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The Howard Years: episode three « Previous | |Next »
December 2, 2008

I watched Episode Three of the ABC's The Howard Years last night. It was on 9/11 and it looked as if it was about another time, even though the events were very recent. Why another time?

Tony Karon writing in The National gives us a clue. He says that Washington’s dominance of the global financial system and the institutions that manage it, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is coming to an end, and this means that:

the US can no longer shape the global financial system on its own terms, and it will be forced adopt international standards anathema to the conventional wisdom of post-Reagan Washington if it wants to keep playing the global financial game on which its economy depends....And the erosion of the financial hegemony of the US will accelerate the decline of its geopolitical hegemony. a bailout that already looks likely to cost a lot more in the end than the Iraq war will prompt the US to begin wrapping up a military commitment that may already have achieved as much as it’s going to achieve politically. The Iraqi government has demanded that the US begin scaling down its involvement next year and be gone by the end of 2011. Given the dire state of the US economy, Washington may oblige
.
There ends the era of the Bush administration and the 9/11 scenario whose end game is Afghanistan. In Iraq everyone is in wait for ''the Americans to leave' mode and it will soon be a similar situation for NATO in Afghanistan.

If the business-friendly bailout Wall Street Bush administration has left not just its own projects, but the nation it ruled, in ruins, then the incoming Obama administration looks to be recycled Clintonism that endeavours to recapture the lost hegemony by muscle and leverage. Yet there has been a radical break with the "Washington Consensus" of the Clinton years in which the United States insisted that the rest of the world conform to its free market model of economic behavior.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:07 AM | | Comments (3)
Comments

Comments

The core of the Howard decade, like that of Blair and Bush, was Iraq. The failure of that invasion was marked by:

* the failure to find weapons of mass destruction (the reason for invading);
* the ensuing sectarian and terrorist chaos inflicted on its people; and,
* the American failure to live up to their own human rights standards in Abu Ghraib prison and in the Guantánamo Bay detention camp.

All three leaders were damaged by Iraq--Blair and Bush more than Howard.

All valid points, but I couldn't help noticing how so much of the reporting of the Mumbai affair was slanted towards the USA ... not only as in "What do they think?" but "What do they intend to do in response?" It's only now that a few people in the MSM are realising that India might actually be the prime mover in any response.

Tendencies to assume that America governs the globe are not limited to the USA but to satellites of the empire like Europe and Australia.

Regardless of the objective changes in power and resources, the mental model of a world in which The West looks to Washington for leadership will not be easy to change.

So when they pull out of Afghanistan, they will leave a huge area under opium cultivation next door to Russian mafia allies?