Why the U.S. needs the U.N. et al.

Science, evolution, and politics explained.
Feb. 14 2002 6:15 PM

Friends as Flak Jackets

(Continued from Page 1)

And, even leaving aside the need for flak diffusion, he would be more mindful of the need to nourish ties to our allies, precisely to capture the long-term benefits that Applebaum emphasizes. He might even go so far as to nurture international bodies—under the auspices of, for example, the United Nations—that could take over the thankless job of tracking down stray weapons of mass destruction. Or would Bush prefer that America eternally assume the job of invading any country that shows signs of possessing these weapons? The Bush people talk as if the war on terrorism will be a long one, but they don't play the game that way.

Advertisement

During my recent dialogue with Robert Kaplan (to which this is my last postscript—I swear!), Kaplan at times seemed to paint me as a one-worlder of the Wilsonian-idealist sort. I admire idealism, and I'm all for pursuing international understanding on moral or spiritual grounds. But my boilerplate argument for encouraging the evolution of world governance is one of simple national interest. The argument (as made in my most recent book) is that various developments, including ever-more-terrifying terrorism, will make relations among nations more and more non-zero-sum. So simple national interest, if pursued wisely, should lead the United States, along with other nations, into the sort of institutionalized cooperation that Hugo Young favors. If America ever does follow this logic, and Young then wants to call Americans magnanimous and credit us with noblesse oblige, that's OK with me. In the post-9/11 world, especially, the more highly people think of us, the better.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Talking White

Black people’s disdain for “proper English” and academic achievement is a myth.

Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Gives Fetuses Lawyers and Puts Teenage Girls on Trial

Tattoo Parlors Have Become a Great Investment

Natasha Lyonne Is Coming to the Live Culture Gabfest. Are You?

A Jaw-Dropping Political Ad Aimed at Young Women, Apparently

The XX Factor
Oct. 1 2014 4:05 PM Today in GOP Outreach to Women: You Broads Like Wedding Dresses, Right?
Crime

Operation Backbone

How White Boy Rick, a legendary Detroit cocaine dealer, helped the FBI uncover brazen police corruption.

Music

How Even an Old Hipster Can Age Gracefully

On their new albums, Leonard Cohen, Robert Plant, and Loudon Wainwright III show three ways.

The Secret Service’s Big Problems Were Reported Last Year. Nobody Cared.

Hong Kong’s Protesters Are Ridiculously Polite. That’s What Scares Beijing So Much.

  News & Politics
Politics
Oct. 2 2014 11:01 AM It Wasn’t a Secret A 2013 inspector general report detailed all of the Secret Service’s problems. Nobody cared.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 2 2014 12:10 PM Women of America, Here Are the Cities Where You Can Find Marriageable Men
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 2 2014 11:07 AM Mapping 1890 Manhattan's Crazy-Quilt of Immigrant Neighborhoods
  Double X
Doublex
Oct. 2 2014 11:34 AM Alabama’s Insane New Abortion Law Putting teenage girls on trial may finally be too much for the Supreme Court.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 3:24 PM Revelry (and Business) at Mohonk Photos and highlights from Slate’s annual retreat.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 2 2014 12:04 PM The Audio Book Club Debates Gone Girl, the Novel
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 2 2014 11:41 AM Dropbox Recruiting Video Features Puppets and Data Privacy
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Oct. 2 2014 9:49 AM In Medicine We Trust Should we worry that so many of the doctors treating Ebola in Africa are missionaries?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 1 2014 5:19 PM Bunt-a-Palooza! How bad was the Kansas City Royals’ bunt-all-the-time strategy in the American League wild-card game?