The Breakfast Table

Resisting the Last War

Yes, and all under the banner of “the right to national self-determination.” Last week, an “expert” from Columbia University (whose name now escapes me), speaking to NYU journalism students, remarked at one point that Americans don’t understand that what’s going on in the Balkans is nation-building, analogous to our own, which after all involved “ethnic cleansing” of the Indians. Good point; but his implication seemed to be that this was some kind of inevitable evolution, rather than that the world simply can’t afford any more nation-building of this sort.

One more thing: The left is nowhere on this issue, especially the knee-jerk anti-interventionists for whom simple opposition to U.S. military action anywhere, for any reason, passes for a politics. All world events are seen through the Vietnam grid, never mind that the post-Cold War accession to power of a global plutocracy has changed everything; never mind that if you need a historical analogy, the years leading up to World War II are much more germane.