Most recently, the blob has come under fire from leading intellectuals such as Harvard’s Stephen Walt, the University of Chicago’s John Mearsheimer and MIT's Barry Posen. These and other academics concede that America had an effective foreign policy during the Cold War. But after 1989, Washington embraced a radical doctrine of “liberal hegemony” and fought wars without end in an effort to transform the world. That approach, Mearsheimer alleges, was “prone to failure, sometimes disastrous failure”: It produced quagmire after quagmire, it fired global anti-Americanism, and it fueled conflict around the world.
This self-defeating approach has persisted, these scholars argue, because the blob abhors dissent and engages in rampant fearmongering to protect its privileges and influence. The blob gets its way, writes Walt, by “exaggerating international dangers, overstating the benefits that liberal hegemony would produce, and concealing the true costs.” Although many of these intellectuals have been harshly critical of Trump himself, they thus see the establishment just as Trump does: a failed elite looking to hold onto power.
“Instead of being a disciplined body of professionals constrained by a well-informed public and forced by necessity to set priorities and hold themselves accountable,” Walt writes, “today’s foreign policy elite is a dysfunctional caste of privileged insiders who are frequently disdainful of alternative perspectives and insulated both professionally and personally from the consequences of the policies they promote.”
Walt points to the Council on Foreign Relations, the Atlantic Council and the Center for New American Security, among others, as constituting a kind of interlocking directorate that fosters groupthink and consists of mandarins intolerant of dissenting views.
Bab·bitt | \ˈba-bət
A narrow-minded, self-satisfied conformist with an unthinking deference to official orthodoxy and institutional authority.