Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Bush Doctrine: Weakness Through Strength

Over at American Nihilist, I wrote a great post explaining what really happened regarding the commando strike of Al Qaeda operative Saleh Ali Nabhan. I suggest you read it. But at Carpetbagger's I saw a comment regarding this and other anti-terror incidents, in which Carpetbagger was being taken to task for not writing a post complaining about this "continuation of Bush foreign policy under Obama."

And this is just insane. Bush didn't invent anti-terror operations, nor was he the originator of our pro-active international strength. After all, Clinton sent missiles after Osama a few times, regularly shot missiles at Iraq, and even bombed the hell out of a certain balkanized portion of Europe. In fact, I seriously doubt there's a president in modern history who hadn't taken a strong hand in other countries.

Even the great JFK took us deeper into "Indochina" for a craptacular quagmire that hurt us for decades, and that's not to mention all the screwing around we did by installing America-friendly dictators who eventually dragged our name through the mud with brutality. No, by historical standards, a few commando raids and drone assassinations are pansy-assed child's play.

The Bitch Doctrine

And of course, the real Bush legacy wasn't strong military actions against individual bad guys. That's to be expected, and as long as we have the permission of the country these guys happen to be in, there's not a problem. And that's the real issue: The Bush Doctrine involved us screwing around with other countries, and that's the problem. It was about acting like a big bully and bluffing everyone into obeying us.

But of course, that was the biggest bluff of them all, as we only bullied a small handful of countries while bribing everyone else. The empty posturing was just done for domestic purposes, while the rest of the world laughed at us. Republicans could pretend to be STRONG for American audiences, but we were never able to export the rhetoric.

And because we totally telegraphed our intentions to everyone, we were stuck in the horrible position of having to cajole everyone else to join in. And so the so-called Coalition of the Willing was a horrid joke, as we gave up the store in exchange for a minimal force and a name to add to the list. As far as negotiations go, we got reamed. The neo-cons believed that everyone else would want to join in for the plunder, and ended up paying premium for every little bit we could get. It was a disaster.

And that was what the Bush Doctrine was all about. Pretending to act like a bully while getting horrible results. We invade Afghanistan to get Al Qaeda from the Taliban, then act like Pakistan's bitch while they protect the very people we were trying to get. We invade Iraq based upon intel provided by Iran, and topple our enemy's arch-enemy. And so we ended up doing everything backwards. By acting like bullying badasses, we lost power.

Why Neo-Cons Suck

The Neo-Conservative theory of power was completely repudiated, not because they underestimated the needs of fighting Iraq, but because the theory was moronic and antiquated. That's the ultimate irony of WWI and WWII: The modern global culture that allows world wars completely negates military power. National boundaries are now little more than out-dated fantasies, which only apply to those without enough power to overcome them. A Mexican corporation has a much better chance of making money here than a Mexican citizen does.

And getting back to the point: It's obvious that while Obama is engaging in some of the same activities Bush did, he's doing the right ones. There's nothing wrong with targeting individual bad guys and if a drone plane can kill a murderer who can't easily be stopped otherwise, great. I support that. And in no case are we limited to only killing terrorists if they happen to be in our country. That's stupid.

Overall, as long as we're not adopting phony bully postures which end up weakening us, then we're not following the Bush plan. Because that was the main problem with the so-called Bush Doctrine. If it worked, I would have supported it, as I'm a pragmatist who believes that you go with what works. But it didn't work. It was dumb. It lost us power, so I was against it. And I'm confident that Obama feels the same way.

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