See a pattern?
• Hezbollah kidnaps Israeli soldiers, provoking a deadly month of attacks by Israel, lets fly hundreds of its own missiles, and comes out as a stronger force – no, heros – in southern Lebanon.
• Iran rejects international pressure and oversight, saying that they need nuclear power and will pursue it in their own way, on their own terms. Ignoring familiar-sounding war-drums pounding in Washington – saying Iran has the intent to build a nuclear bomb, which they deny, and who is going to believe the “intelligence” on that one? – Iran does what it wants, and the regime gains support of its skeptical people.
• In Iraq, more brave Americans are killed and maimed every day, in the name of stability and the ancient lie of cleansing regime change. Iraqi gangs and sectarian thugs roll in any part of the country they want, targeting the U.S. troops that duck out of their safe areas and terrorizing the countryside with impunity.
• This week, North Korea conducts – or pretends to conduct – an underground test of a nuclear bomb – becoming only the 8th or 9th nation to do so – ever. The Kim regime seems unconcerned with international outrage. The test is a victory for the people, an advancement of the revolution, etc.
Of all the people that mean harm to the U.S. and others and are intent on wreaking havoc in the world, who of them would even care what we thought at this point? We are not engaged with anyone. The Bush Doctrine has been: we get to do what we want, any time we want. Everyone else in the world has taken that up, and raised us, in spades. The Bush Doctrine is: we are all on our own. And, indeed, we are.
Before the radical Bush revolution, it was always the goal of American foreign policy to try to control small, pipsqueak states and large obnoxious ones; not to eliminate them. For 200-some years, the U.S. has always done that, more or less, with carrots and sticks. It has always been the case that international punks would eventually moderate their behavior if they thought they might get just a little bit of trade from the giant U.S. market or if they just thought the Americans would at least acknowledge their existence and give them some value.
When the Bushies took over in 2001, they had an agenda of radical change in foreign policy. No more would be play footsie with the world’s bad guys, real or imagined. Those who were not with us were against us. Those questioning were disloyal. Our friends would have to either let us dictate all issues and all solutions to them, or they were shown the door. The fact that we were left with Great Britain and Australia meant nothing to the Bushies. White guys rule; everyone else can pound sand.
It is said that September 11th changed everything, but it only made the Bushies’ megalomania worse. Instead of using the tragedy as a rallying point for world understanding, terror-fighting and peace – as Clinton would have done and as anyone else would have at least tried – the Bushies rubbed their hands with glee and saw nothing but new opportunity for total world domination. Iraq was always on their radar for invasion – it was just a matter of timing. Bush ticked off the targets in his 2002 State of the Union: Iraq, Iran and North Korea. The Axis of Evil.
We refused to talk with “evil”; I mean, who would? Evil is to be fought, shunned, called by its name, isolated. Even a chronically agnostic guy like me (don’t know, don’t care) knows there is no point in talking to Evil. Once Bush locked into “evil-doer” language, we were in a self- constructed box. Imagine a news story that Condi Rice was going to initiate a discussion with Iran. Discussions with Evil? Why would she do that?
We can expect a lot more of this type of belligerent behavior. The so-called renegade nations like North Korea know that our military is decimated by the nightmare in Iraq. They hear the Bushies bullshit-and-bluster about sanctions and repercussions and they sit back and laugh. They are calling our bluff because they know we have nothing.
And we don’t.