Thursday, August 24, 2006


Thomas Barnett, Ross Douthat (from Bloggingheads) among others on OpenSourceRadio with Christopher Lyden. Listening to the program more and more of late.

Listen here.

The panel discusses Ross Douthat's recent op-ed on what year it is in foreign policy.

Douthat says there are five groups in American discourse on what year we are at--for historical analogical purposes.

1942: George Bush (increasingly isolated). Early entrance in WWII, heavy casulties, bogged down, but 1943-1944 will bring momentum in our direction. Which would be Iraq/ME about to turn corner like the war against the Axis did.

1948: Peter Beinart, center-left. Those disillusioned with the way Iraq has been handled. See Islamo-fascism as the new communism. Advocate a long hard fight ahead, victory better achieved through containment, soft power, and diplomacy.

1938: Neoconservatives, Newt Gingrich (right/right-center). Bush is Chamberlain and Ahmadeinjad is Hitler. West is appeasing the new Nazis (Iran) when we should be pre-empting them and bombing them to the stone age. Otherwise we will reap another World War.

1919: Paleoconservatives, isolationists (neo-realists?), Pat Buchanan (far right). George Bush is Woodrow Wilson whose naive idealism and attempt to demoractize the world has cost us too much. We need to get out as fast possible and retreat to our own sphere.

Alternate 1919 reading. Wilson's League of Nations failed precisely because Henry Cabot Lodge and the isolationist Republicans vetoed our membership at the Congressional level. We should more than ever be engaging in security building, alliances to prevent such another America-less vacuum that gave birth to Fascism and Communism.

1972: anti-war left. Bush is Nixon. Iraq is Vietnam. The greatest danger comes not from terrorism but American imperialism. Get out of Iraq.

Alternate 1972: Bush could be Nixon and go to China (Iran). 1972 as the year of detente and the beginnings of the Soviet-US missile talks, US-Chinese accords. The creation of a trans-bloc (East/West Europe) strategy talks giving room for later Walesa to challenge Soviet hegemony. Analogy obvious: Need for detente/strategic umbrella with Shia, isolating terrorism to non-state (Somalia as only jihadist state?) actors among Sunni salafi.

Douthat interestingly wrote the piece to say that he thought the historical analogical process was a bad idea in most cases.

But anyway, for the fun of it....

That makes me, something like

Step 1: Alternate 1972er. Bush goes to Iran (too bad Condi is no Kissinger). And Bush goes back to China, this time political-military accords. Locking China in to governance in globalization and nudging them ever so slightly towrds a more open-political system.

Step 2: Only after 1 is completed. ONLY after 1 complete.

1948. Sunni Salafi jihadism as the new competing ideology to free market/representative government. But as a non-state reality. The key difference between it and Communism.

By taking Iran (Shia) out of the picture, getting China/India/Russia on board we head south to sub-Saharan Africa to prevent Salafi jihadism from becoming a state reality, from becoming a new Warsaw-like pact versus sub-sahAfrican aligned with West (new-NATO). To prevent a Cold War on the African continent.

Globalization as Barnett says in the piece, is Red Rovering to the Middle East--ready or not here I come--and ready the Arab Sunni world is not.

The new containment will then be around that area--withIran already co-opted in and desirous to get stability in the region. Or in the '42 analogy, Iran as our Soviets against the Nazis.

All of it hinging on Iran as I've stressed repeatedly. And my fear going Step 1 to the 1938er camp which, as I have said before is a self-fulfilling prophecy, the demon of historical analogical thinking. If we both Step 1, either with a Gingrich-pre empt or a George McGovern pull out plus paleocon isolationism, we are in big trouble.


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