1
   

Pentagon vs State Dept - whats your take?

 
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 07:19 pm
Here's a lovely piece you guys ought to like... http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/103/focus/The_twilight_of_tyrantsP.shtml (I'm adding it over on the big thread too)
0 Replies
 
Tartarin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 08:11 pm
I say let's do it. I'm in the mood to repudiate (tra la).
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 09:06 pm
nimh wrote:
The Greens on the other hand collect under the banner "Make Law Not War". I think that when, for example, Syria now comes up, we should focus on what we would propose in terms of international lawmaking and -enforcing to deal with its dictatorship, rather than merely on highlighting where Rumsfeld's case in the question is wrong and to be distrusted. However much easier and more acutely provoked the second is.


And what exactly does that Green Party plan to do when those "laws" are ignored? The UN went about "International Lawmaking" for 12+ years. We've had International Treaties (which have the force of International law) that cover nuclear, biological and chemical weapons for decades. 17 seperate resolutions were passed that were specifically directed at Iraq. Sanctions were put in place for "enforcement", and the very same Green Party decried how those sanctions were to the detriment of the Iraqi people and should have been lifted all along.

That is the paradox of the left - more laws, more laws, more laws.. But the minute attempts are made to actually enforce those laws the cry goes out from the very same people about how "unfair" the laws are.

The left hasn't figured out yet that you can't have things both ways...
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 09:13 pm
laws and enforcement of laws are distinctly different issues. the creation of laws from the time of Hammurabi til present are the hallmark of civilization. political manipulation of enforcement of those laws is the hallmark of disregard for civilization.
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fishin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 18 Apr, 2003 09:23 pm
Laws that aren't enforced are useless. As I recall the punishment for breaking many of the laws set forth by Hammurabi was death. It seems his second creation was law enforcement.
0 Replies
 
au1929
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2003 07:39 am
dyslexia
In my opinion laws that are unenforced or enforceable are worse than no laws at all. They just prove to the lawbreakers that civil authority is just a paper tiger and emboldens lawbreakers.
Crime without punishment becomes no crime at all.
0 Replies
 
dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2003 07:55 am
laws, their viability, their enforceability, their relevance are legislative issues. the observation that some are meaningless, are unenforced, are disregarded, does not negate that civilization is the result law. society is dynamic, adjusting to the needs of the people and the system of law needs to adapt as well. to say that there are bad laws is a given but we do not toss out the legal system because there are bad judges or that mistakes are made. because many people break the speed limit does not indicate that we should have no speed limits.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2003 08:03 am
fishin and au

But you see, the US it itself guilty of ignoring, or of breaking, international agreements and treaties, and of selective enforcement of UN resolutions. If one can claim that the paradox of the left is laws unenforced, then perhaps one could say that the converse paradox is lawlessness, enforced at whim. But I think these are all a bit silly and non-productive cliches.

It seems to me that there are but two options: either we work towards the notion of world-community within some framework which includes principle-founded institutions and to which all nations (and other entities) are bound, or we accept a Hobbesian state of nature wherein the most powerful runs the show (and we just hope and trust they'll be good-hearted).
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2003 08:05 am
Begging pardon if this piece is rather large, but I think it is a worthwhile contribution here.
Quote:
If we ruled the world: a tale of two revolutions
Ian Buruma

When even New Yorkers refuse to drink French wine, or patronise French restaurants, you realise things are bad between the two nations that presume to have invented liberty. The war against Iraq was never especially popular in this city. And xenophobia is not really a New York thing. But even New Yorkers were furious about France's attempts to thwart US aspirations.
The two countries have never been the easiest of allies, but now it is almost as if they were at war. Yet France and America are curiously alike, and perhaps that is part of the problem. The most important common factor is the revolutionary birth of their democracies.

In the 18th century the French and the Americans were still full of mutual admiration. The French were inspired by the American Declaration of Independence, and Benjamin Franklin was happy to have his infant son blessed by Voltaire in the name of liberty.

The differences between revolutionary France and revolutionary America soon became apparent. Whereas the US founding fathers sought to guard individual liberties by limiting the powers of the State, the French State took on huge powers as an expression of the will of the people: the difference between Rousseau and Jefferson. Nonetheless, both were convinced that they represented universal values, and it was their manifest destiny to spread them across the world.

The French mission ended in the bloody fields of Waterloo. But the old missionary zeal survives in its now forlorn attempts to run the European Union, its not always honourable interventions in Francophone Africa, and above all, in its constant poking in the eyes of Anglo-Saxons.

If the French mission to shape the world is more or less over, the American one is still blasting with both barrels. In many ways, we Europeans should be grateful. Without America, we might well have ended up living in a fascist empire. The world of international institutions that Europeans now rely on owes everything to Woodrow Wilson's dreams. American idealism (as well as enlightened self-interest) was also responsible for the Marshall Plan, the restoration of democracy in Germany and Japan and, probably, the collapse of the Soviet empire.

But it was also the driving force behind less successful ventures, such as the war in Vietnam, another task once shared by the French. Unless one believes, like Noam Chomsky, that the war was fought for the sake of corporate interests, that too was at least partly the result of American idealism. Presidents Kennedy and Johnson thought they were protecting Asian dominoes from falling to communist tyranny. Remember that the Quiet American was not a heartless monster, but a missionary for American democracy. Like many US political missionaries, he was a kind of democratic Trotskyite, who caused mayhem without realising why.

Vietnam put a big dent in American self-confidence. Realism marked the 1970s and 1980s. In a way, Henry Kissinger's hardnosed realpolitik matched the desire of liberals to rein in America's ambitions to change the world. But this began to change under Ronald Reagan, when neo-conservative intellectuals, many of whom had been Trotskyites, demanded a revolutionary programme to combat evil empires.

This was a departure for Republicans, who had rarely been interested in saving the world. That was always more of a Democratic project. Republicans wanted stability, and to be left alone to take care of their economic interests. The world outside was a place to do business in, not to change through democratic revolutions. But the New Right was gradually injecting the zeal and rhetoric of the Old Left into Republican politics.

The true nature of this enterprise was spotted by Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the "Danny the Red" of May 1968. In a recent meeting with Richard Perle, he said that Perle reminded him of his own student days in Paris. Perle, he exclaimed, was a Bolshevik. All his life, Cohn-Bendit had been fighting Bolsheviks on his left. Now they were on his right.

The neo-cons' most zealous ambitions never became mainstream, however, even under Reagan; and Bush the Elder, a typical country-club Republican, was quite cautious, despite his talk of a new world order. When his son ran for election, he too promised to be careful, to have a "humble" foreign policy. This humility changed after September 11. Finally, the revolutionaries hovering around the Pentagon, writing for such journals as The Weekly Standard, and holding forth at such forums as the American Enterprise Institute, got what they wanted: a revolutionary war.

And this is largely why we fought in Iraq. A peculiar coalition of evangelical Christians, neo-conservative intellectuals, and former leftists, have revived America's idea of its manifest destiny to change the world. Paul Berman, a former leftist who jumped on Bush's bandwagon, thinks the war against Saddam was like Lincoln's campaign to free the slaves of the South. In his new book, Terror and Liberalism, he claims that European democracy is cynical, soft and bloodless, because Europeans don't share America's ambition to revolutionise the world.

It does explain why the French are the most vehement opponents of the US. For France is the only European nation that still thinks it represents universal values. And the French no longer believe they share them with the US. When you have competing views of universalism, fireworks are inevitable.

The Franco-American rift is ominous for the future of our democracies, for it has split the West. The damage will not be easy to repair, but the French, and especially the Americans, would do well to heed the words of a great statesman, Talleyrand: "Toujours pas trop de zèle" (Above all, not too much zeal).
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2003 08:19 am
Of course the US is guilty of breaking international agreements. No one has said any nation is guiltless in this. Every nation on earth has violated the terms of agreements. But you have to admit that there is a significant difference between violating various agreements here and there and a list of sucessive and willful violations of the same agreement over and over again over a period of decades. Just like dys's speeding tickets, you break the law once you get a ticket and pay a fine. As you continue to break the same law over and over the severity of the repercussions increases.

Cliche's are only non-productive if they aren't true and there is ample evidence that both sides of the paradox ARE true.

As for your two choices, the larger problem is the people on either end of the spectrum that scream to go beyond them. We jump from a notion of a "world-community" with laws that nations are bound by to the nationless "One World Government" vs. nationalistic isolationism. Both are equeally dangerous.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2003 08:27 am
fishin

Indeed, your differentiation between the case of infrequent and frequent violation is relevant. But so is power. For Pago Pago to violate some international agreement is a much less troublesome act than when the US does so.

May I inquire as to your thoughts on Baruma's piece?
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Sat 19 Apr, 2003 08:54 am
Certianly power is a factor but when you are talking about things like nuclear weapons the power scale can tip pretty quickly. Look at North Korea. Without the issue of nuclear weapons they are a blip on the world stage. With them (or the threat of them..) the entire Asian continent (and much of the rest of the world..) is in a tizzy.

I don't think Baruma is to far off. I'd disagree with his statements about the US and France continuing to seek their "Manifest Destiny" but it has clearly been a clash of cultures. I think the French have been a bit embarrassed by not being seen as a world leader since the end of World War II. They were upstaged in Europe politically by the UK and economically by Germany (and to some extent by the Netherlands in the last 10-15 years..).

France sees itself as the center of world culture and up until recently their means of demonstrating against anything not French was to withdraw from NATO, attack a local McDonalds or attack Euro-Disney all of which have ended up bringing them nothing but humiliation on the world diplomatic stage. The rise of the EU brought France a chance to demonstrate that they had the power to influence world affairs. I think they were a bit surprised when the rest of Europe didn't toe-the-line behind them in opposition to the issues of Iraq. Of course, France's own economic interests in Iraq played into their position as well...

Only history will tell us for sure but if the US can manage to get out of Iraq and leave behind a stable government in line with the general world views then France will have been humiliated in the worst possible way. It'll make Waterloo look like a minor embarassment in France's history. Even if the US ends up fumbling with Iraq, France has to deal with the fact that there are other Europen countries that are willing to break with them politically. If the US does fumble watch for France to find some way to dominate the rest of the EU.

The US on the other hand, can't allow our collective heads to become to swollen.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2003 06:37 pm
<deleted, double posting>
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nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2003 06:48 pm
fishin' wrote:
nimh wrote:
The Greens on the other hand collect under the banner "Make Law Not War".


And what exactly does that Green Party plan to do when those "laws" are ignored? [..] 17 seperate resolutions were passed that were specifically directed at Iraq. Sanctions were put in place for "enforcement", and the very same Green Party decried how those sanctions were to the detriment of the Iraqi people and should have been lifted all along.


Fishin', how unexpectedly well-informed you suddenly seem to be on the positions of the Dutch Green Party. Rolling Eyes

As a matter of fact, the Green Party here did not plead against sanctions. It posited that existing sanctions should be replaced by better working ones, not that they should be "lifted", let alone that they "should have been lifted all along". Same goes for the German Greens, who even last year applauded the adoption of a new sanctions strategy. You wouldnt know that - you cant know that, perhaps - thats why its all the more surprising you claim an opinion about it.

fishin' wrote:
That is the paradox of the left - more laws, more laws, more laws.. But the minute attempts are made to actually enforce those laws the cry goes out from the very same people about how "unfair" the laws are.


That was the difference within the left I was trying to illustrate ...

(Truly, why I even still bother placing posts here that try to show some of the distinctions within the left and right, when follow-up posters merely insist on sweeping one straight into the far corner of one of the two sides that you apparently are expected to take in order to participate on a2k politics, I don't know ... I'll be phasing out my efforts, I think).

Within the left - here, in Germany, in France - there's a clear difference of opinion. Those who I dub "the hand-off'ists" merely reject every western intervention. Thats as valid a position to take as any, for sure, but makes the simultaneous disavowment of third world dictatorships a little gratuitous - hence my criticism of the Socialist Party's "No Saddam No War" slogan. That's where your "can't have it both ways" argument would go up.

Then there are those who have defended intervention even while expressing unease about those intervening. In contrast to their postcommunist colleagues, both the German and the Dutch Green parties have approved of military intervention in Kosovo, for example. In Germany, the Green leader Joschka Fischer was, as Foreign Minister, instrumental and highly vocal in pushing for parliament's approval. Both parties even approved of the Afghanistan war - the Dutch a little more wishy-washy than the Germans, but still - they did. It is very specifically this war they have a problem with.

The difference between those two camps on the left is thus exactly one about enforcing laws. The postcommunists may be all for international laws, but considering they also reject any military intervention out of principle, that is indeed gratuitous (in my view). The Greens have proven to be prepared to approve of military action when such is necessary to prevent war crimes. They are by consequence a great proponent of the ICC, symbol of, finally, international law acquiring some 'teeth'.

But it is laws that they are willing to accord interventions for, not one or the other nation's individual political decision-making. According to an overwhelming majority of politicians outside the Anglosaxon world, whether right-wing or left-wing, this war was not an implementation of international law, as existing UN resolutions did not accord the US the right to this intervention.

So the dilemma you illustrate about wanting to make laws but not uphold them is false rhetorics. The majority of European leftists have shown themselves willing, in the previous wars of these past years, to approve of, for want of a better word, "law enforcement" even should it be a violent affair - what they take issue with is what they see as vigiliantism.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2003 07:50 pm
fishin' wrote:
I think the French have been a bit embarrassed by not being seen as a world leader since the end of World War II. They were upstaged in Europe politically by the UK and economically by Germany (and to some extent by the Netherlands in the last 10-15 years..).

France sees itself as the center of world culture and up until recently their means of demonstrating against anything not French was to withdraw from NATO, attack a local McDonalds or attack Euro-Disney all of which have ended up bringing them nothing but humiliation on the world diplomatic stage. The rise of the EU brought France a chance to demonstrate that they had the power to influence world affairs. I think they were a bit surprised when the rest of Europe didn't toe-the-line behind them in opposition to the issues of Iraq. Of course, France's own economic interests in Iraq played into their position as well...

Even if the US ends up fumbling with Iraq, France has to deal with the fact that there are other European countries that are willing to break with them politically.


It seems to me it's either one or the other here.

Either France did indeed encounter "nothing but humiliation on the world diplomatic stage", being "upstaged in Europe" even by The Netherlands in the past decades (a humbling feat, indeed) - in which case the fact that it nevertheless managed to get half of the EU members as well as a range of developing countries with it in an unparallelled defiance of US political pressure is a truly amazing diplomatic feat. Or it was indeed a surprise "when the rest of Europe [? - nimh] didn't toe-the-line behind them in opposition to the issues of Iraq", which would suggest that it had quite some clout to see wasted that way.

I am baffled, by the way, if I can be allowed to go off-topic, by the intense emotional need many American a2k posters seem to have to pinpoint a) an evil/pathetic mastermind behind the defiance of US politics in question and b) some inherently cultural-historical background that would explain it (away). Those who favour the war seem to mostly define and explain the opposition to the US course on Iraq in terms of French culture's idiosyncracies. But the German government, too, has denounced that course as openly as the French ever did. Not just that: the proposal the US was suggesting to bring to the UN was opposed by others as diverse as Belgium, Finland, Sweden, Austria, Luxemburg and Greece as well as Russia - and that's just Europe. Outside Europe, even the Axis of Coincidence - Angola, Guinea, Mexico, Chile, Pakistan - made clear it would not vote for it.

Just as a matter of curiosity - what exactly is so impossible to believe or accept about other nations - governments and populations - simply disagreeing with the US policy line in question, for no reason beyond feeling the policy in question is misguided? The inability to conceive of that or accept it, alone, already is grist to the mill of popular distrust of America's seeming superiority complex.
0 Replies
 
fishin
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2003 08:15 pm
nimh wrote:
Fishin', how unexpectedly well-informed you suddenly seem to be on the positions of the Dutch Green Party. Rolling Eyes


Being that I lived in Europe for a number of years as well as work for a company headquartered out of Amsterdam and worked out of Rotterdam for quite a while I'd guess my knowledge of the Dutch Green party is at least as good as, if not better than, your knowledge of the US politcial parties but you seem to think yourself awfully well informed in US politics...

Quote:
As a matter of fact, the Green Party here did not plead against sanctions. It posited that existing sanctions should be replaced by better working ones, not that they should be "lifted", let alone that they "should have been lifted all along".


Reread my original post again and explain how "replacing sanctions" is not the exact same thing as lifting THOSE sanctions?

fishin' wrote:
That is the paradox of the left - more laws, more laws, more laws.. But the minute attempts are made to actually enforce those laws the cry goes out from the very same people about how "unfair" the laws are.


That was the difference within the left I was trying to illustrate ...

(Truly, why I even still bother placing posts here that try to show some of the distinctions within the left and right, when follow-up posters merely insist on sweeping one straight into the far corner of one of the two sides that you apparently are expected to take in order to participate on a2k politics, I don't know ... I'll be phasing out my efforts, I think).[/quote]

That's your choice. This is a simple discussion and there haven't been any barbs thrown until your little hissy fit here. No one expected anything of you here. If posting here "bothers" you then quite simply, don't...

Quote:
So the dilemma you illustrate about wanting to make laws but not uphold them is false rhetorics.


Uh huh.. It's false rhetoric but it's the difference you were trying to illustrate? So basically you disagree with yourself.. I see.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2003 09:06 pm
Thank you blatham, for posting a most relevant item. I must admit I remained a bit sceptical about the article throughout the first half - not least because of my increasing impatience about how it seems the whole UN/US debate about Iraq seems to have been simplified in the US into some opposition between American and French culture - when to my mind it's not about France and not about culture. But the second half has some flashpoints of acute interest. Perle as Bolshevik in the eyes of Cohn-Bendit - that image, for example, will stay.

The 'former Trotskyite' link, on a side note, reminds one that, perhaps, one should look some stuff up again about what happened to the Socialist Party USA - the party of Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas. It split up in the eighties after the Shachtmanites, a group of Jewish former radicals, took the party all the way right, to the point of entering co-operation with the Reagan government.

If you go to the Social Democrats, USA website now, which represents the former Shachtmanite wing, you'll see posted there an open letter to Bush from February - three weeks before the war - that remarkably does not call upon him to take action through the UN or avoid war if possible. Instead it emphasises that intervention should not so much be about WMD as about "lay[ing] a foundation for representative government, freedom of speech, human rights and the rule of law in Iraq" - i.e., a kind of regime change-plus - a cause so worthy of pursuing that "we must act alone if that proves necessary" and set out to eventually "maintain substantial U.S. military forces in Iraq for as long as may be required to ensure a stable, representative regime is in place and functioning". "Time and again, the commitment to human rights and democracy has been the saving grace of American foreign policy", the letter argues, and pleads mostly for the administration to free up enough money and time for this unique opportunity to create a model of democracy in the Middle East. Manifest Destiny, it is.

Now earlier in this thread I'd made the connection between the leftist zeal to reshape the world and the idealist zeal of Bush's current right-wing administration, but I meant it more like an abstract parallel - I hadnt realised there might be, as Buruma suggests, an actual undercurrent of people bringing the spirit of the old Left into the views of the new Right. He mentions the American Enterprise Institute, for example, which is indeed listed among such signatories of above-mentioned open letter as James Woolsey and Bernard Aronson (assistant secretary of State in Bush I) through the person of Joshua Muravchik, former Socialist and son of one of the grand old men of the Socialist Party USA. Strange days, strange days.

blatham wrote:
Begging pardon if this piece is rather large, but I think it is a worthwhile contribution here.
0 Replies
 
nimh
 
  1  
Reply Sun 20 Apr, 2003 09:58 pm
fishin' wrote:
Being that I lived in Europe for a number of years as well as work for a company headquartered out of Amsterdam and worked out of Rotterdam for quite a while I'd guess my knowledge of the Dutch Green party is at least as good


Well, I stand corrected on your presumed ignorance, but that makes your actual misrepresentation all the more offensive.

You wrote: "the very same Green Party decried how those sanctions were to the detriment of the Iraqi people and should have been lifted all along" - end of sentence. Now if that doesnt suggest that the Green Party didnt want sanctions in place I dont know what does. You even based your further argument on it by stating that when "attempts are made to actually enforce those laws" the left merely cries out about "how 'unfair' the laws are". Whereas in fact the Green Left, about which we were talking, proposed maintaining sanctions and elaborated where and how they could be improved.

fishin' wrote:
Reread my original post again and explain how "replacing sanctions" is not the exact same thing as lifting THOSE sanctions?


As you can see above I did reread your post and you did not write anything like "THOSE" - instead using the suggestion that the Greens opposed the sanctions, period, for your argument that the left never wants anything actually done about the laws they say they approve. An argument hardly proven by the actual position of the party, as our elaboration now has shown.

fishin wrote:
nimh wrote:
So the dilemma you illustrate about wanting to make laws but not uphold them is false rhetorics.


Uh huh.. It's false rhetoric but it's the difference you were trying to illustrate? So basically you disagree with yourself.. I see.


No, apparently you don't, but perhaps that's because I was too annoyed to express myself clearly.

The paradox you attribute first to the Greens, then to the left overall - that of favouring ever more laws but rejecting any attempt to uphold them - does not actually apply to the Greens in question, nor to the mainstream of the left. The only way you got to attrribute it to them was by misrepresenting their position. Hence the accusation of "false rhetorics".

This was all the more exasperating because the paradox does crop up in the slogans of some radical leftist parties - for example the Socialist Party in the Netherlands and the ex-communist PDS in Germany (5% of the vote each) - and that is what the post you originally replied to had been about. (Hence the "That was the difference within the left I was trying to illustrate ...").
Remember - ? - :

nimh wrote:
Here in Holland we have two leftist parties opposing the war - the Socialists and the Greens. The Socialists have the slogan "No Saddam No War" - well-meant, but basically meaningless in indicating anything more than opposition to this war - there's no alternative implied. The Greens on the other hand collect under the banner "Make Law Not War". I think that when, for example, Syria now comes up, we should focus on what we would propose in terms of international lawmaking and -enforcing to deal with its dictatorship, rather than merely on highlighting where Rumsfeld's case in the question is wrong


Basically, in this, my original post, I'd already made your point that "the left has to figure out that you can't have things both ways" - and had also already indicated that many in the left have figured that out. The Greens here embody the choice that does take on the responsibility of law-enforcement when pleading for more international law. Its opposition to this war, like that of many here, is thus not a question of leftists opposing every action, but of Europeans considering this war to be vigilantism rather than law-enforcement.

To see you basically ignore that whole distinction in your subsequent reply, only to simply replace it yet again by that same tired prejudice about what is "typically left", might explain a little of my hissy fit about the two cliched sides that one apparently is expected to choose between when posting on a2k politics.

I do find it greatly frustrating that discussion here is so polarized that most everywhere, the only thing in one's posts others will pick up on is that which they can use as fodder for their defense or attack of one of the two ever-battling sides. Sometimes they even pick it up in straight-out denial of what you actually just wrote, like you did just now. It gets exasperating to the point where I start using way too many italicized words, and yes, that means I won't be posting here half as much as I have been anymore <grins>.)

Finally, as for me (or any Dutch poster) knowing more about American parties than the usual American poster knows about Dutch parties, that's not so much a Q of the arrogance you seem to imply as simply of contrasting necessities - there's not much need for any American to know anything about Dutch politics, duh, whereas we have no choice but to inform us about a country that so influences ours.
0 Replies
 
blatham
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Apr, 2003 07:54 am
nimh

A month or two past, I'd actually bumped into a transcript of the (frustratingly short) debate between Cohn-Bendit and Perle and posted it here somewhere. I hadn't read it again until today and it proves very interesting from this perspective now (and note Perle's little threat at the end). http://www.foreignpolicy.com/issue_mayjune_2003/debate.html

Yesterday morning, on another thread, I posted the announcement by the US military that they were thinking (big surprise) to keep a military presence in Iraq, duration open-ended, and the consequence this would have for Iraq self-determination (say, if a poll-leading party in some future pre-election period were to advance the policy position that the US military ought to go away). One responder suggested the US would likely be there for 8 to 10 years, but she'd likely be more correct were she to multiply her estimate by ten.

I regret you are considering decreasing your contributions here, but I will be as well. Certain frustrations you mention have a home with me, but in my case, they seem to be rather in the nature of a welcome mat for a certain species of madness. Please do stay in touch ( [email protected] ) and to pass on analyses and commentaries you bump into and find revelatory.
0 Replies
 
Tartarin
 
  1  
Reply Mon 21 Apr, 2003 10:46 am
Looks like a mini-exodus -- I'll probably stick around in the book discussions, but agree with Blatham and Nimh (on just about everything!) and with Nimh's assessment: "I am baffled, by the way, if I can be allowed to go off-topic, by the intense emotional need many American a2k posters seem to have to pinpoint a) an evil/pathetic mastermind behind the defiance of US politics in question and b) some inherently cultural-historical background that would explain it (away)."

Tony Judt takes on "Dangereuse Amerique" and others in the latest NYRB and writes: "Mocking the French for their pretensions (and their memory holes) is almost as easy as picking apart the hypocrisies of US foreign policy." He continues: "You don't have to be a French intellectual to believe that an overmuscled America, in a hostile internaational environment, is weaker, not stronger, than it was before. It is also more likely to be belligerent..."

Well, very true. The "species of madness" which Blatham mentions includes an addiction to belligerence, both in personal manner, public behaviors, and in this country's relations with the world. We bully, we "win," and that makes us right. But, as Judt writes, "...a military campaign is not retroactively justified by its success alone, and anyway much collateral damage is already done." Collateral damage to the US, to us, probably to A2K, and to open debate in this increasingly angry and embittered country. It is important to have a place where ideas can be discussed openly and where they won't be overswept by waves of wrath and finger-pointing and either/ors.

If you would like to continue your conversation online but in a more private area and with others who value courteous and unlimited debate, I think I can provide that. Just let me know and I'll do my best to set it up quickly. Blatham has my email address.
0 Replies
 
 

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