Friday, March 10, 2006


Appropos of my goose and gander watching below, I thought this catch by the Armchair Generalist over at the fab-collab site Blue Force was worth a mention. Conservative Jim Hoagland on the consolidation of power threat:

"The powers of the presidency have been eroded and usurped to the breaking point. We are engaged in a new kind of war that cannot be fought by old methods. It can only be directed by a strong executive who alone is not subject to the conflicting pressures that legislators or judges face. The public understands and supports that unpleasant reality, whatever the media and intellectuals say."

These words came from a White House aide defending U.S. policies on Guantanamo Bay prisoners, secret renditions and warrantless eavesdropping in a conversation with me. A few days later, I heard a Russian official use nearly identical terms to defend his country's coercive merging of private energy and media companies under state control.

Both Putin and Bush swim against the tides of their time as state power fragments or atrophies everywhere, not just in Moscow or Washington. The spread of technology and global communications weakens all governments. The better policy choice is to take those changes into account and use them in nimble fashion, rather than simply lashing out against them in strong-arm fashion.

Kind of makes you wonder what exactly Bush saw in Putin's soul when he gazed penetratingly through the window. Kindred spirits? Not exactly. But a little too close for comfort, no?

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