Friday, August 25, 2006

Neoconservatives: 'Trust Us One More Time'

The foreign policy batting average of the Bush Administration leaves much to be desired. A lot of the failures of Bush's policies has to be laid at the feet of Cheney and Rumsfeld who are not much interested in the neoconservative project of democracy at the point of a gun and have their own Hobbesian agenda. But neoconservatives have provided Bush with much of his intellectual cover, such as it is. Without embarrassment, neoconservatives have spent much of their time in the last three years rationalizing their failed analysis of Iraq.

As the neoconservatives make a case for yet a third war during the Bush presidency, Glenn Greenwald of Unclaimed Territory goes back to a 2003 article when neoconservative hubris was in its full bloom:
I came across this column written by Steyn on May 4, 2003, in which he laughs about the fact that the U.S. won the war in Iraq so quickly and easily and mocks those who were concerned that it would be a difficult challenge. The column was entitled "The war? That was all over two weeks ago," and here is part of what it said, conveying the prevailing "wisdom" among Bush supporters at the time. Just savor every paragraph of intense, complete wrongness:
This war is over. The only question now is whether a new provisional government is installed before the BBC and The New York Times have finished running their exhaustive series on What Went Wrong with the Pentagon's Failed War Plan. . .


...for everyone other than media naysayers, it's the Anglo-Aussie-American side who are the geniuses. Rumsfeld's view that one shouldn't do it with once-a-decade force, but with a lighter, faster touch has been vindicated, with interesting implications for other members of the axis of evil and its reserve league.

The incompetence of the neonconservatives is mind-boggling. Most neoconservatives are leftover hawks from the Cold War and fortunately, for all of us, the more right-wing neoconservatives never had a chance to show us how they would handle the Soviet Union; we can also be grateful that hardline Hobbesians like Cheney and Rumsfeld never quite had their chance in that era either.

Now, here's the irony if we allow the neoconservatives to drag us into a war with Iran: our actions may allow Russia to become a superpower once again. Clearly, we can bomb Iran back into the stone age and that is something for Iranian leaders to keep in mind as they dicker with our incompetent president. Of course, the question that neoconservatives usually fail to ask—in this case, if we launch a bombing campaign—would come into play: what then?

There are any number of scenarios where oil supplies would be cut; Iran, for example, could cut back its own supplies as a response to an attack or it could directly hit some of our suppliers in the gulf. How much and exactly where oil would be cut depends on a number of factors. But one thing is for sure: a world where oil supplies are already tight would see oil hitting a $100/barrel or more. Russia has just become the world's biggest supplier of oil; if Saudi Arabia by chance sees its supplies cut because of an Iranian response to our bombing, Russia will find itself in a dominant position, though it may be worried about all those thousands of miles of oil pipelines going through territory stirred up by such a war. I have no doubt that Russia would prefer stability to the chaos of a war with Iran, and we need to understand that, but it would indeed be a major strategic failure by their own definitions if the old Cold War hawks gave Russia too much of a helping hand.


Blogger Terrell said...

The swagger was the first clue to me that these guys are really lightweights. I've taught elementary school for twenty-seven years. I've seen lots of swaggering, but it's never attached to wisdom and real confidence.

Our president reminds me of no one so much as a ten-year-old bully.

7:48 AM  
Blogger Craig said...

Terrell, I think you have it right. I have used a metaphor about Bush before. He's very much like the cocky kid who steals some cookies from a cookie jar and when he's confronted by an adult who asks if he has stolen the five cookies that were in the jar replies in a very contrite but offended manner, "No, I didn't steal 5 cookies" and smugly thinks to himself, "I only stole 3 cookies; my fried, Karl Rove stole the other two!"

Without his father, without his own campaigning and public relations skills, and without the ridiculous behavior of a compliant media, Bush would never have gotten as far as he has.

4:07 PM  

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