On our TV talk shows and op-ed pages, and in our think tanks here, there is rising alarm over events abroad. And President Obama is widely blamed for the perceived decline in worldwide respect for the United States.
Yet, still, one hears no clamor from Middle America for “Action This Day!” to alter the perception that America is in retreat.
If a single sentence could express the seeming indifference of the silent majority of Americans to what is going on abroad, it might be the simple question: “Why is this our problem?”
If a Russian or Ukrainian flag flies over Simferopol, why should that be of such concern to us that we send U.S. warships, guns or troops? If Japan and China fight over islets 10,000 miles away, islets that few Americans can find on a map, why should we get into it?
And, truth be told, the answers of our elites are unconvincing.
One explanation for America’s turning away from these wars is that we see no vital interest in these conflicts — from Syria to Crimea, Afghanistan to Iraq, the South China Sea to the Senkaku Islands.
Moreover, the prime motivator of a half-century of sacrifice in a Cold War that cost us trillions and 90,000 dead in Korea and Vietnam — the belief we were leading the forces of light in a struggle against the forces of darkness that ruled the Sino-Soviet Empire — is gone.
The great ideological struggle of the 20th century between totalitarianism and freedom, communism and capitalism, militant atheism and Christianity is over.
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