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Paul Ryan's fantasy foreign policy.


Representative Paul Ryan offers what the Weekly Standard's Michael Warren calls an "embrace of American Exceptionalism" during a foreign policy speech. It includes this rather odd warning:

A world without U.S. leadership will be a more chaotic place, a place where we have less influence, and a place where our citizens face more dangers and fewer opportunities. Take a moment and imagine a world led by China or by Russia.

While we're at it, we can imagine a world led by elves and wizards because that's just about as likely to happen as a world "led" by China or Russia.

Neither China nor Russia is interested - let alone capable - of "leading" the world. Russia can barely tame the very weak and often thoroughly corrupt countries directly on its border. At the height of Soviet power (and, more importantly, at the height of Communism's ideological appeal), it couldn't rule the world.

Similarly, China has not shown any inclination that it wishes to dominate the global system the way the United States does. Not even the more alarmist projections about its military capabilities claim it is seeking global power projection as a prelude to global dominance. Besides, China has made a tidy profit lending the United States money while we burnish our global leadership in places like Iraq and Afghanistan. Places where, incidentally, the U.S. sacrifices blood and treasure and China gets mineral and oil rights. Talk about exceptionalism!

Global leadership is not a prize that other countries are aspiring to. At worst, nations are looking to beef up their capacity to exert regional influence or raise the cost of American interference. We should argue about when and where that posses a threat to the United States - not about fantasy stories of Chinese or Russian global domination.

(AP Photo)