Richard Cohen offers more of his distinctive foreign policy analysis:

An increasingly messy world is looking for guidance. But not only does the United States refuse to be its policeman, it won’t even be its hall monitor.

I’m not sure that it’s true that the world is “increasingly messy” (compared to what?), but the idea that it is up to the U.S. to bring greater order to a “messy” world is the beginning of the dangerous and destructive overreaching that has plagued U.S. foreign policy for decades. In no particular order, Cohen rattles off the war in Syria, political crisis in Ukraine, the upcoming Scottish independence referendum, separatist movements in Spain and Italy, tensions between China and Japan, and several events that took place fifteen years ago or more. There is not much that links these things together except that they have taken place since the end of the Cold War, and Cohen doesn’t make a discernible point about any of it. He just points at various things around the world as if to say, “Look at all the things in the world that America isn’t trying to micromanage!” It’s not much more than incoherent rambling, which is frequently what complaints about American “retreat” become.

Obviously, Cohen thinks that the U.S. should “do something” about Syria, as he never tires of telling us, and apparently he thinks Ukraine qualifies for American “guidance,” but there’s not even an attempt to justify U.S. involvement in these places nor is there any consideration of whether it would do any good. The desirability and efficacy of American “guidance” are simply taken for granted and never seriously questioned at any point. It is a muddled confession of a hegemonist’s extraordinary presumption and arrogance that the U.S. can and should direct the affairs of other nations.