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

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

It’s Legal for Obama to Bomb Syria Because He Says It Is

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

I Stand With Emma Watson on Women’s Rights

Even though I know I’m going to get flak for it.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 23 2014 12:43 PM Occupy Wall Street How can Hillary Clinton be both a limousine liberal and a Saul Alinsky radical?
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 23 2014 12:36 PM Krispy Kreme Stuffed Half a Million Calories into One Box of Doughnuts
  Life
The Eye
Sept. 23 2014 11:33 AM High-Concept Stuff Designed to Remind People That They Don’t Need Stuff  
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 23 2014 11:13 AM Why Is This Mother in Prison for Helping Her Daughter Get an Abortion?
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 11:48 AM Punky Brewster, the Feminist Punk Icon Who Wasn’t
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 23 2014 10:51 AM Is Apple Picking a Fight With the U.S. Government? Not exactly.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 23 2014 11:00 AM Google Exec: Climate Change Deniers Are “Just Literally Lying”
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.