This is one of those essays with so many wrong assumptions that I don't know how to start pointing them out. I'll content myself with the following:

First, while the lessons the author learns from events of the recent and less-recent past are plausible readings, they are by no means inevitable. Our ultimate failure in Afghanistan, for example, is not proof that we could not have succeeded. It isn't even proof that the extent to which we ๐˜ฅ๐˜ช๐˜ฅ succeed in improving the lives of its citizens while we were there wasn't worth the cost. That may be a proper judgment, but it's a judgment still, not a fact. Somewhere-or-other Chesterton says that the only ideologies that might possibly have been correct are the ones that failed, because they may have failed for any number of reasons, whereas the ones that succeeded left the world still fallen.

Second, he mostly ignores the contribution of the Left to this state of affairs. Many authoritarian rulers would doubtless have been authoritarian rulers regardless, but the Left's pursuit of ever more extreme attacks on religion, tradition and bourgeois values certainly made it easier to convince people that their choice was between their current oppression and ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ต. Not to mention the many attacks on the Colonialist West and the support for its enemies, however heinous -- attacks that may have fostered the lack of stomach for a stronger defense of Western values abroad. I have no data on this, but perhaps some reader here does: I suspect that the overwhelming majority of those actually willing to serve in the US military are not woke.

As to prescriptions, I think we should behave as nations the way we should behave as individuals: When we see a wrong being committed we should try to intervene, but prudently. Yes to calling the police (= gathering a coalition to act with overwhelming force); Yes to intervening physically if that's the only option, there's a decent chance of success and the risk is limited to a black eye; No to single-handedly rushing a group of armed robbers.

There are statements from Churchill and other world leaders to that effect, and I once collected a whole set of them from Thomas Jefferson, with which I'll leave you:

"A nation, as a society, forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society." --Thomas Jefferson to George Hammond, 1792. ME 16:263

"Moral duties [are] as obligatory on nations as on individuals." --Thomas Jefferson: The Anas, 1808. ME 1:480

"The laws of humanity make it a duty for nations, as well as individuals, to succor those whom accident and distress have thrown upon them." --Thomas Jefferson to Albert Gallatin, 1807. ME 11:144

"The moral duties which exist between individual and individual in a state of nature accompany them into a state of society, and the aggregate of the duties of all the individuals composing the society constitutes the duties of that society towards any other; so that between society and society the same moral duties exist as did between the individuals composing them while in an unassociated state, and their Maker not having released them from those duties on their forming themselves into a nation. Compacts, then, between nation and nation are obligatory on them by the same moral law which obliges individuals to observe their compacts." --Thomas Jefferson: Opinion on French Treaties, 1793. ME 3:228

"We are firmly convinced, and we act on that conviction, that with nations as with individuals, our interests soundly calculated will ever be found inseparable from our moral duties." --Thomas Jefferson: 2nd Inaugural, 1805. ME 3:375

"Political interest [can] never be separated in the long run from moral right." --Thomas Jefferson to James Monroe, 1806. FE 8:477

"Honesty and interest are as intimately connected in the public as in the private code of morality." --Thomas Jefferson to James Maury, 1815. ME 14:313

"So invariably do the laws of nature create our duties and interests, that when they seem to be at variance, we ought to suspect some fallacy in our reasonings." --Thomas Jefferson to Jean Baptiste Say, 1804. ME 11:3

"Good faith... ought ever to be the rule of action in public as well as in private transactions." --Thomas Jefferson: 6th Annual Message, 1806. ME 3:416

"I never did, or countenanced, in public life, a single act inconsistent with the strictest good faith; having never believed there was one code of morality for a public, and another for a private man." --Thomas Jefferson to Valentine de Foronda, 1809. ME 12:320

"It is strangely absurd to suppose that a million of human beings, collected together, are not under the same moral laws which bind each of them separately." --Thomas Jefferson to George Logan, 1816. FE 10:68

"If the morality of one man produces a just line of conduct in him acting individually, why should not the morality of one hundred men produce a just line of conduct in them acting together?" --Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1789. ME 7:450

"What is true of every member of the society, individually, is true of them all collectively; since the rights of the whole can be no more than the sum of the rights of the individuals." --Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1789.

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We hope through military intervention we can clear enough ground for reasonable people to flourish and grow and hopefully then supersede the tribalism, inefficiency, graft and simple brutality of their resident governments. But Reason is a fragile flower. We have foolishly imagined Reason, Liberal Democracy, Economic security and free trade are what most people will prefer once they taste it. We are foolishly Biblical: "Oh Taste and See the Lord is Good" Yet our neo-conservative optimism fails again and again, because it is based on a false premise. Machiavelli knew this in his infamous line: "[For a ruler] It is better to be feared than loved." Brutal ignorance serves existing national cohesiveness more effectively than Reason, and it seems it always will. What we should pay attention to is our own suicidal backsliding into brutal tribalism right here at home.

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I question the assumption that authoritarian regimes survive through force RATHER THAN the consent of the governed.

It seems to me most survive BECAUSE they have the approval of most of the population to do what they do, because the majority will choose peace and stability and economic prosperity over liberal values like freedom and equality if those come at the cost of the former.

It is always only a small minority of political activists who are hell-bent on opposing those governments, and against which authoritarian governments use repression, and the great majority do not support them. That is why getting support from western governments is so crucial to those activists, they don't have enough support from the local population.

Revolutions are always the result of a small band of determined people, they only succeed when there is enough general support, but as soon as the inevitable chaos ensues, people want a strong hand to restore order and ideals of freedom and democracy go out the window.

Also, liberal democracy came about because of a very specific set of historical circumstances, and requires a complicated set of institutions to provide the checks and balances, as well as a culture that embraces the values necessary to support it. And that is a very fragile set of requirements.

Why would anyone expect cultures without those values and historical circumstances to suddenly embrace what is a foreign type of government and institutions, from what are actually their historical enemies?

Dictatorships are actually the historical norm for large, diverse countries, a strictly hierarchical, top-down government structure is a lot simpler to institute and maintain than the complicated setup require for a democratic one.

The West concluded from its success with Germany and Japan, that it could do the same elsewhere, and that has been proven false.

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"At its heart, liberal internationalism suffered from a democratic deficit."

I'll say, but the democratic deficit wasn't in the West, it was in the nations upon which global elites sought to impose their own values. No one ever asked the Afghans (or the Iraqis) whether they wanted to be invaded and occupied.

And if policymakers would always keep in mind the simple fat that the purpose of the military is to kill and destroy, and nothing else, perhaps they would be a little less free with employing the military as a policy tool.

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As Ulrich Beck already wrote during 1990s and 2000s = Cosmopolitan realism, cosmopolitan states, cosmopolitan citizens in order to manage the global risk society

Basically, it is time to leave the international world order in favour of a global world order with institutions such as the World Parliament https://www.democracywithoutborders.org/

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