November 24, 2002
LOOSEN THE TIN FOIL, ANATOL:
The Push for War: what the US Administration hopes to gain
(Anatol Lieven, 3 October 2002, London Review of Books)
The most surprising thing about the Bush Administration's plan to invade Iraq is not that it is destructive of international order; or wicked, when we consider the role the US (and Britain) have played, and continue to play, in the Middle East; or opposed by the great majority of the international community; or seemingly contrary to some of the basic needs of the war against terrorism. It is all of these things, but they are of no great concern to the hardline nationalists in the Administration. This group has suffered at least a temporary check as a result of the British insistence on UN involvement, and Saddam Hussein's agreement to weapons inspections. They are, however, still determined on war - and their power within the Administration and in the US security policy world means that they are very likely to get their way. Even the Washington Post has joined the radical rightist media in supporting war.
The most surprising thing about the push for war is that it is so profoundly reckless. If I had to put money on it, I'd say that the odds on quick success in destroying the Iraqi regime may be as high as 5/1 or more, given US military superiority, the vile nature of Saddam Hussein's rule, the unreliability of Baghdad's missiles, and the deep divisions in the Arab world. But at first sight, the longer-term gains for the US look pretty limited, whereas the consequences of failure would be catastrophic. A general Middle Eastern conflagration and the collapse of more pro-Western Arab states would lose us the war against terrorism, doom untold thousands of Western civilians to death in coming decades, and plunge the world economy into depression.
These risks are not only to American (and British) lives and interests, but to the political future of the Administration. If the war goes badly wrong, it will be more generally excoriated than any within living memory, and its members will be finished politically - finished for good. If no other fear moved these people, you'd have thought this one would.
This essay just gets nuttier and nuttier as it goes along. It never ceases to amaze me that the Euros think they're sophisticated and wordly-wise while we're ignorant rubes.
Posted by Orrin Judd at November 24, 2002 6:43 PM
"If no other fear moved these people, you'd have thought this one would."
In that very statement, would you not expect someone not blinded by ideology and utter conviction that their worldview is simply the correct one and that is that, might you not expect them at some point to say... "Hmmm, could I be missing something here?"
But no. Bush warmonger. It all makes no sense, but he's doing it anyway because.... um..... Bush warmonger. Gosh, I'm smart.
Spare us Anatol.
It is no longer worthy of comment when one
trips across an appeaser, drunk on moral
outrage, senseless in the gutter.
The problem is, the chastisement that might
have corrected the behavior of the Moslems
if done early has now been put off and put
off. When done, it's impact will be comparatively
The auhor did point out to me my geo-political ignorance - I was completely unaware that there were pro-Western Arab regimes
! I thought it was just kinda sorta somedays Jordan.
It's hard to believe that the author is an associate with the Carnegie Endowment.
Consider his belief that the Israeli lobby secretly controls US policy: "As far as the Israeli lobby is concerned, a disaster in the Middle East might be the one thing that would at last bring a discussion of its calamitous role into the open in the US."
Except of course when oil is concered: "For the group around Cheney, the single most important consideration is guaranteed and unrestricted access to cheap oil, controlled as far as possible at its source."
Consider his infatuation with energy sources besides fossil fuels: "[Occupying Iraq] would also critically undermine the steps already taken towards the development of alternative sources of energy. So far, these have been pitifully few."
Consider his snobby view of middle class America: "Despite the real class identity and cultural interests of the Republican elite, they seem able to convince many workers that they are natural allies against the culturally alien and supercilious 'East Coast elites' represented as supporting Gore."
Or even worse: "...the great majority of the American people are not nearly as militarist, imperialist or aggressive as their German equivalents in 1914; but most German people in 1914 would at least have been able to find France on a map."
He also implies that most Americans are racist hicks. Any lazy left-wing British journalist could have produced this abortion; I expected better from the Carnegie Endowment.
Why? I believe that Carnegie's Korea specialist used to be Selig Harrison. This is the same guy who recently wrote several pieces arguing that North Korea's uranium project, because it was not SPECIFICALLY banned under the '94 Framework Agreement, was somehow therefore not a violation.
Never mind that the '94 Agreement specifically reaffirmed the '92 North-South agreement, where Pyongyang and Seoul each pledged not to develop ANY nuclear weapons infrastructure, and the NPT, which meant North Korea was supposed to declare this facility.
No, Carnegie has more than its share of appeasement-addicts.