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Interesting Opinion piece on the U.S.(6 posts)

Interesting Opinion piece on the U.S.rtyszko
Oct 17, 2002 10:04 AM
My first attempt to post this is still floating in the ether world,I think. This is a link to an Op/Ed peice that appears in the Boston Globe today that I think best illustrates my worries regarding our current debate about Iraq (and the "axis of evil"). I'd be interested to hear the forum's take on this article. In short, are we in the "threshold period" of US policy/engagement change?

An apt analysis.czardonic
Oct 17, 2002 11:43 AM
Altough I completely disagree with the first paragraph. I do not think that Bush is in any way comparable to Hitler. However, I think that it is vital to understand the means by which Hitler seduced Germans, and to make sure that similar tactics are not allowed to seduce future generations in any country. If anything, Germans in particular can identify this behavior, just as Japan is an appropriate advocate for pacifism.

The US government has taken a threat to our security and cast it as an ideological war. One must no longer act against the United States, it is enough to merely "hate" us. Essentially, we have reduced ourselves to the level of the ideologues that oppose us. We are ready to strike at rivals simply for opposing our ways. Considering the excesses of the stuggle against the last "Evil Empire", the current mania for patriotic orthodoxy and military adventurism is scary indeed. Terrorism is scary. So is nuclear proliferation. But fear can not guide our actions. History has shown (and this article articulates) that societies that are ruled by fear are to be feared most.
"The Question Is About The Cost of World- Primacy Ambition"Jon Billheimer
Oct 17, 2002 8:13 PM
That summarizes the policy shift underway in a nutshell. This is what the recent editorial in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution pointed out. The current foreign policy shift driving the Bush administration is global Machiavellianism run completely amok, and in my opinion is a betrayal of everything that America has ever said it stands for. I hope that the American people wake up before it's too late and call its power-mad government to account.
A little self defeating tho.Sintesi
Oct 18, 2002 5:44 AM
He gives these comparisons and then negates them somewhat in the last paragraph which I find weak. I love how all his comparable "threshold periods" led to disaster immediately thereafter. Is this guy Fear Mongering? I wonder. That's his thesis? Saddam + US = DISASTER. No other examples in history Jim? The most salient questions tho, I think are these:

"The question is about the cost of world-primacy ambition and who pays it. The question is about what happens when national consensus is hijacked by fringe politics and when the very people empowered to object say nothing. The question, in other words, is not about Bush but about us."

"Fringe?" "hijacked?" I see plenty of debate and even critical op/ed columns in the Boston Globe. Imagine that. War hasn't even been decided on, for all everyone knows this could be a game of brinkmanship. Already the UN is thwarting the Bush administration's ambitions and may ultimately prevail. Maybe Carroll is upset that not enough congressman objected to the height and ferocity of his standards. I mean they are all just timid cowards bullied by a powerful president who didn't even get a plurality and whose reelection is seriously questionable. Some premise. That makes sense. If the Democrats were afraid of anyone it was probably their constituency. Otherwise, why would they blink?

One more thing, George Bush is a man of average intelligence, a rich kid who used to run a baseball team. now he's a machiavelli?

The man is earnest, he's acting out of a mixture of ideology, a need for revenge, a desire to protect the US and its power in the world and oil receipts. But he's not evil. You might think he's wrong and that's what the debate is about. I don't see anything "chilling," in fact the debate seems to grow with each passing day.
A little self defeating tho.Jon Billheimer
Oct 18, 2002 7:34 AM

When I used the term Machiavellian, I wasn't referring to Bush or the "strategic thinkers" in the administration as being evil, but as subscribing to the notion that "might makes right" and that the unbridled use of power is the foreign policy end all and be all. Speculatively, the "cost" of such a policy can bankrupt a nation and empire both economically and morally. Anyone ever hear of the Roman empire?

The redeeming feature, as suggested by the Boston Globe item, is that it's not too late in a democracy for the people to hold an overreaching government to account and to force a policy change.
A little self defeating tho.Sintesi
Oct 18, 2002 10:08 AM
Hey Jon,

Most of my comments are really directed at the article but appreciate the clarification. I am ambivalent about any war action and can see both ways on it. I like arguing the administration side and I don't think it is entirely without merit. There is a problem with precedent and an open-ended plan of engagement with no explanation as to what happens after. But as nuclear devices proliferate, who controls them is of paramount importance I believe. Doesn't matter if the country is overtly belligerent or not but what is the level of threat. Is a .5% chance Kim il Jong blows up Tokyo in the right circumstance acceptable? Bush doctirine seems to lead us to a series of confrontations which , as you say, may to much for this country to handle. Don't know what the correct answer is.