Americans today debate possible new interventions, withdrawals, disputes over what does and does not constitute a "red line," and other applications of power abroad in light of enormous geopolitical changes and challenges. Let the debate consider the long history of cautious realism.
So, where does Washington go from here? If it wants to preserve its increasingly tenuous foothold in a nation with the world's largest oil reserves, it might begin by engaging in some honest diplomacy.
Given all these swords and all these shields (and all of our frustrating wars and all of the lives spent), the key question of the 2012 presidential election should be: Are we truly more secure now than we were twelve years ago?
European governments are exerting heavy-handed influence through UN agencies, demanding that nations like El Salvador, Costa Rica, Belize, and Bolivia enact abortion-on-demand. And not just these little Latin states are being bossed.
The IMF has proposed a plan that might help Haiti build a new foundation for nation building. But if this plan is to succeed it will need to contain the global drug trade that dominates Haiti's economy.