Notes on Political Venality, Pomposity and Associated Stupidity.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

"We're Only Arrogant Because We're Right!"

It's been said before, but it probably can't be said enough; the United States can't "go it alone" in the world. Though many in this country apparently think we are some sort of undefeatable fortress and that our much-vaunted military bravado will carry the day , it just ain't so, Joe. We need friends around the world. Though we were the swing factor in WWII, it was the entire ALLIED FORCE that was able to defeat Germany, Japan and Italy. Got that. Allies. Friends. People who help out each other, particularly when the going gets rough.

Despite this fact (and it is a fact) the current administration continues its hard-headed, blinders-on approach to world diplomacy. Hear me now. I'm not saying you have to be a wimp and let other nations have whatever they want. We all know that's not the answer, either. But what you have to do is show the world that we, as a nation, have both the moral and the military chops. Right now, both are questionable.

One thing I like to do is to put myself in another man's a way of getting outside the U.S. nexus of news and thought. Imagine along with me...

For a moment, you're sitting at a cafe somewhere in Europe. The particular nation isn't important. You pick up a newspaper, maybe the International Herald Tribune, and you read that the President of the United States wants to make Alberto Gonzales the chief law enforcement officer in that great democracy. You pause for a moment before making the connection. Ah, yes. Gonzales. The guy who said it was more or less okay to suspend the Geneva Convention's rules on torture and play fast and loose with prisoners.

One more thing. Imagine that you're sitting at a coffee shop in the U. S. and you read that Chirac was going to appoint a man with similar bona fides to an important post in France....

You get my point.

We have to realize that the oft-mentioned slippery slope is well beyond that now, it is sloppy with mud and a constant deluge of ethically abhorent rain. The current administration has managed to "re-brand" the United States of America in four short years. It's quite a marketing coup! In the new global economy, when we need friends and allies more than ever, America has managed to become known as an ideaological intolerant gradeschool bully. For many millions of people around the world, the message they get is this, when you boil it all down; The US is right. You are wrong. And if you don't like it, we'll punch your face in, buddy!

The question that hovers above all this, of course, is how long it will take a post-Bush administration to turn this back around. Even though policies can change and more subtle diplomacy can be reasserted, we have to remember that people have long memories. What Bush is doing right now will have long-term, historic repurcussions. It will change the way the United States goes forward from here on out.