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My personal musings about anything that gets on my radar screen--heavily dominated by politics.
|When I use the word "system," as I have in several recent posts, I mean an organizational or philosophical structure that cannot be easily undone by one election, or two elections--no matter how "revolutionary" they may be (see "Republican Revolution, 1994").|
To illustrate, National Review's The Corner had three consecutive posts this afternoon.
One, from Thomas Ricks:
American insiders in Baghdad say the relationship between the top U.S.commander there, Gen. Raymond Odierno, and the top covilian official there, Amb. Christopher Hill, is deteriorating rapidly. Old hands say the chill between the two brings to the bad old days of Sanchez vs. Bremer . . .
What I am hearing is the Odierno is profoundly frustrated with Hill, who despite knowing almost nothing about Iraq has decided after a short time there that it is time to stand back and stop influencing the behavior of Iraqi officials on a daily basis. In addition, I am told, the ambassador believes the war is an Iraqi problem, not something that really concerns the Americans anymore, despite the presence of 125,000 American soldiers.
Two, in the WaPo:
"We've got to think about giving out cookies," said Gration, who was appointed in March. "Kids, countries, they react to gold stars, smiley faces, handshakes, agreements, talk, engagement . . ."
And three, from the Law Library of the Congress:
As stated in the answer to question II(a), above, the Supreme Court [of Honduras], based on its constitutional powers, heard the case against Zalaya and applied the appropriate procedure mandated by the Code of Criminal Procedure . . . Available sources indicate that the judicial and legislative branches applied constitutional and statutory law in the case against President Zalaya in a manner that was judged by the Honduran authorities from both branches of the government to be in accordance with the Honduran legal system.
This describes a widespread system of incompetence. People who have no knowledge of their assignments are being put in critical positions, the military people who are in charge of important theaters are ignored, naive worldviews are informing weighty decisions, and--every once in a while--America is choosing to side with the wrong people.
The system that is being put in place in foreign policy is frightening. Add to those three the weakness vis-a-vis Iran, our bowing down to Russia's interests in Eastern Europe, and incessant badgering of our best ally Israel, and you start to see a picture emerging of American disengagement from freedom and democratic governments in favor of Marxists, tyrants and thugs.
This is not the formula for long-term world stability.
To call the first nine months of Obama foreign policy incompetent would be generous. It is difficult to imagine an administration making all of these ridiculous missteps all by accident--there must be a design of some kind. And I'm not talking about tin-foil hat kinds of things--I'm talking about a deliberate series of acts that weaken America's percerption around the world. You can make the case that the world needs to be more involved in saving itself without always needing America's intervention--but to do that, America would not need to look stupid. We could simply go protectionist and withdraw. In fact, to do that might even be responsible as long as we stayed involved in rebuilding a better system with training and material support, etc . . .
What I fear we are creating now is a vacuum. Not just of leadership and competence, but of authority. The world, as it now is built, is not ready to step in to all the holes America has been filling. I would much rather, in a Machiavellian sense, be feared than loved; as it now stands, America is moving toward actual irrelevance--loved the way your narcissistic teenage neice is loved, but not ever listened to.
Before you know it, the French are going to start making jokes at our expense.
Oh, wait . . .