November 10, 2006

Too Late For "The Long Peace"?

Tom Engelhardt on Bush's Outlaw Empire:
In so many ways, the American Constitutional system has been shredded and this -- whether we are to be an outlaw empire (and a failing one at that) -- is what Americans were voting about this last Tuesday (though it was called "Iraq").
Tom argues that the electoral "wave" of repudiation is a global phenomenon which has only just washed up on US shores. He also provides a good pocket guide to the PNAC history behind Bush's collapse:
In the wake of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, to be followed by the relatively violence-free collapse of the Soviet Union, there was a brief moment of conceptual paralysis among leadership elites in this country, none of whom had even imagined the loss of the "Evil Empire" (in President Ronald Reagan's famous Star Wars-ian phrase) until it suddenly, miraculously evaporated. In this forgotten moment, we even heard hopeful mutterings about a "peace dividend" that would take all the extra military money that obviously was no longer needed to defend against a missing superpower and use it to rebuild America.

A mighty country, soon to be termed a "hyperpower," straddling the globe alone and without obvious enemies -- that should have been a formula for declaring victory (as many Cold Warriors promptly did) and acting accordingly (which none of them did). It should have been the moment for the Long Peace.

But in an enemy-less world, there was a small problem called the Pentagon (and the vast military-industrial complex that had grown up around it). So, while the peace-dividend-that-never-was vanished in the post-Cold-War morning fog, some new, prefab enemies did make their appearances with startling speed...


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