Most Americans believe in the idea of the inevitability of "progress" in human affairs. This belief is descended from the hubris of the "divines" among our puritan founders in New England and the eventual triumph in our history of their thinking. There were competing idea systems but they lost in the struggle for supremacy that came to blows in 1861. Since then the notion of a "city on a hill,"' a kind of earthly paradise divinely sanctioned for 'right thinkers" ha prevailed. This is ironic in light of the simple truth that so many of the "right thinkers" are now unbelievers with regard to the Providence needed to give coherence to their assumptions concerning humanity. Nevertheless, over the decades, indeed, now centuries, the "center of gravity" in US thinking with regard to self-image as "savior" of mankind has grown stronger and stronger until we now reach a state of perfection in our own minds that is matched only by the defects in our present situation.
The foreign policy establishment of the US is now dominated by three groupings
1- The neocon/jacobin group who have an unlimited faith in American destiny as the world power, a force for world revolution in pursuit of ancient jacobin goals of "liberte, egalite, fratenite" and also a clear allegiance to Israel as America;s "friend." The neocons believe that the US "won" in Iraqbecause there is revolution throughout the Arab Wordl. They seem to believe that the outcome of revolution is irrelevant.
2- There has emerged what for lack of a better term might be called the Tea Party hyper natonalist group. For these people everything is a case of "my country, may she always be in the right, but, my country right or wrong." (Stephen Decatur) Stephen Colbert does a marvelous job of ridiculing this group, but then, they don't watch his program any more than they read SST. Mitt Romney seeks their support through a pretentious display of mediocrity.
3- The last, and presently controlling, element in the Executive Branch is the liberal/internationalist/IR trained group. These people see themselves as shepherds for mankind. Theiy believe that the US should support and sponsor "democratic" revolution everywhere in the belief that "popular" revolution must lead to good things for the masses across the world. The possibility that "popular" revolution may disguise itself and secretly harbor regressive political ambitions that can lead to theocracies and sectarian oppression is not given much credence by this group. The people in this group were taught in university that professions of adherence to ancient idea systems are merely a "surface" illusion, beneath which lie essentially economic realities. They have some things in common with the neocons but are not as fonf of military intervention. They are often called "neo-wilsonian."
The third group rules. BHO, HC, Anne Marie Slaughter from Princeton and oh, so many others are firmly in this "camp." As a result the US believes the drivel fed them by the MB in Egypt, thinks that Turkey is run by "moderates," accepts the idea that fighters in Syria are liberal democrats (like them),even as those these figters cry out for defeat of the "infidel' government and proudly wear the beards that are a symbol of their faith. Support from the Saudi theocratic plutocracy for those fighters does not seem to have meaning for the the ruling group in the US. Ah, I forgot, they think Saudi Arabia is a "firend" to the US. maybe that is what BHO's bow was about.
It will be said in comments here that everything in American foreign policy is secretly about ne-colonialist economic looting. Ah, well....
I see no particular benefit in foreign policy that would emerge from a Republican victory in November. All three groups are sailing aboard a "ship of fools." pl