Friday, October 9, 2009

"Taming American Power"

Taming American Power.

Who in their right mind would want that?

Well, aside from assorted despotries, intolerant, unfree, unfun and several nigh unhinged regimes - that particularly wicked uncool predatory desire actually belongs in the box set of Mad Political Scientists.

The Cult of Irrelevance to be exact. Chock full of alledged brainiacs, wishful, lazy theorists and at the top of the list is the infamous Great and Little Satan hating Dr Stephen M Walt.

Probably the 4th best apologist ( Dr Fred Kaplan is still the king and cats like Greg Scoblete and Kevin Sullivan at The Compass are #'s 2 and 3 for those who collect such intell) for the ammoral, corrupt Cult of Stability (which funnily enough never really delivered on stability, peace or security - unlike tons of genocide, wars, terrorism and oil embargoes) Realpolitik's Americanized cuz Realism has unleashed a how to philosophical guide for binding Great Satan so tight -- she can't even blink.

"Taming American Power" kicks off with a tour d' Force -- by virtually any measure of human endeavors, Great Satan "...enjoys an asymmetry of power unseen since the emergence of the modern state system."

Dr Walt attributes geography, hot diplomatic escapades and pure luck for the unique sitch Great Satan is all up in - uniquely powerful - the only one of her kind!

Starting with the end of the Cold War (a more better analysis of earlier developments such as the Spanish-American War might have sexed up further insightful insights) Dr Walt trips through the development in the growth of Great Satan's influ and primacy.

Then sets out to analyze the difference in perception Great Satan has of herself and that other states have of her.

In the crunk and disorderly abstract -- Americans and their political leaders are quite often ignorant of the fact that their country is not well liked in other parts of the world.

Worse than that: On a regular basis, they simply do not care about other states' opinions!

Oh Snap!!

So what? Who cares about what slave trading, Palestinian abusing Syria thinks about Great Satan's lack of interest in re estabbing the old Kuryat al Suriya?

Various tactical and strategic designs frienemies and enemies indulge in against Great Satan are:

Balancing -- "soft balancing" with other states or "internal balancing" on their own.


Balking (foot-dragging), binding (using norms and institutions), blackmail (threatening to take some undesirable action unless Great Satan offers compensation), and delegitimation (portraying Great Satan as morally bankrupt) are the various means that states put to use, very often in combination with each other and during different time periods.

Although theses categories have large explanative value per se, it is however not quite clear whether they really cover the entire spectrum of political action. For example, a state could just refuse to hear what all Great Satan has to say, thereby falling under none of the above categories.

"Taming American Power" lays out an argument against political pressure groups and ethnic lobbyist movements - in itself not necessarily a new argument. Yet although he also talks about the Indian and Armenian lobby groups, his main targets are different Little Satan Posse allies like Great And Little Satan Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), and the Little Satan Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA).

He blames them for having undue influ and for pursuing a national interest that is "national" only in Little Satan's, not Great Satan's terms. Yet that sad argument about the "power of the weak" chimes in kinda weak and barely thinly thonged and thnily veiled by devoting very few pages to the Indian lobby, Armenian or even the way more influential Oil, Arabic and OPECish lobbies.

The counter to that of course is, well, OMG! BFD!

Great Satan always has an affinity for sister democrazies - like SoKo, Taiwan, Nippon, Georgia and of course -- Little Satan. Nothing really magic about it -- tolerant, egalitarian societies with off the chart literacy rates, periodic, transparent elections, a free/uncensored press, a judiciary under elected Gov oversight, a military under civie control and a nat'l treasury open to public scrutiny is a very cool reflection of Great Satan and everything she stands for.

The realist flaw in Dr Walt's Taming American Power ointment is the analysis is extremely state-centered. It is perfectly cool to view states as principal actors in internat'l relations, but even the most depraved realists will have to acknowledge that Great Satan and the League of Hot! Democrazies will increasingly have to deal with creepy non-state actor outers such as al-Qaeda, Hiz'B'Allah etc in the future.

Any school of thought that has the balance of power as its foundational principle is ill-equipped to understand a world in which the primary security threat is from transnat'l, religiously-inspired terrorist groups.

For Great Satan or any other country to base a foreign policy on the assumption that al Qaeda will respond to carrots and sticks in the same manner as states would be, well -- decorum prohibits a common expression - but dangerous, illogical and stupid work too.

Many more states are threatened by al Qaeda and/or al Qaeda-inspired terrorism than by aggression from another state. Given the nature of the threat and the unmatched strength of Great Satan's military, balance of power theory, if it is to have any validity in the current era, to tame American Power, to bind her from acting out would be disasterous.

Most disturbing - "Taming American Power" displays only a superficial understanding of the nature of the threat from terrorism. No mention of Caliphaters' long-term strategy of re-establishing the Caliphate and no evidence of having read Sayyid Qutb and other Imperial Mohammedist authors.

Accordingly, he mistakes their tactics for their strategy. Not surprisingly, then, "Taming" policy recommendations are ill-conceived and, would facilitate rather than undermine enemy ability to achieve their 8th century time travelling objectives.

Essentially, Great Satan and her naughty hottie proxy Little Satan have dang near queered the mix so bad the only hope for stability any where on earth would be for Great Satan to dismantle Little Satan's hard won turf sweetly picked up by winning desperate counter attacks during 2 different wars.

"If the United States wants to win..., it must find a way to reverse the steady deterioration of its standing in this critical part of the world . . . the United States should use its considerable leverage to bring the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to an end, [which includes pressuring Israel] to withdraw from virtually all territories it occupied in June 1967, in return for full peace. If Israel remains unwilling to grant the Palestinians a viable state . . . the United States should end its economic and military support . . . "


YAWN.

Must.

Stay.

Awake.

The real counter to such mindless, appeasement giganteus thought is prob the condensed version of Dr Michael Mandalbaum's essentially essential "The Case For Goliath"

Every threat to internat’l order after the Cold War involved a government that fell short of Western and economic standards.

Every security problem that Great Satan felt called upon to address would be alleviated, if not solved altogether, if the regimes responsible for them could be remade to American specs.

Quote me.

Pic - "For the Mighty Arms of Atlas - hold the heavens from the earth"

3 comments:

Render said...

http://render64.wordpress.com/2009/08/27/fisking-professor-steven-walt/

DUET?,
R

Peter said...

I can understand Iran or Somalia wanting to remove America as the big dog in the world's yard. I cannot understand France or Italy wanting that. If the USA is no longer the world's superpower, what happens to the French? Or Russians and every other country that does not either in or have an afinity with those ending in "stan".

What I really, really don't understand is the American types who are into this. Do they really believe that the Isamonazis will kill me and not them?

Donald Douglas said...

Cool Courtney!