Today’s New York Times has a superb op-ed column by Orlando Patterson, a distinguished Professor of Sociology at Harvard. Since it is on the Times Select list only, I do not have a copy to provide you. But try to read it when it does become available. It is worth buying today’s newspaper copy just for this one short but to-the-point piece. Here is an excerpt to illustrate what I mean:

A basic flaw in the approach of the president and his neoliberal (a k a neoconservative) advisors was their failure to distinguish Western beliefs about freedom from those critical features of it that non-Western peoples were likely to embrace…

The bad news is Iraq. Apart from the horrrible toll in American and Iraqi lives, two disastrous consequences seem likely to follow from this debacle. One is the possibility that, by the time America extricates itself, most Iraqis and other Middle Easterners will have come to identify freedom with chaos, deprivation and national humiliation. The other is that most Americans will become so disgusted with foreign engagements that a new insularism will be forced on their leaders in which the last thing that voters would wish to hear is any talk about the global promotion of freedom, whatever ‘God’s gift’ and the ‘longing of the soul.’