The newly monthly American Conservative visits a conference of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), which it fingers as the ur-source of Obamite foreign policy (and foreign interventionist) thinking. Reporter Kelley Beaucar Vlahos pins down their foreign policy tradition and captures this interesting exchange:
COIN [counterinsurgency] today is the realm of CNAS, as if Frederick Kagan and AEI had never existed. But it won’t do to deny the family resemblance says retired Army Col. Douglas Macgregor: “You will hear the same things at the Center for a New American Security as you will at the American Enterprise Institute. Nation-building at gunpoint, democracy at gunpoint. What’s the difference?”
Adherents of the old neoconservative vision and these new security policymakers all “drank the Kool-Aid,” said Boston University Professor Andrew Bacevich, the only real dissenter invited to speak on June 11. Both groups, he added, see war as “a perpetual condition,” employing massive firepower and boots on the ground, draining “billions, if not trillions of dollars,” in pursuit of goals based on skewed assumptions about American interests abroad.
“Would it not be best to reconsider the alternatives and not continue on this path?” Bacevich asked. To which [retired Army Capt. Andrew] Exum retorted, “What is the alternative?”
What, indeed? Perpetual war for perpetual democracy, we better learn to love you, because it doesn't look like we'll get a chance to leave you.