Monday, October 03, 2005

I Agree With Dick Cheney

Cheney's more or less right on this:

Al Qaeda-linked insurgents in Iraq were testing U.S. resolve, Cheney said.

If the terrorists were to succeed, they would...make [Iraq] a source of instability in the Middle East and use it as a staging area for ever greater attacks against America and other civilized nations.
Of course, I might add a clause that would go something like this: "more so than it already has become post-invasion." And I could conceive of attaching a proviso at the end that might read, "of course, it was nothing close to this before we invaded." But hey, we take what we can get. At least it's better than some of Cheney's other greatest hits like "last throes" and we will be "greeted as liberators."

Of course, Cheney's admonitions are ever more disturbing when one considers Susan Nossel's observations from a recent foreign policy wonk-fest.

I spent Wednesday through Friday of last week at a national security conference at Princeton hosted by the awe-inspiring Anne-Marie Slaughter, Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School and a blogger at America Abroad.

A similar group - comprised primarily of academics with a heavy quota of ex-Clinton Administration people along with a handful of current and former Bush Administration officials - met in the Spring of 2004 for a series of broad-ranging foreign policy discussions, and the changes in tenor and substance between that meeting and this one were striking. Here are a few highlights in terms of what was discussed, and what was notable for being left out of the debate:[...]

American Unipolarity Waning - Probably the most notable change in the tenor of this meeting from the 2004 session was the universal sense that America's position in the world has weakened sharply as a result of all the factors we talk about here all the time: Iraq, military over-extension, frayed alliances, lapsed moral authority, plus China's growing economic power and increasingly effective use of diplomacy and other forms of influence. Whereas a year ago, before the 2004 election, the sense seemed to be that - - depending on who was in the White House - - things might go back to Clinton-era US dominance, the sense now was that the unipolar moment may be at the beginning of its end, and that its unlikely to come back as it once was. [...]

Iraq as a Lost Cause - Iraq barely featured in the major presentations during the meeting. This was partly because of a deliberate focus on long-term issues and threats. Though opinions were divided, the majority of those I spoke to favored the US withdrawing the bulk of its troops in 2006. It was not that they disagreed on the potentially devastating consequences of Iraq becoming a failed state, nor that they had any confidence that the country would hold together. They were just convinced that the continued American presence was doing more harm than good. (Personally, having seen nothing that makes me confidence that the glaring holes in the US's strategy and approach in Iraq are being filled, I am slowly coming to the view that withdrawal may be the best among lousy options - more on that another time).
Hmmm, I seem to recall the perils of unipolarity, and how short lived such a unique and potentially advantageous phenomenon would be if left in the wrong hands. Speaking of which, that was quick. Hubris can be a deeply frustrating impulse to watch play out on the world stage. With often calamitous results.

<< Home

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