Oh Dear, We're Arguing
And it's a good thing. All those who want us to shut up and get on with it are missing the gravity of the crisis--domestic and world-wide--the lack of reliable guidelines, and the prospects, both glorious and truly alarming. Thank goodness for the dissenters, both the ones I agree with and the ones I think are nuts.
Yes, we're confused. It is altogether right that we should be baffled. We don't have clear guidelines, and history--which in any case is rarely a reliable guide to the future--is no longer studied by most Americans, so even potentially useful models from the past aren't part of our discussion.
Take national security, for example. The whole world is in turmoil, as it has been for some time. Nobody can remember what the Cold War was like, and if you want an historical model for the current small-wars-headed-for-bigger-wars-and-then-maybe-a-world-war, try to sort out the pre-World War I map of Europe. Then notice how much today's Middle East resembles the old Balkans.
The one "lesson" that should be clear is that when people declare enmity, and are actively moving against us, we should take them seriously, assume they mean it, and act accordingly. When jihadists, whether sweet-talking Iranians or mean-talking Sunni or Shi'ite fanatics, chant "Death to America" (as the Iranian Parliament did over the weekend), and send vicious killers into Iraq (where the slaughter is greater than in Syria), Syria, and various African countries, we must act against them.
If we don't, things will only get worse, more Americans will be murdered, and the chances of a really big war will increase.
Inaction--masked by "negotiations" which provide cover for our enemies to get even stronger--is now our official policy.
Maybe we'll yet get a useful debate that will lead to better policy. There's a lot going for us, from our enemies' internal ruptures (intense fights inside Iran, race riots in Moscow and China, wild slaughter in Syria and Iraq) to surprising initiatives from Saudi Arabia, which threw an unprecedented hissy fit at the UN.
The world yearns for American leadership. A genuine debate would make that obvious.
Bring it on. We need it, big time.