Monday, January 23, 2006


In October 2003 I claimed that an increasingly isolationist America would be the end result of failure in Iraq, if that came to pass. I still believe that, but now I believe it's inevitable, even if Iraq does come good.

Peter Beinart of believes it too. He cites statistics showing a growing isolationism in America.
In the past year or so, however, it has grown increasingly clear that while Sept. 11 merely intensified an old mood, Iraq is producing a new one. Public isolationism has jumped sharply since 2002. Even more striking is the change in elite opinion. According to a recent Pew study, the percentage of security experts who say the United States should be highly assertive around the world has dropped from 75 percent in 1993 to 53 percent today. Among leading scientists and engineers, it has dropped from 55 percent to 32 percent. Among top religious leaders, it has fallen from 57 percent to 36 percent.
Some of the rest of Beinart's column seems a bit far fetched - I don't think there's much of a connection between the reaction to the Miers nomination and isolationism - but I think he's on the right path overall.