David Rieff – Moral Authority (World Affairs Journal)

David Rieff. “The Road to Hell is Paved: Moral Authority?” World Affairs Journal, March 12, 2010.

"Though it has been badly shaken by President Obama’s decision to escalate the war in Afghanistan (and dramatically ratchet up both drone strikes, and, or so it seems, anyway, covert operations in Pakistan), the liberal internationalist narrative about American power has emphasized the discontinuities between the Bush and Obama administrations. On this account, the United States under President Bush over-reached radically—taking advantage of the country’s continuing belief in its own exceptionalism and the goodness of its intentions; its undeniable role as the world’s sole military superpower and status as the issuer of the world’s reserve currency; and its unique capacity to use both its hard and soft power to globally constructive ends to pursue overly-militarized, unilateralist policies that could only lessen the leadership America had exercised since the end of World War II. All of this was at the dawn of a multi-polar world age in which it was inevitable that U.S. power and influence would diminish, at least comparatively."

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