Friday, February 02, 2007

Debunking David Brooks

Daavid Brook's latest (Bubba's comments in caps and parentheses)

February 1, 2007
Op-Ed Columnist
The Iraq Syndrome, R.I.P.

After Vietnam, Americans turned inward. (WHAT THE HELL DOES "TURN INWARD" MEAN?)Having lost faith in their leadership class (FUNNY-OUTSIDE THE BELTWAY WE HEAR AMERICA IS ALL ABOUT EQUALITY - THERE'S A "LEADERSHIP CLASSES?"), many Americans grew suspicious of power politics and hesitant about projecting American might around the world.(HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH "PROJECTING AMERICAN MIGHT" HAD EVERYTHING TO DO WITH GETTING DOUBLE-CROSSED BY RICHARD NIXON AND FRIENDS - ALSO WITH INFLATION.)

The Vietnam (AND NIXON AND WATERGATE AND INFLATION AND OPEC) syndrome was real. It lasted all of five years — the time between the fall of Saigon and the election of Ronald Reagan (BROOKS IS IMPLYING HERE THAT REAGAN CAME INTO OFFICE AND FIXED EVERYTHING, WHICH IS, OF COURSE, ABSOLUTE BULLSHIT).

Today, Americans are disillusioned with the war in Iraq (HE NEGLECTS TO MENTION THAT MANY AMERICANS ARE ALSO DISILLUSIONED WITH THE BUSH CROWD WHO FOBBED THE WAR OFF ON US), and many around the world predict that an exhausted America will turn inward again (AMERICA HASN'T "TURNED INWARD" SINCE PEARL HARBOR. LET'S SEE BROOKS CITE ONE EXAMPLE OF AMERICA "TURNING INWARD" SINCE DECEMBER 7, 1941). Some see a nation in permanent decline and an end to American hegemony (WE'RE BURNING THROUGH $2 BILLION A WEEK IN IRAQ. WE'RE BORROWING THAT MONEY FROM RED CHINA. DO YOU THINK THAT MIGHT PUT A KINK IN OUR HEGEMONY?). At Davos, some Europeans apparently envisioned a post-American world (SILLY THEM. THEY MUST THINK WE'RE LED BY A BUNCH OF MORONS).

Forget about it. (YOU MEAN ALL THAT STUFF ABOUT HOW PEOPLE ARE TURNING INWARD? THAT STRAW MAN YOU'RE HOLDING UP FOR US TO SEE?)Americans are having a debate about how to proceed in Iraq (ACTUALLY, THE DEBATE IS MORE ABOUT HOW TO EXTRACT OUR TALLAWHACKERS FROM THAT MEATGRINDER THANN HOW TO INSERT OUR TALLAWHACKERS EVEN DEEPER), but we are not having a strategic debate about retracting American power and influence. What’s most important about this debate is what doesn’t need to be said. No major American leader doubts that America must remain, as Dean Acheson put it, the locomotive of the world.(LUCKILY FOR DEAN ACHESON, HE DIDN'T LIVE TO SEE THE DAY WHEN AMERICA DIDN'T MAKE LOCOMOTIVES ANY MORE)

Look at the leaders emerging amid this crisis. The two major Republican presidential contenders are John McCain and Rudy Giuliani (TOOLS), the most aggressive internationalists (AND INTERNATIONALISM IS WORKING SO WELL FOR THE 3 MILLION AMERICANS WHO HAVE LOST THEIR JOBS TO IT) in a party that used to have an isolationist wing (BACK BEFORE PEARL HARBOR).

The Democrats, meanwhile, campaigned for Congress in 2006 by promising to increase the size of the military. The presidential front-runner, Hillary Clinton, is the leader of the party’s hawkish wing and recently called for a surge of U.S. troops into Afghanistan. John Edwards, the most “leftward” major presidential contender, just delivered a bare-knuckled speech in which he castigated the Bush administration for not being tough enough with Iran. “To ensure that Iran never gets nuclear weapons, we need to keep all options on the table,” Edwards warned.(CAMPAIGN-DRIVEN POSITIONS AND RHETORIC IN BOTH CASES.)

This is not a country looking to avoid entangling alliances (NO. WE'VE GOT THAT "COALITION OF THE WILLING" THING GOING FOR US). This is not a country renouncing the threat of force (NO. THE BUSHIES HAVE RENOUNCED DIPLOMACY INSTEAD). This is not a country looking to come home again (70% OF AMERICANS WANT OUR TROOPS OUT OF IRAQ - JUST NOT 70% OF BROOK'S "LEADERSHIP CLASS"). The Iraq syndrome is over before it even had a chance to begin.(?!)

The U.S. has no material need to reconsider its dominant role in the world (A COMMON SENSE NEED MAYBE, BUT CERTAINLY NO MATERIAL NEED). The U.S. military still has no serious rivals, even after the strains of Iraq (JUST ASK THE SOLDIER IN THE WORN OUT, YET-TO-BE-UP-ARMORED HUMVEE). The economy is humming along nicely (IF YOU'RE IN THE "INVESTOR CLASS" SECTION OF BROOKS' "LEADERSHIP CLASS").

The U.S. has no cultural need to retrench (RE-THINKING, HOWEVER, MIGHT BE IN ORDER). Vietnam (NIXON, WATERGATE, RUNAWAY INFLATION) sparked a broad cultural revolution, a shift in values and a loss of confidence. Iraq has not had the same effect (IN THE LEADERSHIP CLASS - 70% of THE REST OF US want out of iraq). Many Americans have lost faith in the Bush administration and in this particular venture,(do ya think?) but there has been no generalized loss of faith in the American system (EXCEPT FOR BUSH VS GORE, 2004 OHIO VOTE TALLEYS, PRESIDENTIAL SIGNING STATEMENTS, THE PATRIOT ACT, EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION, THE LOSS OF HABEUS CORPUS, TORTURE, WARRANTLESS SURVEILANCE...) or in American goodness (EXCEPT FOR BUSH VS GORE, 2004 OHIO VOTE TALLEYS, PRESIDENTIAL SIGNING STATEMENTS, THE PATRIOT ACT, EXTRAORDINARY RENDITION, THE LOSS OF HABEUS CORPUS, TORTURE, WARRANTLESS SURVEILANCE...).

There hasn’t even been a broad political shift in favor of the doves (THANKS FOR THE GRATUITOUS STEREOTYPE.). The most important war critics are military types like Jack Murtha, Chuck Hagel and Jim Webb, who hate this particular war but were superhawks in other circumstances. (YOU MEAN THEY WENT TO WAR AS YOUNG MEN UNLIKE CHICKEN HAWKS BUSH, CHENEY ET AL?)

Finally, there has been no change in America’s essential nature (NOPE. LEADER CLASS ASSHOLES ARE STILL LEADER CLASS ASSHOLES). As Robert Kagan (DESIGNER AND KING-KONG ADVOCATE OF BUSH'S ILL-FATED SURGE) writes in his masterful book “Dangerous Nation,” America has never really been an isolationist or aloof nation. The United States has always exercised as much power as it could. It has always coupled that power with efforts to spread freedom (NOW WHAT THE HELL DOES "SPREAAD FREEDDOM" MEAN? WERE WE SPREADING FREEDOM WHEN WE INSTALLED THE SHAH IN IRAN? WHEN WE TOPPLE ALLENNDE IN CHILE? CHRIST, I LOATHE PLATITUDES LIKE "SPREAD FREEDOM"). And Americans have always fought over how best to fulfill their mission as the vanguard of progress (THAT'S WHY WE DON'T SUPPORT STEM CELL RESEARCH. THAT'S WHY WE REFUSED TO SIGN THE KYOTO ACCORDS REGARDING GLOBAL WARMING).

What’s happening today is just another chapter in that long expansionist story. Today’s debate in the Senate flows seamlessly from the history Kagan describes. Most senators agree that the tactical question of sending 20,000 more troops is not the central issue. Their core concern, they say, is finding a new grand strategy to stabilize the region (PRIMARILY BECAUSE NEOCON PIPE DREAMS, BUSH'S WAR, AND THE COMPLETE ABSENCE OF ANY AMERICAN DIPLOMATIC GRAVITAS HAS DESTABILIZED THE REGION SO PRECIPITOUSLY).

Most senators want a much more aggressive diplomatic effort to go along with the military one (CONDI HAS DONE SO MUCH TO ACHIEVE CREDIBILITY INTHE DIPLOMATIC ARENA). (If President Bush said his surge was part of an effort to establish a regional diplomatic conference, he’d have majority support tomorrow.)(BUT PRESIDENT BUSH IS TOO DAMNED DUMB AND OBSTINATE TO DO SOMETHING AS SMART AS SEEK A DIPLOMATIC SOLUTION) But they don’t question the need for America to play a leading role. They take it for granted that the U.S. is going to be in the Middle East for a long time to come.(BUSH BROKE IT. WE BOUGHT IT.)

When you look further into the future, you see that the next president’s big efforts will not be about retrenchment, but about expansion (HOT DAMN. DEEPER INTO THE QUAGMIRE). They’ll be about expanding the U.S. military, expanding the diplomatic corps (SOMETHING BUSH WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO DO), asking for more shared sacrifice, (FROM THOSE OF US NOT IN THE "LEADERSHIP CLASS" creating new interagency bureaus that will give America more nation-building capacity (AND ISN'T NATION BUILDING WHAT AMERICA IS ALL ABOUT?).

In short, the U.S. has taken its share of blows over the past few years, but the isolationist dog is not barking (INSIDE THE BELTWAY). The hegemon will change (ESPECIALLY WITH ALL THE $$ WE'RE BORROWING FROM CHINA - AND AALL THE CHINESE GOODS WE'RE BUYING AT WALMART). The hegemon will do more negotiating (MOSTLY ABOUT INTEREST RATES). But the hegemon will live (AND AREN'T WE LUCKY DUCKS ON THAT NOTE?).


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11:32 AM  

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