Conservative Call for Peace

/ 14 August 2008

Andrew Sullivan today posted a conservative call for peace that speaks calmly and cogently about the horror of the last six years and the need for us to change course.

The end of the Cold War was an opportunity to create a new one. For some, we now realize, the Cold War was not about democratic values versus totalitarianism, in the Kirkpatrick formulation. It was about American hegemony against any rival power, totalitarian or not, globally expansionist or not. The end of Communism was, for some, a problem. It removed a key rationale for military power. China was the first object of demonization, in the first months of the Bush administration; then – defensibly – Islamism; then Iran, Iraq and NoKo; now, Russia. […]

But for conservatives whose goal is peace, not war; who are quite comfortable balancing global power with other great powers such as Russia, China, India and Europe rather than demanding an expanding American hegemony; who believe that defense means defense, not a proactive preference for war; who see war and control of other countries as something distasteful if it goes beyond pragmatic self-interest; those conservatives do not agree.

I’ve missed most of Sullivan’s journey over the past decade, but his voice is one of those that today I find most consistently clear about the choices America faces. He sees us for who we are, I hope we can see ourselves as well.

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