The cover story in this week's Economist is "What would America fight for?
The new WSJ/NBC poll presents a consistent picture that Americans are weary of carrying the high-priced security burden for the rest of the world. Forty-seven percent of Americans want us to be less involved in world affairs, the lowest percentage since 1995. Folks seem to believe that we’ve paid dearly for, but have received little benefit from, our recent wars and billions in foreign aid. Sensing the pullback, the globalists (think John McCain, Lindsey Graham) are starting to get annoyed that the American people don't want to keep making sacrifices to preserve their precious world order. Here's their argument:
"But the West will also end up paying dearly for the fraying of the global order. International norms, such as freedom of navigation, will be weakened. Majorities will feel freer to abuse minorities, who in turn may flee. Global public goods, such as free trade and lower cross-border pollution, will be harder to sustain. Global institutions will be less pliable. Americans understandably chafe at the ingratitude of a world that freeloads on the economic, diplomatic and military might of the United States. But Americans themselves also enjoy the exorbitant privilege of operating in a system that, broadly, suits them."
And there we see the difference. Globalists, like the writers at the Economist or the Bushes, believe that Americans derive an "exorbitant privilege" from the current world order. Most Americans, who see their standard of living going down and their own country getting overtaken by China, vehemently disagree. And until they start feeling better about their place in the world, they will remain fearful and cautious. The globalists may not like this, but they brought it on themselves.