Crazy People Are Fun

I’m usually mildly amused by insane visions of grandeur, but when they’re coming from semi-serious people in actual publications that might really be read, and absorbed, by someone important, it’s decidedly less amusing. Here’s Gordon Chang in Commentary:

And what is the leader of the free world doing about this predicament? He is continuing his policy of honoring authoritarianism. Instead, he should be publicly telling Russian and Chinese leaders that either they support global norms or they should consider us their adversary. By undermining us, Moscow and Beijing are already making themselves our foes, so there’s nothing to lose by forcing them to declare where they stand.

The problem here isn’t just the palpable yearning for another Cold War, it’s that Chang, and neoconservatives in general, have yet to figure out that the United States fundamentally is no longer in a position to tell everyone else what to do, especially not Russia and China. China is now the largest exporter in the world, and they shrewdly acquired huge reserves of foreign capital to hold as leverage. Considering that the United States imports a huge amount of goods, particularly in the realm of energy, China has the ability to seriously damage our economy by devaluing the dollar. Speaking of energy, Russia is the 2nd largest oil producer in the world, and the largest producer of natural gas. Obviously, we have very little counter to those card.

What this really means is that, far from being just crazy people who like watching Red Dawn on CNN, neoconservatives are mostly dangerous because they have no understanding of the limits of American power, and therefore have no obligatory constraints from reality.