September 6, 2011

SENILITY OR DESIGN?:

Q&A: Edward Luttwak: The military strategist talks about Israeli security, Henry Kissinger, the Arab Spring, and the death of Osama Bin Laden (David Samuels, September 6, 2011, Tablet)

I think that if America had been able to tolerate a second Henry Kissinger, that person would have been you.

Kissinger at 88 is writing brochures for Kissinger Associates. His last book on China is one such work written by the staff at Kissinger Associates. It is designed to curry favor with the Chinese authorities and nothing else.

I know him personally very well, but he is such a deceptive person; he's a habitual liar and dissembler. Although I've spent a lot of time talking to him, I have no insight on him at all. His book ends with a paean to U.S.-Chinese friendship and how every other country has to fit in. I have to review it for the TLS but I've been delaying it by weeks because I don't know whether it is a case of senility or utter corruption. [...]

How much of a role do you think the so-called "democracy promotion" efforts of the United States under President George W. Bush, including the invasion of Iraq, played in the increasing instability of the Arab regimes, and how much of their collapse was the result of their own senility?

I will pretend that this is an easy question; it's not. The easy answer is that Bush and the Bush Administration for a brief period of less than two years were on a democracy-promotion binge. They used a pickax and attacked a wall, seemingly making an impression, and perhaps they caused some structural damage. The Iraq War, with the defeat, humbling, and execution of a dictator, was a big blow with a pickax. On the other hand, when the regime becomes sufficiently involuted as to become hereditary, which is what happened in Syria and appeared to be happening in Egypt, then you are dealing with senility of the regime embodied: "the dictator is old." So both answers are true.


Posted by at September 6, 2011 6:49 AM
  

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