Hitchens the Isolationist
It seems Peter Hitchens and his brother have switched places on Iraq. Jim Bennett comments thusly:
I'm discouraged to see Peter Hitchens, who has written many reasonable things, write this nonsense. Neither Britain nor the US has ever had total and unconditional respect for sovereignty as a principle, neither when the Royal Navy unilaterally chased down properly registered slave ships under foreign sovereign flags, even into foreign sovereign harbors, nor today. Sovereignty is a rule of thumb for international convenience, not a moral principle.
As for Ireland, the British Prime Minister should be using Britain's cooperation as a quid pro quo for American cooperation against the IRA. However, Blair is not doing this because he can't admit that his Irish policy is a failure. Clinton did not force the surrender to the IRA on the UK; it was at least as much Blair's doing. America can't be expected to act in Britian's national interest when that country's own Prime Minister won't do it.
As for Assad, we need to take the thugs out in order of their dangerousness. Syria has very little in the way of unconventional weapons capability and is not obsessed with getting it. If Iraq is taken out, Syria will probably try hard to accommodate us.
As for being a real empire, America is and has always been a commercial trading nation whose overseas interventions have primarily been in defense of its perceived national security and national interests, actually similar to Britian's historical policy. It doesn't need nor want an empire. I tend to think that Britian made a mistake when it began systematizing the Second Empire in the late 1800s, and all those public shool boys got carried away by admiration for the Romans they read so much. (I'm not arguing against the classics, Iain, but merely against drawing the wrong conclusion from them.) It actually had a sounder policy when it dealt with its acquisitions on an ad hoc basis.
Wise words, as usual.