Some of you may have heard about, and even read, Robert Kagan's essay in the New Republic: "Superpowers Don't Get to Retire: What Our Tired Country Still Owes the World" (May 26, 2014). It is a perfect example of potted history from the neo-con perspective; an amazing account of the genuis of U.S. foreign policy from 1945 until 2008. His plea: the U.S. must continue to save the world from itself. Leaving out the missteps of the period doesn't lend credibility to his case. But now those lacunae have been filled in.
Andrew Bacevich has very helpfully and pungently filled in the blanks at Commonweal: "The Duplicity of the Ideologues: U.S. Policy and Robert Kagan's Fictive Narrative."
Bacevich: "That Robert Kagan, a bona fide Washington insider, currently housed at the Brookings Institution, possesses very considerable talents is doubtless the case. A well-regarded historian, he is also a skilled polemicist and an ideologue. Here he combines all three callings to fashion a historical narrative that advances two claims. The first enshrines the entire period since 1945—until Obama sounded retreat anyway—as a kind of golden age when freedom, democracy, and liberal values flourished as never before. The second attributes this golden age almost entirely to enlightened American leadership. Policymakers in Washington, he writes, manifested a “sense of global responsibility that equated American interests with the interests of many others around the world.”
"Neither one of these claims stands up to even casual scrutiny."