So long as nukes make great power war unthinkable, global stability is an existential reality that requires no regular blood premiums from America.
This mindset survived the Cold War’s end. In the 1990s, Western great powers got involved with great reluctance in situations where globalization’s disintegrating impact spun secessionist conflicts into genocidal fits of ethnic rage – such as the Balkans.
And, if the killings were located far enough away from our integrating global economy, as in the case of Central Africa, then we made no effort at all.
After 9/11, Americans grimly embraced the idea that defending our way of life would once again require regular sacrifices of both treasure and blood, and although many dispute President Bush’s decision to invade Iraq, there remains a strong consensus that freedom isn’t free.
So long as they delay strategic alliance between Beijing and Washington, America gets stuck playing globalization’s sole bodyguard while “rising China” free rides in our wake.
In the Long War, that’s one zero-deductible policy the United States cannot long endorse.