With the following comment we continue the informal discussion among Dissent editors regarding the changed international situation after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The next issue will carry further comment by other editors.—Eds
The parochialism of American liberal intellectuals is nowhere more evident than in the increasingly acrimonious discussions about U.S.
foreign policy. The decline in influence by the two superpowers and the increasing difficulty they have in managing their respective alliances is seen by much of the U.S. liberal establishment merely as a decline of U.S. power and consequently an increase in the power of the other partner in this “competitive relationship”—the Soviet Union.
To most Europeans who share democratic and socialist values, the U.S. foreign-policy responses, in the past year especially, appear to be nothing short of hysterical. Sadly, that hysteria is not limited to the hawks but extends to liberal and labor-oriented intellectuals. A whole basket of issues is involved here, and it is difficult to begin to untangle them because they are so interwoven.
There is, to begin with, a state of general malaise that is centering on the issue of ...
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