The response by Ryan Leonard (Point of View, Sept. 20) to the Russian president's plea for America to refrain from shooting humanitarian love missiles into Syria is built upon dangerous premises about America's role in the world. America is a constitutional republic. However, since the days of Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, the moral vanities of progressivism have eroded the republican nature of America to the point that it's better to say that America is now the “Progressive Empire.”
America is exceptional only when it sets an example for the nations as a lamp of liberty. In the words of John Quincy Adams, America should not “go abroad in search of monsters to destroy.” Russia hasn't found a path to free its people and Vladimir Putin isn't a role model. But the fact that he rather than Barack Obama has been a greater facilitator for world peace in the past month should give Americans pause about what kind of regime burdens us today in America. Leonard would do well to heed the words of Edmund Burke when he warned the British from going down the path of ruin that former empires have gone.
I fear that Leonard has bought into a dangerous form of neoconservatism — a kind of foreign policy progressivism — that threatens to burn half of the world to the ground in the name of a vacuous and abstract understanding of freedom.
Vance Armor, Oklahoma City
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