Monday, August 28, 2006
Lieven's Bipartisan Disaster
There are two separate public oppositions to the present course of the Bush administration (apart from the neo-cons and the Cheney-Rumsfeld camp, who form a kind of internal opposition within the administration), but they are in opposition to their own party leaderships. The opposition among the Democrats consists of the old Left-liberals, who previously opposed the Vietnam War, and their descendants. They are the forces which last month combined to oust the liberal hawk Senator Joe Lieberman from his position as Democratic Senator for Connecticut, forcing him to run as a pro-Bush independent. The opposition within the Republican Party consists of the old-style moderate conservative realists, whose leading elder statesman is former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, and whose leading younger star is Senator Chuck Hagel of Nebraska."
This point has been made again and again to me by a number of foreign visitors to Washington and to the U.S. in general--the apparent lack of real debate over policy, the prevalence of "groupthink" in so many issues, and a tendency to confuse what one believes and/or hopes for with what actually exists.
Lieven's piece ends on a very pessimistic note even if he sees light at the end of the tunnel; I reproduce verbatim here:
"A much more hopeful prospect in the long run lies in a combination between the moderate realists and a populist revolt in the heartland against the costs of empire. Indeed, this would seem to me virtually inevitable sooner or later. As soon as it becomes clearly apparent to the White middle classes that a continuation of present levels of military spending and foreign policy activism requires the abolition of key middle class entitlements – social security, Medicare, mortgage relief and so on – mass pressure for a withdrawal from present levels of engagement will become overwhelming. This will happen all the sooner in the context of an economic recession, or if another war makes the reintroduction of conscription a real possibility.
"In the long run, therefore, I have great faith in the ability of a majority of the American people to return to rational and enlightened self-interest. My fear is that for this to happen, the US and the world will have to plunge into even greater disasters, largely caused by the United States itself; and that before America returns to sanity, America’s hopelessly obedient and much more vulnerable British vassals will have been attacked a dozen times, and with increasing degrees of savagery. "
It is quite interesting that it seems that just as companies increasingly go to London to launch their IPOs rather than New York--a point Hank Greenberg made in the Wall Street Journal last week--it seems commentators find a need to publish in Britain rather than the leading opinion journals in the U.S. to get provocative thoughts across. (My thanks also to the Financial Times for its willingness to publish excerpts developed from some of the more interesting TNI essays).
So some food for thought for this week.
Foolish to lump everyone into the same box (more Americans voted for Gore than voted for Bush, don't forget).
Lack of discussion in the media about the direction of foreign policy is due to the fact that our media is broken. The media no longer serves the public interest, but corporate interest. How to fix? I don't know, but there's plenty of discussion on the political blogs, so that's a start.
District court judge T.S. Ellis III ruling on the Custer/Battle case is typical of the corruption going on under the guise of Iraqi democracy.
This is as much or more about people getting rich as it is about American interests in the Mid East. Why does Everyone (Press)overlook this elephant in the room.