“Crackpot realists never learn anything, even when the lessons are cuffing them roughly about the head and shoulders. They continue to pile on more of the same actions that got them into trouble in the first place, expecting to be seen as Churchillian heroes for staying the idiotic course they have set.
“They keep spinning the bad news, year after year after year, wearing out entire battalions of press officers, until they finally escape from the morass by leaving office. Afterward, they heap blame on their successors for "losing China" or "cutting and running."
“Although the crackpot realists are neither wise nor honest, they are politically shrewd and personally vicious. When their malfeasances are exposed, they toss subordinates to the wolves and prepare the ground for their own pardons, understanding that the political winds may shift sharply against them later on.
“They are not squeamish: they digest mass murder as easily as they consume their eggs and toast, and they do not lose sleep by agonizing over the cannon fodder they sacrifice in the service of their own aggrandizement. Other people’s children go to war; theirs go to Harvard and Yale.
“Being busy people, they cannot waste time on pity, except when a photo op requires its feigned expression.
“Imperialism appeals to them: if controlling the economic heights at home is good, controlling them throughout the entire world is better. Once ExxonMobil, Shell, Citigroup, J. P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Halliburton, and Bechtel have made their multinational arrangements, everything else will fall into place nicely.
“If it doesn’t, because some uppity mullah or tin-pot dictator has created a snag, the U.S. Marines are always available, in the immortal words of the American Enterprise Institute’s Michael Ledeen, ‘to pick up some small crappy little country and throw it against the wall, just to show the world we mean business.'”
–Robert Higgs, “The Triumph of Crackpot Realism”