Green Lantern: the foreign policy

Conservatives in general, and George Bush in particular, seem to be convinced that there are no limits to what American military power can accomplish so long as we have the willpower to use it, and the fortitude to stay with it!!

What is the origin of that belief?

I’m reading Matthew Yglesias’ new book “Heads in the Sand” and I think he may have discovered the answer in a 1950’s comic book. Writing about the conservative approach to foreign policy, Yglesias draws the following analogy:

“The comic book character Green Lantern and his colleagues in the Green Lantern Corps, are equipped with a “power ring” that is said to be the ultimate weapon in the universe. The ring can, when fully powered, create objects or energy fields of any sort, subject only to the user’s will and imagination. Consequently, the main factor in the Corps recruiting is to find people capable of “overcoming fear” so as to be able to exercise maximum willpower in crisis situations.

As a premise for a comic book, this works well enough. … Unfortunately, since at least the wake of the Vietnam War, U.S. conservatives have tended to espouse a Green Lantern Theory of Geopolitics…

If the Lantern reminds you of someone, someone in the movies; it’s not a coincidence. A version of the theory, writes Yglesias

“…was expressed by John Rambo in the first film of the famous series when he said, “I did what I had to do to win, but somebody wouldn’t let us win.”

This explanation of the popularity of Bush/Cheney’s wingnut foreign policy sounds as plausible as anything to me.


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