October 04, 2006

"This Is Your Last Chance"

Paul W. Schroeder suggests it is time to start Liberating Ourselves. In a lengthy article, he proposes some solid ideas for reversing the USA's horrid decline on several fronts:
The Bush administration originally sold the Iraq War to the public, Congress, and the world with two propaganda packages appealing respectively to fear and hope. One drew a horrifying picture of The Disastrous Consequences of Inaction in Iraq; the other depicted The Bright Promise of Victory in Iraq. Everyone remembers the absurd predictions, false promises, and outright lies these packages contained.

Today both have been totally discredited by events...

It should be easy for opponents of the war to refute this fear-mongering campaign with The Disastrous Consequences of Staying the Course...

By frankly acknowledging failure in Iraq and acting quickly, decisively, and prudently on that recognition, the U.S. not only could avoid further disasters there but might also achieve a kind of success. Call it The Bright Promise of Accepting Failure in Iraq....

America’s so-called unipolar moment is past, rotten before it was ripe, and the task before it now is disimperialism. Like Britain and France after World War II and the USSR after 1989, the goal has to be not merely to give up an untenable imperialist position but to do so in such a way as to protect vital interests, maintain a necessary position of leadership, and lay a new basis for eventual useful relations with the countries of the former or would-be empire.

That is bound to be a distasteful, delicate, and sometimes humiliating task, with many apparent setbacks and only long-range payoffs. But as history shows, it can be done, and there are at least some fairly concrete ways to approach it. The trick is making the decision to abandon the imperial venture clear and convincing to one’s own people and the rest of the world (including opponents), while at the same time showing that this is a strategic decision dictated by good sense and done from strength, not the product of weakness, despair, or disorientation.

A good place to start is with the public renunciation of failed, misconceived, counterproductive policies....

Along with this open announcement of a change in course needs to go some striking symbolic action to make the announcement credible. Here is an obvious candidate: publicly scrap the plans for the billion-dollar-plus American Embassy/fortress-city in the heart of Baghdad and commit America unconditionally to no military bases, bastions, stationing agreements, or other ways of staying on militarily in Iraq.

An even better political action would be for the U.S. government to call now for an international conference under other auspices than our own to discuss how to deal with the now inevitable civil war in Iraq and the possible breakup of the state.


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