The Stories That Hardliners Tell

Source: Eunomia
by Daniel Larison

“When confrontational policies blow up in our face, hardliners come up with a story to explain how the real cause of the problem was that the U.S. was too passive or too willing to compromise. The story is usually false, but it can be appealing to policymakers that want to avoid accountability for past errors. I am reminded of how many of the most aggressive interventionists responded to 9/11 by inventing a fictional version of U.S. foreign policy in the 1990s where the U.S. had supposedly been ignoring the rest of the world for the entire decade. This was doubly useful for interventionists, because it allowed them to deflect attention from the role that U.S. interventionism had in stirring up hostility to the United States and it also let them pretend that the U.S. had been on a ‘holiday from history.'” (09/12/22)