Sunday, November 04, 2007

Best Lead of the Month

'Nothing in the field of international affairs is as scandalous and as perplexing as the fact of American power. From Revolutionary times to the present, virtually all observers foreign and domestic have agreed that Americans don't do foreign policy well. Moralistic, uninformed, unsubtle, alternately isolationist and hyperactive, hamstrung by a clumsy constitutional process and a public that oscillates between fatuous idealism and ignorant bellicosity, U.S. foreign policy has been shocking the world for more than 200 years.'
From a magisterial overview of George Bush's bumbling approach to world affairs, published in The New Republic by historian Walter Russell Mead. It's an extremely thoughtful, beautifully written account, which cleverly uses artwork blending Bush's features into that of Mr. Magoo, the half-blind cartoon character who somehow always seems to narrowly avoid disaster.


At 8:43 PM, Anonymous Mr. Bluster said...

Thanks for this link.

At 9:51 AM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

Only too happy to oblige. It really is a masterful article.

At 1:47 PM, Anonymous Roldo Bartimole said...

In this piece he noted all the mistakes this nation has made
through its history and how miraculously America has somehow survived and even benefited. In doing so he seemed to be positive about the future despite our present situation, exacerbated by our president.

Luck, it seems to me, can't last forever. It may be running out for the U.S. I don't believe you can continue to cause destruction around the world and not expect reaction. One looks at our response, fueled by the neocons, to 9/11. The result: two devastating wars ravaging two nations,Afghanistan and Iraq. This because a handful of terrorists were successful in an almost unbelievable attack on the Twin Towers. This overreaction has
caused countless deaths and unbelievable costs.

We have never suffered the devastation of a foreign attack with modern weaponry. I would think that we may have that experience if we continue as
we do. It may not come for another half century but our grandchildren could see such an outcome of thoughtless policies that depend on factors elsewhere to save us. With nuclear weapons spreading, it could be devastating. 9/11
has already caused two wars, and a possible third in Iran.

At first reading, Mead's article was hopeful but unfortunately seems to say we can continue our thoughtless and uncaring ways because we're lucky.

At 1:53 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I had some of the same reaction to it, wondering how long we could simply trust that our luck holds. But I think he's also saying that our deeper underlying cultural traditions of relative cultural openess, relative comfort with change, etc., are the real reasons why we're able to continue to lead and influence the world, despite disastrous presidential leadership. And I'd have to agree with that.

At 2:48 PM, Anonymous Mr. Bluster said...

I share Mr. Bartimole's skepticism about how long the U.S. can lead a charmed existence. When you push the stupidity envelope as Bush and company have, it would be counterintuitive to assume that a tectonic power shift among nations isn't coming. Here is Giuliani positioned to be, if possible, even more aggressively stupid and bellicose than Bush has been.

At 2:55 PM, Blogger John Ettorre said...

I completely agree with you that idiot Rudy, if somehow elected president (god save us), might well make the George Bush years look good by comparison. He is a complete nut job, and how he can be considered a serious presidential candidate is simply beyond me. It may be the best example yet of the intellectual bankruptcy of the Republican party.


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