SPECIFICALLY by Scott; in reply I swore off tackling this thing on my own but my intestines have been arguing the point ever since.
DEAR GOD WON'T SOMEONE PLEASE MAKE IT SHORTER MICHAEL MEDVED: If you ignore all major evidence to the contrary, and pummel the few strawmen which might have penetrated the long-term memory of the contemporary Townhall.com habitué, the foreign policy of the United States looks remarkably beneficent.
IN CYBERSPACE, NO ONE CAN SMELL YOUR PUTREFACTION. BUT THAT DOESN'T MEAN THEY SHOULD EAT THE WHOLE THING:
“Jingos” at home demanded the annexation of all of Mexico, but instead President Polk accepted a treaty that added to the nation the sparsely populated territory of California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah (Texas had achieved its own independence from Mexico eleven years before).
JOHNNY COMES MARCHING HOME, LEAVING BEHIND ONLY A REASONABLY-SIZED MARTIAL PRESENCE, MOSTLY TO STIMULATE THE LOCAL ECONOMY THROUGH THE STRATEGIC HOOKER EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM:
The bloody (and seemingly innumerable) foreign wars of the Twentieth Century saw millions upon millions of American troops deployed to every corner of the globe but for the most part they came home at the earliest opportunity. President Wilson dispatched more than two-million American soldiers to France to win World War I, but in less than two years they had all left the Old World behind. The sixty year presence of American forces in Europe and Japan following the Second World War has not only decreased dramatically in size since the demise of the Soviet threat but continues today at the insistence of the host countries. Aside from the economic benefits to local economies from the numerous American bases, US troops (for better or worse) provide a security shield that has allowed our European allies to scrimp on defense spending, with military resources in no way commensurate with their economic or political power.
IF YOU'RE GONNA BE QUOTING CRAPPY MOVIES THROUGH THE WHOLE THING, HOW 'BOUT CALL ME BWANA?:
As to the territories added by the United States as part of its ongoing enlargement of its boundaries, none of these acquisitions followed the familiar colonial pattern of invasion and subjugation of hostile native populations.
BUT, BUT, BUT WE ONLY KILLED ALLENDE THAT ONE TIME:
For all his brutality, Pinochet succeeded in creating the most dynamic economy in Latin America and under American pressure he allowed a referendum on his own rule in 1988, then gave up power altogether less than two years later.
DEAR GOD, HOW COULD OSAMA BIN LADEN MISS THE LESSONS OF VIETNAM?
Osama bin Laden pointed to America’s humiliation in Somalia (where 18 mutilated soldiers led to a hasty American withdrawal) as one of the incidents that led him to characterize the United States as a “paper tiger” with no staying power. Bin Laden also mentioned the departure from Lebanon in 1983 after the suicide bombing that killed 261 Marines, and particularly noted the way that public impatience and exhaustion brought about the retreat from Vietnam. Ironically, by focusing on the American penchant for quick withdrawals from the world’s hot spots, our primary terrorist adversary undermined his own characterization of the United States as a ruthless imperialist power.
You have no doubt by now figured out that there's no real answering this stuff. Our precipitous, stab-in-the-back withdrawal from Vietnam after thirty years--instituted by the same perfidious Leftists Medved is fighting with the way an alcoholic wrestles skulls and snakes an' shit--is now the crowning glory of our selfless Christianity and a Cheeseburger foreign policy. Take that, Osama bin Obama! Shoot, Canada's ripe for the plucking, man, and what do we do? Nothing! QED!
I mean, it's not that this sort of nonsense gets spouted, though if I may say so Medved makes a particularly unconvincing spout. Good Lord, the piece runs on from dusk to dawn and the dog never barks once. Where's Basil Rathbone when you need him? You cannot construct this argument and simultaneously believe it. You can't pretend the Shah was installed by the West in response to Mossadegh and then announce that proves the Iranians are just too touchy for self-government. You can't use the Barbary Pirates as an example of our fleeting Christianized do-goodism while ignoring what we were doing on our own continent, however sparsely populated. You can't argue that US military and economic domination of the rest of the Hemisphere "doesn't count" because it didn't always employ the permanent occupying forces favored by the Big Three in the 19th century. If you see it, it's there, or else you're hallucinating. The best you could do is hand it over to Fred Doolin Dalton Thompson to read, and hope the audience is more interested in the popcorn. That is, if you don't mind a dozen takes, as Bogie once said.