JONATHAN CHAIT AUGUST 22, 2011
Reason editor Matt Welch warns of a "success curse" in foreign policy:
Today's Team Blue dethroning of a tinpot dictator lowers the bar for tomorrow's Team Red assault on Iran, which of course will be confirmation that when it comes to the Constitution, President Perry (should he wrest the nomination from the more deserving Texan) is worse than Nixon and Hitler combined. Team Blue will once again regain the White House on an "anti-dumb war" campaign; a scattering of Republicans will then exhume their deference to the War Powers Act, and the U.S. share of global responsibility and military spending will continue its inexorable climb toward 100 percent. This is why some people refer to the bipartisan political class as "The War Party," and with plenty of justification.
Let us recall how Bill Clinton's Kosovo War laid the groundwork for George W. Bush's Iraq...
This is a persuasive argument if you oppose all military interventions. If you don't, it basically boils down to the proposition that a successful military operation is bad because it will lead to unsuccessful military operations. You could make the same argument on social policy (if we allow gay marriage, it will make some even more liberal social reform possible.) And you could make it the other way, too -- liberals shouldn't be happy if welfare reform works, because that will just make it more likely that we disastrously privatize Social Security. Essentially he is making an argument for ignoring all evidence in favor of rigid a priori pro-state or anti-state biases.
Welch concludes, "few phenomena rot the brain more thoroughly than political tribalism." Well, yes, but there's also ideological fanaticism.