After the Cold War

Andrew Sullivan puts the latest Georgia/Russia conflict within two larger contexts: The Cold War, and the War on Terror. It’s long, but worth it.

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.

…McCain is very, very comfortable in this situation. It speaks his language. A thoroughly twentieth-century figure, he lives and breathes war and conflict as a state of being. For him, it is always 1938 somewhere; America’s duty is to control, occupy or intervene wherever any rival seeks influence and any group does not share our alleged values. And so American power must be brought to bear in Georgia and Iraq and Iran and Burma and Darfur and Bosnia and anyplace else where American interests are threatened or democratic allies seek help. And for militarist American exceptionalists, this all makes sense. This is the higher purpose McCain lives for: the glory of liberation, the thrill of conquest, the adoration of the soldier, the defeat of evil.