Jeff makes an important observation before he gives the citation from the always insightful Prof. Bacevich. Jeff writes:
That strategy of openness has been structured around the imperatives of economic growth and expansion, on the assumption that the construction of an integrated global order will ensure not only the economic preeminence of the United States, but her geopolitical preeminence.
It is interesting that Jeff should bring up this discussion of a "strategy of openness," since Fareed Zakaria has come out this week with an affirmation of key elements of that strategy as the appropriate post-Bush strategy for the United States. In other words, the policy establishment will continue business as usual, minus the glaring incompetence of management. This has the feel, as all paeans to "open society" have, of whistling past the graveyard.
Zakaria argues this point in a smart way: by making it appear as if the country is rushing into a period of "hunkering down" and turning away from the rest of the world, he can make the actual same-old, same-old policies he proposes (these can be summed up briefly as: immigration good, Iran bad, growth good), with which the overwhelming majority of presidential candidates agrees, seem bold, counterintuitive, fresh and, above all, very open. In fact, these are fundamentally the same policies against which large parts of the country are in revolt. Zakaria simply proposes to put them under new, more worldly, more "open" management.
All this talk of openness has reminded me of the remark of a modern German politican (whose name escapes me) quoted by Malachi Hacohen in his interesting biography of Karl Popper, which said effectively, "We are all Popperians now." Hacohen was quoting this by way of showing the enduring legacy of Popper, whose idiosyncratic political ideas (a humane social democratic view that gradually developed into liberal anticommunist Cold War hawkishness) took form in his magnum opus against all totalitarian impulses, The Open Society And Its Enemies. It occurs to me that this German politician had a point, to the extent that virtually every politician and pundit across the spectrum feels obliged to say nice things about the "open society" and the dreadful George Soros often dresses up his brand of international meddling under the guise of his Open Society Institute. Most of us may be Popperians, but it is important to begin asking why we should remain so when the "open society" (which is neither open, nor a society) has proven to be such a failure?