Defense Secretary Ashton Carter yesterday clarified his recent remarks that Russia and China are "challenging international order."
The basic problem is failure to answer the question, "Who, after all, has been the world's policeman for the last few decades?"
Take for instance the Ukraine. In 2014 the State Department's Victoria Nuland worked very hard to arrange a coup there and send then President Yanukovych fleeing for his life.
Ms. Nuland didn't say "We came, we saw, he fled," although insiders now say she considered it.
Unable to resist being belligerent, Russia stepped in and interfered even though, true, 95% of Crimeans voted for Russia to annex that territory.
Also, when Ms. Nuland said, "Fuck the EU," this was not aimed at EU hesitations over the US engineered coup to get rid of Yanukovych.
Ms. Nuland actually misspoke, meaning an ironical "oh boo hoo," and referring to lack of gratitude for US actions re international order with a more compliant leadership in that country.
China's grim face over US jets flying around the Spratly Islands is another case of unwise response to the US routinely doing its job in patrolling the globe.
In fact, China could help out by joining the twice yearly US-South Korea military displays along North Korea's borders which keep that particular rogue nation hunkered down and watching the sky at all times.
Further, just because NATO forces with US backing are closing up on Russia's borders in violation of the 1991 agreement with Gorbachev does not mean Russia should station tanks and military on those borders and get itself into a huff.
Now, as to Syria, again Russia is out of line and "pouring gasoline on the fire" by attacking rebels against Assad.
Lack of success in training up "moderate" rebels should be disregarded under the traditional military wisdom, "If at first you don't succeed, go ahead and let it bleed."
Besides, any sort of rebellion against Assad is actually helping out the US Assad-must-go policy, isn't it?
As to what happened in Iraq and Libya, and despite the chaos, civil war, violence, death, and refugee problems developing from those attacks, everyone should at least appreciate the effort by the US to assure international order far and wide.
With former Secretary of State Clinton's remark on Gaddafi, "We came, we saw, he died," that too was strictly a light-hearted comment, which she regrets at this time while campaigning for the presidency. .
It was not a subconscious slip based on ideas from Ancient Rome or something, as with "Veni, vidi, vici--We came, we saw, we conquered."