Atlantic senior editor and author Robert Wright has concluded a year of blogging with an absolutely brilliant sign-off in which he discusses his upcoming ventures and leaves us with three well stated core beliefs. The first, he writes, is “The world’s biggest single problem is the failure of people or groups to look at things from the point of view of other people or groups–i.e. to put themselves in the shoes of ‘the other.'” I couldn’t agree more; I’ve long felt that civil debate has broken down in America because all too often, people can’t even articulate the other sides’ arguments. Wright correctly points out this is a problem on a global scale.
Robert’s third point I read with much pride, as it’s essentially what I just wrote an analytical application essay about: “If the United States doesn’t use its inevitably fading dominance to build a world in which the rule of law is respected, and in which global norms are strong, the United States (and the world) will suffer for it.” All I can say is I’m glad the application was due before Wright published his piece, because he took the words right out of my mouth. From my own essay:
Regardless of the advantaged position the U.S. holds in the world today, no international power structure has persisted for long. America should be thus working to create a world order that limits the ability of any one state to exert its influence over others so that rising powers eventually find themselves restrained by international laws and norms.
Instead, in some important arenas, the U.S. is doing just the opposite. Nowhere is this more apparent than with our covert operations in the long war against terrorism, particularly drone strikes and extraordinary renditions. In attempting to address the terrorist threat, America’s policies may ultimately establish dangerous precedents that it will almost certainly come to regret in the long run.