Buying Time For History

Is the U.S. sliding into war with Iran? Sy Hersh may be right.

What most Oppositionists and certainly the ‘Left’ [sic] in the U.S. fail to understand is that the EU behind the scenes is on board. Rumblings from Brussels (not just Carla Bruni’s beau) are clearly hawkish. In fact, EU blatantly public worries are that the Crowned One ironically may undercut the UN like the Warlord – here, seeking to use personal charm for engagement while ignoring UN sanctions and other action.

Zbig’s weighing in on all this is getting stale. He needs to retire. His son is a lobbyist and law partner. His daughter is now a blondika version of J Fred Muggs to Scarborough. More importantly, Zbig’s argument that the Iranians sought the bomb *because* of the Warlord is simply specious. (Zbig is often an ass when he writes about things outside the Polish-Great Russian geopolitical corridor — his immature writings on Japan back on the day merely one example). The Iranian program according to most honest observers began to take shape during their war with Iraq.

Interestingly, while this unfolds, a leading Neocon, Jim Hoagland in the WaPo advocates a backhand strategy for Russia. He argues that the Russians are feeling American weakness and are pushing for the rollback of American power across the board. Hoagland is at least sober about in old Sov speak the relative ‘correlation of forces’ and how depleted American assets are under Cher Condi and the Warlord. Instead of the typical cant one expects from Neocons (and Hoagland) of standing firm, promoting democracy, freedom, Georgia in NATO, etc. Hoagland says something different. He offers that we should let the Russians push, until they exhaust themselves. Then he envisions a new equillibrium of punched out American and Russian visions — sobered and weakened. Very much like Manstein at Kharkov in 1943 (hence the back hand label) — although as we all know, ‘that whole thing didn’t end so good’ as the kidz say.

Is Tehran vaut bien un Conférence sur la sécurité en Europe on Russian terms? Would it even buy Tehran? We think not. Yet, oddly, this notion of talking as a strategy — or even accomodating to a rollback — is not too far from what is emerging from the Crowned One’s camp as the framing architecture of his world view and policy.

One must ask therefore if the Crowned One and his retinue understand Power. Sentiments are fine. Lofty rhetoric is a nimbus and neither here nor there. He holds a bad hand thanks to the Warlord et al. But the world is still anarchical and Power still determines how international law, international institutions and international discourse function. How will he achieve U.S. goals balancing the UN, Brussels, Moscow and Beijing with Tehran? If Zbig and the crowd we know tossing themselves at at future Administration are any clue, we truly fear a calamitous Kennedy – Khruschev summit in Vienna. With all the potentially catastrophic misjudgments that ensued. And that is merely one small example of the larger question: what is Obama’s principle about the purpose and role of American power in the world?

That question of course cuts both ways. Domestically, forget for a moment whether he wears a flag pin, ‘she rocks’ or if he says love of America (Amerikuh?) is a given. He has yet to explain and demonstrate to the American voter his vision in practical terms. Similarly, abroad, it is not enough simply to say he will reverse the Warlord’s policies. Across the globe, everyone is asking the same question: does the Crowned One understand how to use and impose Power? Many of those flocking to the banner of Change for appointments do not, in our opinion. Talk as a strategy for buying temporal space can make sense — engagement — if part of a coherent framework that is strategic and furthers both American interests and power (not necessarily identical). Even provocations domestic and foreign (read recent choreographed exercises) can actually be used as tools to make engagement appealing. Nimble opportunism can be a plus if the goal does not get lost. But in the end, it is all about understanding the application of Power. We do not mean the Warlord’s ultimately nihilistic (behind the facade) machtpolitik. The Crowned One’s position is unenviable. So much frittered away thoughtlessly the last 8 years.

We just wonder.