November 25, 2003

- - PNACkle - New Card Game? - -

Looks like Rummy's days may indeed be numbered. PNAC's Gary Schmitt yesterday posted Tom Donnelly & Vance Serchuk's Weekly Standard article entitled "Preparing to Fight the Next War." Excerpts:

But Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld thinks he can wring greater “efficiencies” from the force. Pace’s study, according to the Post, has presented Rumsfeld with more than 60 ideas for such improvements, including a centrally directed system of force allocation--presumably to measure out units in times of crisis “just in time,” as in the march to Baghdad . . .

But military strategy and force planning are two sides of a single coin. The United States cannot remain the principal guarantor of a global liberal order simply by flitting about the planet like Peter Pan designating targets for B-2 bombers. Rumsfeld constantly talks about “reducing the footprint” of U.S. forces overseas, but for those who have long huddled under American protection, and for those newly freed states that cannot live without it, reducing the footprint sounds suspiciously like contracting the perimeter . . .

Secretary Rumsfeld has said it is not possible to predict with precision where the next threat will come from. But we do know where our wars are likely to be fought in the near term. President Bush, Saddam Hussein, and Osama bin Laden are pretty much in agreement on this: It’s the Middle East. Yet the Pentagon continues to cling to a “capabilities-based approach” in which all wars are created equal, and speedy wars are the most equal of all.

You may recall that Rummy was one of the original signers of PNAC's Statement of Principles back in 1997. Looks to me like the relationship is getting rather frayed.

So while I was at PNAC (disguised as a Filipino cleaning lady) I thought I'd look around before I escaped and took off my hip-boots. 'Lo and behold, what did I find? I discovered that Gary, WaPo's Robert Kagan, and I actually agree on something . . . here are some excerpts from Kagan's "No George McGovern" piece (WaPo, 11/17):

It has been said that the United States is polarized these days. Maybe so. But on foreign policy questions, where the country is presumably most polarized, the poles are a little hard to define. The fact remains that a majority of the Democratic Party's most plausible candidates supported the war in Iraq and have not, with the exception of Wes Clark, tried to claim otherwise. Howard Dean is the preeminent antiwar candidate, but aside from his dissent on Iraq, does he really offer a fundamentally different vision of American foreign policy? Will the 2004 election, in other words, be a national referendum on the fundamental principles of American foreign policy in the post-Cold War, post-Sept. 11, 2001, world? At this moment, it seems unlikely, even if the matchup is Bush vs. Dean . . .

Another possibility is that Dean's opposition to the Iraq war has been over-interpreted by his supporters on the Democratic left. They think he rejects the overall course of American foreign policy, just as they do. But maybe he doesn't. They think he's one of them, but his views may not be all that different from those of today's Democratic centrist establishment. When Dean criticizes Bush's foreign policy "unilateralism," he sounds like a policy expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, not a radical. "There are two groups of people who support me because of the war," Dean told Mara Liasson a few months ago. "One are the people who always oppose every war, and in the end I think I probably won't get all of those people." The other group, Dean figures, simply "appreciates the fact" that he "stood up early" and spoke his mind and opposed Bush while other Democrats were cowed. Dean may not be offering a stark alternative to Bush's foreign policy, therefore, so much as he is simply offering Democrats a compelling and combative alternative to Bush himself. The Iraq war provided the occasion to prove his mettle.

If so, that has two implications, one small and one big. The small one concerns the general election: The Bushies are planning to run against a dovish McGovern, but there's a remote possibility they could find themselves running against a hawkish Kennedy. The bigger implication, which the rest of the world should note well, is that the general course of American foreign policy is fairly stable and won't be soon toppled -- not even by Howard Dean.

In other words, Matilda, as I have oft remarked, it ain't gonna make no difference who sits in the Oval Office in 2005 (unless maybe it's this short cat from Cleveland) - there's a new world odor (no Bob Manis spell check required, thank you).

My fellow Kucinich supporter, Mike at LEFT Is RIGHT is pretty fed up these days. In this post, he calls us to the ramparts. Excerpts:

As Left-is-Right has been saying for a year now, there will be another catastrophic event right before the 2004 election, and Bush will get re-elected as a result of both catastrophe and the Democrat's inability to mount a cohesive opposition. The only course of action is to either accept our fate as dictated by the Neocons, or start a revolution. Nothing less will bring resolution to the rapidly deteriorating state of our nation.

Most readers refuse to accept such an extreme view, and that's understandable given our undying faith in humanity as taught in school, at church and in our homes during our childhood. Once you do accept the fact that we are entering a period of a power-hungry, elite class that is rapidly assuming control of government and business, revolution as the only course of survival makes a lot of sense. The Left so far has failed miserably at nurturing the acceptance of these facts, and time is running out . . .

Exactly what consequences has the Bush Administration paid for their behavior over the past three years? None. We are all standing around, praying that SOMEONE will get their act together, confront evil Bush, and save us all. It isn't gonna happen because the Neocons now hold all the aces.

The only way to upset the card table and throw out the cheaters is to revolt. At least think about it.

I also encourage you to read "Altruism is Out of Focus", an excellent analysis Mike posted earlier in the month.

V.I. Lenin once said, "The greatest enemy of the new radical is the old liberal." That's why I haven't joined the League.

Speaking of Kucinich, Mojo's November/December issue has a nice piece about him - "Little Big Man". By the way, let there be no mistake . . . the main reason I support Dennis is that I'm 56, short, thin, divorced, and don't have a chick in MY life either. The real shame is that I do eat meat, my suits fit, and I really don't wanna be President. So if any of you women who are considering Dennis want somebody not quite so obsessed . . .

Be at peace.