November 20, 2006 by lonbud
Dancing In The Dark
Amid the increasing dishabille of our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and no whiff from the Bush administration of a comprehensible strategy for dealing with the brouhaha fermenting of North Korea’s and Iran’s nuclear brinkmanship (not to mention India’s or Pakistan’s), our newly minted Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, Democrat from California’s 8th district (San Francisco), is about to introduce viewers at home, and those paying attention abroad, to a new perspective on the threats we face in the world today.
Andrew Leonard, in the always fascinating How The World Works gives an excellent introduction to the spectre cast over the near and medium term by the rising hegemon, Mainland China, and draws Ms. Pelosi out as perhaps our earliest and most dogged defender against what used to be called “The Red Menace.”
Or is it the Yellow Menace? I can’t keep ’em straight sometimes.
In the face of resurgent Taliban extremism and undimmed supply to the world opiate trade in Afghanistan, despite mounting chaos and the free flow of blood in Iraq, a vocal and persistent wail among devotees of the Chicago School and Ayn Rand demands the United States attack both Iran and North Korea before those remaining spokes on the Axis of Evil attain a capability to advance their aims with nuclear weaponry.
Seymore Hersh, in the November 27th, 2006 New Yorker, reports on a current CIA assessment that Iran is not, in fact, progressing with a secret program to develop nuclear arms, and that it would in any event be some years before it might develop internally the resources for doing so.
North Korea, who the hell knows? They’re all supposed to be starving, aren’t they?
Among time-honored aphorisms familiar to all Americans of a certain age, “better the devil you know than the devil you don’t” seems appropriate on a couple of levels.
We know that China is among the chief financiers of American prosperity these past fifteen years, and we know Chinese interests hold a mortgage on a rapidly increasing portion of our long-term debt. We know China’s expanding economy presents, along the forseeable arc of history, our most comprehensive challenge at the feed trough of world energy production.
We know they will work with us as long as it is in their interest: it’s a trait the Chinese have evinced most consistently throughout a 5000 year history of good times and bad. And because their interests are ever-expanding, we have many fronts on which to engage their aspirations.
In a happy coincidence, an effectively managed China policy might tend to have a calming effect on regional tensions in the Korean peninsula and Pakistan/Afghanistan, and it’s possible, with constructive engagement of China’s plans for surviving into the 22nd century and beyond, we could triangulate the world’s competing abilities and ideas into something that provides for the survival of the species.
Or, we could send another 40,000 youngsters to Iraq and ready the airforce for high altitude assaults on only the most strategic targets in Iran and North Korea. We could allocate another $150 Billion or so to secure what no less an authority than Henry Kissinger calls “impossible” in Iraq.
And we can continue down the aimless road George W. Bush has had this country on since the moment he took office.