Friday, February 11, 2005

Emotional physics 

My Bhalg posts about Gwyne Dyer's new book, so I decided to look up his recent columns. What a great writer he is. The latest column on his website is Jan 17, when he writes about . the chances that the US will invade Iran. Here is how he ends it:
"Edward Luttwak, the military historian and strategic analyst who is renowned in Washington for his maverick views, recently described US foreign policy post-9/11 almost as an exercise in emotional physics. Never mind all the elaborate strategic plans and projects of the neo-conservatives, he implied; what really drives all this is just push-back. After 9/11, there was an enormous need in the US to do something big, to smash stuff up and punish people for the hurt that had been done to Americans. Afghanistan was a logical and legitimate target of that anger, but it fell practically without a fight and left the national need for
vengeance unassuaged. The invasion of Iraq was an emotional necessity if the rage was to be discharged, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and posed no threat to the United States. In this interpretation, all the talk about attacking Iran is the last wave of this emotional binge running feebly up the beach, and it is unlikely to sweep everything away. The talk is still macho, but the performance is not there to back it up. What the US public gets for all the taxes it pays on defence -- currently around $2,000 a year for every American man, woman and child -- is armed forces that are barely capable of holding down one middle-sized Arab country. There simply aren't any American troops available to invade Iran, and air strikes will only annoy them. What would really tip the whole area into an acute crisis is a re-radicalised Iran that has concluded that it will never be secure until it has expelled the United States from the region."
On Hardball tonight, the retired generals were talking about the US being in Iraq for another three years. I wonder how long Iran will be willing to wait?

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