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"...public opinion deserves to be respected as well as despised" G.W.F. Hegel, 'Philosophy of Right'

The White House dreams on « Previous | |Next »
March 21, 2006

I read that Ayad Allawi, the former US-backed Iraqi prime minister, has declared his country to be in the thick of a civil war that could soon "reach the point of no return". In contrast the White House is saying that it is encouraged by progress on forming a unity government in Iraq and that the insurgency in its "last throes". The optimism is duly echoed in Canberra as expected. But who is listening?

Steve Sack

The judgement increasingly is: 'Wrong war. Wrong strategy. Wrong president. Just plain wrong.' President Bush just wants to use the military strength of the US to go around whacking people. Well, Bush and Howard have managed to turned Iraq into a living hell all on their own.The events of the last three years lead to this conclusion: Iraq is a fiasco; George W. Bush is a failed leader and John Howard is subservient to the US.

It's failure written in capital letters. The prospect of an American defeat on the ground is a real possibility. More seriously though the Bush foreign policy logic is plain flawed.

This flaw raises questions about the viability of the US's long-held geostrategic dominance in the oil-rich Middle East. Afghanistan looks shaky and Pakistan very wobbly.

President Bush's position in his 2006 State of Union speech is this:

"Dictatorships shelter terrorists, and feed resentment and radicalism, and seek weapons of mass destruction. Democracies replace resentment with hope, respect the rights of their citizens and their neighbors, and join the fight against terror. Every step toward freedom in the world makes our country safer--so we will act boldly in freedom's cause."

He gets a big applause in Congress for the rhetoric. It is assumed that s democracy also improve U.S. security --as democracy grows in the Arab world, the thinking goes, the region will stop generating anti-American terrorism. It evokes the image of a totalitarian menace that could plunge the world into a century of violence every bit as hellish as the 20th century was.
So how come Hamas? How come the Shiites, who are sympathetic to Iran, will form the Iraqi government? That's what democracy means in the Middle East. Thsi indicates that democratization produces victories for Islamist political groups, because they are the best organized and most popular political movements in the region.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:23 AM | | Comments (7)


An exciting book to recommend to you: China's global reach: markets, multinationals, and globalization, by a very famous Chinese thinker george zhibin gu. The book has huge cutting-edge ideas on so many hot global issues. I was really happy to run into it.

The White House is in denial.Iran has 68 million people with 18 million in their army and reserves.I suspect it won't be a "pushover" like Iraq

yeah that is why any military action will be in the form of airpower. Probably by Israel with US backing is what people are saying.

I see that George Zhibin Gu argues against the resurgence of the cold mentality--so noticeble with Iran--- in favour of the interconnectness of the global market. He says:

China's emergence shows a greatest convergence of civilizations. In today’s world, sharing is more important than war, cold or hot. Today, the world is more economically connected. But world politics lags behind. The cold war ideology is much alive still. It continues to block the road leading for more global sharing and commonwealth as well as joint responsibilities.

Good point.

Gary, Gu is right about the Cold War Warriors, their use by date has come and gone. I think we are going to have to go through a realignment of our civics to greater decentralisation to combat the negative aspects of globalisation such as terrorism and non-state actors that can rival states for power.

sure the Cold War is over and well and truely finishedm and the US stands alone as an imperial power now confronted by international terrorists with a fundamentalist Islamic perspective.

We still have the same cold war mentality---communism has been swapped for terrorism by the Republican Right; the same bogey creation taking place in the Middle East; and the same emphasis on military might to back up the geo-political strategy of containnment of any challenge to US hegemony, whether that be Iran or China.

It is not just about neo-liberalism, markets and global economic flows doing away with national sovereignty. That is the mistake Hardt and Negri make--they miss the national security state because of their infatuation with global economic flows.

Gary, It is ironic as the cold war was an economic one that pitted democracy and capitalism against communism and central planning. The decentralised technologies were far better at providing prosperity for its people. Yet the cold war warriors mistook the head-butting of nation-states as an indication that centralism was the winner. So we get a centralist's response both internationally and domestically. Internationally with the invasion of Iraq and domestically with the national security state. I suspect the only way we will contain ongoing terrorism is to decentralise our structures (civics) to the point that they are self-contained and probably with overlapping sovereignty.