global domination. We're a terrorist state. We're "in violation of over 60 UN resolutions".

Here's the UN Security Council archive of resolutions. Doug, could you point me to the 60 that we're violating? They're neatly indexed and numbered...shouldn't be difficult.

I blogged earlier this month about the intellectual paucity of partisan zealots, unable to think across party lines on even a single issue (see "Are You a Reactionary?").

The same goes for those who are psychologically incapable of ascribing any positive motives or attributes to America and its policies.

By Douglas Lain's own standards, we have not engaged in a just military conflict since WWII (and perhaps he would even say that our engagement in WWII was unjustified...I don't know). From the Korean War to Vietnam, from Bosnia to Somalia, were all our motives and actions morally bankrupt? In each of these cases, were we simply killing natives out of sadistic pleasure? Fueling our quest for global domination? Funding the greed of the military-industrial complex?

In the last fifty years, have we ever acted militarily for the actual benefit of another country? Or in any conflict, have our motives ever actually been a mixture of self-interest and a desire to actually do the right thing?

I would say, as I did when talking about political reactionaries, that if you are incapable of imparting anything but the worst motives regarding U.S. foreign policy, while simultaneously refusing to hold other countries to any kind of objective standard, then you're not thinking very fairly or flexibly.

And this sort of lopsided view of international relations and responsibility is not only intellectually bankrupt, it's dangerous as well. I've blogged about the culpability of Russia and China in assisting North Korea with their nuclear weapons program, and I have seen zero criticism of these nuclear powers, from other blogs, from the media, or from world leaders. What kind of world are we living in where Russia can use a banned substance on a theatre full of civilian hostages, killing many of them, where they can assist a tyrannical despot like Kim Jong Il in attaining nuclear weaponry, and the world is virtually silent. But not entirely silent. No, we get reports from the Pew foundation that worldwide opinion regarding the United States is increasing unfavorable.

That makes perfect sense, doesn't it? Our financial centers and capital are attacked, and we respond by destroying a tyrannical regime and disrupting its use as a terrorist operational base, we finally confront a leader that has flaunted international will for over a decade by pursuing nuclear weapons, and our approval rating goes down. Russia uses chemical weapons on civilians and peddles nuclear secrets to North Korea and we're the bad guys. Just exactly what the hell is going on?

As always, I interject the caveat that we make our fair share of boneheaded mistakes. Yes, we have done things that are wrong. But the criticism is all out of proportion, and as I said before, this skewed version of world affairs, where America is the source of the majority of the world's ills, where American policy is the central impediment to peace and stability in the world, is not only stupid, it is dangerous.

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