Monday, August 28, 2006

Lieven's Bipartisan Disaster

In the British journal Prospect, Anatol Lieven argues that even though there is enormous dissatisfaction with how foreign policy is being conducted, "most strangely in what is supposed to be a democracy, there is no formal foreign policy opposition in politics. Whatever they may claim, on the great majority of issues, the Democratic establishment stands squarely behind the official line of the Bush administration. A partial exception is the environment, where the Democrats (together with some Republican state governments) are pressing for much more substantial energy-saving measures than those adopted by the administration – though well short of those adopted in most of Europe.

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.

Its no suprise really. We are on the path to financial and political bankruptcy that Reagan put us on. He was a political success, still idolized by our conservative majority and so our politicians feel they must not draw attention to the fact that the disasterous policies of George W. Bush are founded on Reagan's "successes".
You Americans love the notion of "doing it by yourself" and you really drank the Kool-Aid that Reagan "won the cold war." No, the US and its allies together did. You would never have been able to finance your military buildup without your European and Japanese allies. But you won the cold war alone, that's what you think. And when you tried to do it alone in Iraq (OK, with some help from the Brits) you find you have a lot more difficulties.
You Americans love the notion of "doing it yourself"

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.
It has been amazing to watch the democrats in Congress roll over and play dead at every opportunity. If they would have demanded audits of where the money from the Treasury and Iraq is going Middle Class America would have woken up long ago.
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.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?