Saturday, August 16, 2008

Smaller stick 

Digby on the defeat of America in the Russia-Georgia War:
. . . most people over the age of nine learn that issuing a bunch of threats and failing to carry them through --- or following through and failing to succeed --- is a recipe for people to stop taking you seriously. Bush and Cheney (and now McCain) have made a fetish out of sabre rattling for the past eight years and the results have been, shall we say, less than stellar. The US has shown that its volunteer military, while valiant, is undermanned and overstretched, its intelligence services are willing servants of political manipulators and its leadership is dishonest, immoral and incompetent. It's understandable that somebody out there would think that now is the time to make a move.
The nine-year-old analogy is apt.
Looking back at the past two decades, its clear that both Bush 1 and Clinton knew that America's stick wasn't actually as big or as utilitarian as the American voters believed. They could never say this to the American public, but their power was based on a nuclear arsenal they couldn't actually use and a military which could win tough wars but had neither the expertise nor the political will for oppressive occupations.
The neocons and the Pentagon, on the other hand, actually believed all the hype about how America could do anything it wanted. In the end, against both the new "enemy" in the Middle East, and the old "enemy" in Russia, the neocon overreach has resulted in the rest of the world not taking America seriously anymore.
I hope they don't nuke somebody just to get even.

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