Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Not "Four More Years of the Same"

Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer repeated that refrain a number of times during his folksy yet tough speech. And yet I had the ill feeling in the pit of my stomach that a McCan't presidency would be far worse. Inherent in the word "more" when it is used to describe something undesired is the idea that more is worse.

And today, Andrew Sullivan sticks a butcher knife into the idea of a McCan't administration as the worst of all possible worlds. With my emphasis, dig this...
My main worry with John McCain is foreign policy. ... That everything that has been awry with this [Bush] administration would be made worse by his. Seeing the world as a series of enemies to be attacked rather than as a series of relationships to be managed and a series of foes to be undermined has proven of limited use. Even the successful removal of the Taliban has led, six years later, to a long and grueling counter-insurgency with no end in sight and a reconstituted al Qaeda in a nuclear-armed, unstable state. The invasion of Iraq - in the abstract, a noble cause against an evil enemy - has caused the deaths of hundreds of thousands, the displacement of millions, the price of $3 trillion ... all for a less despotic Shiite government in league with Iran, making contracts with China. And that's if it turns out as a success (emphasis Sullivan). Along the way, the US has lost a vast amount of its moral standing and its legitimacy as a global power-broker. Insofar as neoconservatives do not understand this, and cannot understand this, they are a clear and present danger to the security of the West. Their unwillingness to understand how the US might be perceived in the world, how a hegemon needs to exhibit more humility and dexterity to maintain its power, makes them - and McCain - extremely dangerous stewards of American foreign policy in an era of global terror. They are diplomatically and strategically autistic.

Rant time: I need to remind some of you that Mr. Sullivan is no Democrat, and no liberal. He is a dyed-in-the-wool conservative of the Buckley and George Will stripe. He does not subscribe to the neoconservative (now Republican) idea that America is this fearsome behemoth churning out new realities of worldwide democracy through heavy-handed empire-building, through military and other means; that America's economic interests are the same as its strategic and military interests; that American citizens are simply the means to the end -- unchecked, near-dictatorial power -- rather than those whom the President and his/her administration are elected to serve; that the United States Constitution is a static document that was never built to withstand the changing mores of the generations that have succeeded its framers; and that to a President, the Constitution is only a document of mere suggestions on how to govern this country, not of carefully crafted and mostly brilliant laws from which he/she is not immune.

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