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August 20, 2009

The Impetus of History

Democracy, advancing through the ages:

Sacre bleu! Was The Shrub right after all?

Though advanced as a new doctrine, the regime-change prescription follows well-established precedent. It was the impetus behind the religious wars of the 17th century, the wars of the French Revolution in the 18th and early 19th centuries, the Holy Alliance, the Trotskyite version of Communism, and the contemporary Muslim jihad. Realists judge policy by the ability to persevere in the pursuit of an objective in stages, each of which is imperfect by absolute standards but would not be attempted in the absence of absolute values.

American exceptionalism, viewing itself as a shining city on the hill, has always insisted on representing universal values beyond the traditional dictates of national interest.

In a world of jihad, terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, President Bush in his second inaugural address put forward a challenge at once going beyond the interests of any one country and that different societies could embrace without prejudice to their own interests.

He elaborated that the United States seeks progress toward freedom, not its ultimate achievement in a defined time, and that it recognizes the historical evolution that must be the foundation of any successful process. On this basis, realists and idealists should go forward together.

Or as John Lewis Gaddis so trenchantly remarked:

... to put it in terms my friend and neighbor Paul Kennedy – a former bookie’s runner – would be familiar with: if you had to place a bet on which form of government will expand its reach over the next four years – or, if you prefer, the next forty – where would you put your money: on the growth of tyranny, or on its further decline?

The test of a good grand strategy is to align itself with trends already underway, so that you minimize, as much as possible, what Clausewitz called “friction.” My bet is that we’ll encounter more friction from now on if we support tyrants than if we resist them. So it does seem to me that the Bush administration has placed its bet in the right place.

And then there's where we seem to be headed now.

A majority of Americans now see the war in Afghanistan as not worth fighting, and just a quarter say more U.S. troops should be sent to the country, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Most have confidence in the ability of the United States to meet its primary goals of defeating the Taliban, facilitating economic development, and molding an honest and effective Afghan government, but few say Thursday's elections there are likely to produce such a government.

Cue the inevitable chorus of anti-war zealots screeching that the President has failed to rally the American people and make the case for our continued involvement.

Oh. My bad. For a moment there I forgot who was in the Oval Office.

Funny... Afghanistan was supposed the be the "Good War" - the one that mattered.

How soon we forget.

Posted by Cassandra at August 20, 2009 07:55 AM

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It would appear that the Hope-n-Change Administration has changed back to the expedient accommodation of tyrants strategy of the 1950's and 60's. For different reasons and goals? Undoubtedly. Witness the chumminess of the B.O. with Hugo Chavez, Manuel Zelaya, Daniel Ortega, et al. Or the 2009 US Apologizes World Tour. And who could forget the POTUS bowing before King Abdullah, etc., etc., etc.

I suppose that I could mention the emboldened Russian, Chinese, and Iranian presence in Latin America if I wanted to try to tie their behavior to the efforts and actions of our pectoral flaunting POTUS. Sincere efforts to win favor if not love from the world by showing that he’s just one of em. *sigh*

And that's just in our sphere of influence... Quaint term that, Sphere of Influence.

Posted by: bt_VRWC-freedom-fighter_hun at August 20, 2009 11:54 AM

Sincere efforts to win favor if not love from the world by showing that he’s just one of em.

I doubt that he's got a sincere brain cell in his entire cerebellum.

Posted by: BillT at August 20, 2009 12:31 PM

To the degree he is "one of them," he isn't "one of us." I gather he has never understood that.

Posted by: Grim at August 20, 2009 02:15 PM

I'm thinking that map was a little too generous with some parts of South America and Sub-saharan Africa.

And, if you were a Kossack, the US only went blue after January this year. Before that it was a theocratic dictatorship.

Posted by: NRA-ILA card carrying Neanderthal at August 20, 2009 04:06 PM

While I do like the Maps of War site, perhaps the definition of "democracy" is quite flexible (citizens or property owners or men only). One could say the first true democracy started in the US in 1920 with the 19th ammendment. Most older "democratic" regimes also included slavery. So, perhaps democracy is less than 100 years old; now, whether it is the "best" form of government (vs a representative republic or even oligarchy) is another matter.

Posted by: WhoCanVote at August 20, 2009 08:32 PM

America was used by God to free tens of millions of people in the last 100 years. They may not all be appreciative, but I'm reminded by the video that the kids are probably different.

Sadly, the American military may have more friends in Iraq and Afghanistan than in some parts of their own country. However, a whole generation of kids in those two countries love America because hey love its soldiers. These young men have done more to advance diplomacy than all the State Department people who often forget who they are.

I have an album on my computer photo library "GI's and the Kids." The best of the bunch is Michael Yon's photo of the Army Major carrying the wounded Iraqi child. Anyone who can't watch these photos and be moved is dead and refuses to lie down.

Posted by: conagher at August 21, 2009 03:48 PM