❝Washington — perhaps as many global powers have done in the past — uses what I might call the “immaculate conception” theory of crises abroad. That is, we believe we are essentially out there, just minding our own business, trying to help make the world right, only to be endlessly faced with a series of spontaneous, nasty challenges from abroad to which we must react. There is not the slightest consideration that perhaps US policies themselves may have at least contributed to a series of unfolding events. This presents a huge paradox: how can America on the one hand pride itself on being the world’s sole global superpower, with over seven hundred military bases abroad and the Pentagon’s huge global footprint, and yet, on the other hand, be oblivious to and unacknowledging of the magnitude of its own role — for better or for worse — as the dominant force charting the course of world events? This Alice-in-Wonderland delusion affects not just policy makers, but even the glut of think tanks that abound in Washington. In what may otherwise often be intelligent analysis of a foreign situation, the focus of each study is invariably the other country, the other culture, the negative intentions of other players; the impact of US actions and perceptions are quite absent from the equation. It is hard to point to serious analysis from mainstream publications or think tanks that address the role of the United States itself in helping create current problems or crises, through policies of omission or commission. We’re not even talking about blame here; we’re addressing the logical and self-evident fact that the actions of the world’s sole global superpower have huge consequences in the unfolding of international politics. They require examination.