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Aren't you contradicting yourself?

Reader comment on item: Why a Non-American Should Promote American Interests

Submitted by Dan Simon (United States), Jan 2, 2011 at 10:03

You appear to be arguing that (1) America should coldly pursue its own strategic interests more, instead of advancing a "principled, humanitarian, idealistic approach" to foreign policy, and (2) other countries should support America precisely because it advances a "principled, humanitarian, idealistic approach" to foreign policy. Isn't that self-contradictory?

A stronger and more coherent argument, I would claim, is that because America is a peaceful, democratic and prosperous capitalist country, it has an inherent self-interest in the global prevalence of peace, democracy and capitalist prosperity--an interest that it shares with other peaceful, prosperous democracies like Great Britain. However, this position precludes your ridiculing America's efforts on behalf of freedom and democracy for, say, Iraqis. (You can argue, of course, that the goal of that particular effort is unachievable in the short term, or that the means chosen were ineffective, but those are separate questions.)

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