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Vision for America

Reader comment on item: [Samuel Huntington and] American Purposes In Iraq

Submitted by Robert D. Barry (United States), Apr 30, 2004 at 01:10

30 April 04

Dear Dr. Pipes--

If you are looking for a vote or some sense of sentiment on a vision for America, here is mine: like yourself, I am inclined toward something between a "national" and an "imperial" role for the United States. My basic view is that the U.S. has its values, and other countries have theirs, and as long as we respect each other, seek agreeable relations, and peaceful competition, there is little need for an imperial stance.

The problem is how to deal with rogue States and non-State pernicious groups. To the extent we can get the UN to act in concert, we should. But the UN is a political entity, subject to individual-country agendas which may have nothing to do with what is best for the world, let alone what is best for the U.S. The UN, in other words, is not some sacrosanct institution, and the U.S. must be prepared to act without Security Council endorsement (so-called "legitimacy"), in order to ensure America's security. The U.S. , perforce, must assume an imperial role in that instance.

In short, the U.S. should assume a "national" role, but be prepared to act in an "imperial" role as circumstances require.


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