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Zbigniew Brzezinski, Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor, publishes a highly critical tribune in the Financial Times this morning:


Bush's hollow fiction of Iraq war (behind subscription wall)

Like a novelist who wishes to inject verisimilitude into his fiction, George W. Bush, US president, began his speech on Iraq with a reference to a historical fact all too tragically well known to his audience. The evocation of the monstrous crime of September 11 2001 served as his introduction to the spin that followed: that Iraq was complicit in 9/11 and thus, in effect, attacked the US; that the US had no choice but to defend itself against Iraq's aggression; and, finally, that if America does not fight terrorists in Iraq, they will swarm across the ocean to attack America.



Since fiction is not ruled by the same standards as history, Mr Bush was under no obligation to refer to his own earlier certitude about Iraqi "weapons of mass destruction" (or, rather, to their embarrassing absence), or to the inept sequel of the initially successful US military campaign; or to the fact that the occupation of Iraq is turning it into a huge recruitment centre for terrorists. Similarly, there was no need to deal with the perplexing fact that the Iraqi insurgency does not appear to be in "its last throes", or with the complex choices that the US now confronts.

Bush is not reality-based. We know it, but it's nice to see it on paper - in a respectable paper and under the signature of a respected member of the foreign policy establishment.


But a more disturbing aspect of the speech was the absence of any serious discussion of the wider regional security problems and their relationship to the Iraqi conundrum. That connection poses the danger that America risks becoming irrelevant to the Middle East - largely through Mr Bush's own doing. Much depends on how long the US pursues unrealistic goals in Iraq. And on whether the US becomes seriously engaged in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, on how the US relationship with Iran is managed and on how the advocacy of democracy in the Middle East is pursued.

The reality in Iraq is that 135,000 American soldiers cannot create a stable "democracy" in a society rent by intensifying ethnic and religious conflicts. US military commanders, contradicting Mr Bush, have publicly stated that the insurgency is not weakening. It is useful to recall in this regard Henry Kissinger's wise observation (made in regard to the war in Vietnam but pertinent here) that guerrillas are winning if they are not losing. The longer US troops are involved in Iraq, the more victory will remain "on the horizon" - that is, a goal that recedes as one moves towards it.

After recommending that serious attnetion be paid to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which he sees as a focal point for anger against the USA, and which would require serious pressure on both sides, he concludes:


The fictionalised account of America's war against terror in Iraq failed to take into account the reality that the conflict there mobilises hostility towards the US, that the persistence of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict stimulates regional anger against America, that continued US threats of "regime change" in Iran harden Iranian enmity towards the country and that heavy handed advocacy of democracy poses the risk of legitimising populist hostility toward the it. In explaining the causes of imperial failure, Arnold Toynbee ultimately ascribed it to "suicidal statecraft". Of course, he was dealing with history and not fiction.

Bush, a liar taking the USA on a suicidal path. Pretty strong stuff...

Originally posted to Jerome a Paris on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 03:31 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (4.00)

    European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe
    in the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)

    by Jerome a Paris on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 03:31:32 AM PDT

    •  American Irrelevancy (4.00)
      Jerome, mon cher, I write from Dubai - and I fear that American irrelevancy is already a reality.  Gleaming office towers are springing up from the sands around me like mushrooms in the autumnal Dordogne forests.  I work in a building so new that I have to point it out to taxi drivers to get them to take me there.

      This city/state exudes a confidence in its future and a determination to realise that future that is shaking my own confidence that America has a future - or a future role here.

      Dubai has a population of 1.1 million - 85 percent of whom are immigrants.  There are Indians, Thai, Pakistanis, Iranians, Saudis, Yanks, Brits, Aussies and just about everyone else.  And there is tolerance, respect, social cohesion, no crime, polite children, clean streets (the cleanest I've ever seen anywhere!) and a great climate (except July and August).

      I'm glad I'm here.  I'm glad I'm contributing to the future of a society that is trying to be better than most Americans can ever imagine in the Middle East.  I fear, however, that except for one or two of us here making our meagre efforts, the role of America is fast fading in the region.

      I'll be back in London in a few weeks, and maybe I'll write some more thoughts then.  For now, I'm just awed by the energy, determination, intelligence and wealth that is being directed toward making the modern Middle East a pretty amazing place to live.

      "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

      by LondonYank on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 05:24:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  LondonYank (4.00)
        It's good to hear from you  - it seems like you haven't been around dKos much in recent times.

        I am not sure that Dubai can be seen as representative of the Middle East. It is one of the few places that has put its oil money to smart use and diversified into real wealth-creating activites - and it benefits, like Singapore or Hong Kong, from its role as the local hub for finance, trade and travel.

        Kudos to its enlighened leaders for building a great place, but it's not a repeatable experience, I'm afraid.

        European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe
        in the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)

        by Jerome a Paris on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 05:42:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Diversifying into wealth-creating activities (none)
          I too am "diversifying into wealth-creating activities" having landed this contract and having fielded a team here which I have to manage.  Working from the UK left me plenty of leisure time to blog.  Working here is very demanding by comparison.  

          Although you may think that Dubai is unrepeatable, I am less sure about that.  When I was in Iraq a couple years ago, up in Kurdistan, the prime minister there had hopes of making Erbil the "Dubai of Iraq".  

          Think of Dubai as an economic model, much like US capitalism. Combining strong urban planning and efficient utilities with a modern legal framework and focused promotion of sectors of comparative advantage is a model which will likely benefit any country.

          I still read Kos daily, so keep posting and I will keep reading.  Maybe I will regain some leisure for posting new diaries in the fall.

          "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

          by LondonYank on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 03:48:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The model is sound (none)
            but it requires two things:

            • really enlightened leaders, willing to delegate a lot of the technical stuff to the best (usually foreign) people

            • to be a relatively small outpost in a larger area. You cannot have a big number of trade, finance and tourism hubs.

            It probably helps that it is a relatively scenic place (sea and sand) and resolutely pro-Western.

            Good luck on your project!

            European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe
            in the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)

            by Jerome a Paris on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 09:54:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  A great climate? You're smoking crack. (none)
        I was in Dubai in September 2003 for the Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and I don't think the temperature ever dropped below 100 degrees or the humidity below 90 percent.  It never rained, either.

        Then, again, you're from London, so anything other than foggy, 50 degrees, and a constant slow drizzle must seem like excellent weather to you.

        Dubai is a wonderful place...as long as you stay in the air conditioning.  Air conditioning, however, is pretty ubiquitous.  But if you're the sort (as I am) who tries to eschew rental cars and taxicabs and take local public transportation, you will sweat through whatever clothes you're wearing just standing out at the bus stop.

        I live in Washington, and the weather here isn't exactly a picnic--today, it's going to be 92 with about 95 percent humidity.  The city is a sauna in the summer.  But it's nothing compared to Dubai.

        Piss off Frank Luntz: don't use Republican issue frames like "Social Security crisis."

        by DC Pol Sci on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 06:36:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I Sweat Through My Clothes in DC in 10 Minutes (none)
          That's it. I'm cancelling my Dubai vacation in August.

          Fox News is a propaganda outlet of the Republican Party - DNC Chair Howard Dean

          by easong on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 09:50:54 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Funny UAE story (none)
          My parents worked in the UAE for a couple of years in the early 80s.  I spent 3 months there (May June July) once.

          I was told that the municipal workers would not have to work outside if the temperature rose above 45 celcius.  Everyday the forecast predicted a high of 45 and sure enough on the news the official report was that yes, indeed we had reached 45.  

          So while I was there officially it never got too hot for the outside workers to work outside, but we measured the temperature once and it was 53 (127) in the sun, 48 in the shade and the pool was a refreshing 35. Where I worked in a hospital the AC was always about 65F and I had to wear a sweater to tolerate it.

          We were inland in Al Ain in the desert.  It was supposed to be far less humid than Dubai but they also had a lot of irrigation using the water from the aquifers under them.

          Many afternoons hazed over and the humidity made it intolerable to be outside.

          Even then, 25 years ago people were worried that the aquifers would get used up and salt water from the Gulf would then pour into them.  They were experiencing weather changes even then.  Just before I arrived my parents car had been caught in a hail storm in Dubai (my folks were away).  The car looked like it had been hit all over with a ball peen hammer.  The storm itself did tremendous damage because they weren't in the habit of storing things under protection if they didn't need it.

          My husband and I may have a chance to do some work there and I for one would love to go back.  If only to see if I can figure out the camel races.

          Don't forget, ePluribus Media isn't them, it's US. That means you too.

          by Bionic on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 10:32:02 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Same Thing in Rio (none)
            When I was vacationing in Rio some years ago, a friend of mine who was living there explained that there was a law that people were not required to work if the temperature went over 40 C (better standard than Dubai). And that there was another law (or at least a clear understanding) that it was illegal to report the temperature as being over 40.

            He made this comment as we were driving past one of those digital thermometer displays showing the temperature at 42 (and this was in October, which is early spring there).

        •  Not Smoking - Strolling! (none)
          I walk home from work every evening the mile or so to my apartment.  Yes, it is warmish, but I quite like the climate here.  Then again, I holiday in Utah's high desert in August every other year where the temperature gets even hotter.

          "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

          by LondonYank on Sun Jul 03, 2005 at 12:53:51 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Just how tolerant? (none)
        My understanding is that Dubai's tolerance is somewhat limited when it comes to Jews. For example, there is this recent (March) story from Al Bawaba news agency:

        Education authorities in Dubai have vowed to examine a book taught in an international private school that shows a photo of two Jewish children sporting plaited hair and yarmulke.

        Dr. Obaid Butti Al Mohiri, the Director of Curriculums Centre at the Ministry of Education, said he would order the withdrawal of the book for primary Class I of the Dubai International School if the complaints raised were found genuine.

        Several teachers of the school contacted Khaleej Times, complaining against the picture, captioned `We play together; we stick together', featured in the book entitled "Friends Forever". The teachers said that of all the pictures in the book, the students reacted sharply to only this picture.

        I can't find any word on what has happened since, but the Khaleej Times quoted a Minsitry of Education official apologizing for letting the book slip through, saying he did not have enough to monitor all books in use.

  •  Not sure whether (4.00)
    I should be happy that there are voices speaking loudly and certain media giving them a forum, or cry at our tragic path.  And with no end in sight.  Even dems (and I, too, to some extent) wonder if just pulling out will gain us anything at this point.  

    I especially don't want the republicans to say we 'lost' Iraq because dems wanted to pull out.  Pulling out has to be seem as the only avenue left to us (and Bush) and lay the whole mess at his feet.  Already dems are being blamed for the low enlistment rates and everything else they can dream up.  I know, we should be able to stand up to their rhetoric, but so far I have only seen glimpses of framing that will put the onus back on Bush.  with everyone saying that losing is not an option (Reid, Biden, Clinton, etc), the dems appear to be pushing the war back into Bush's lap.

    I have wanted the troops to come home now, but do worry about the after-spin and whether we can win the war of propaganda after the pullout.  This war, and its failure, MUST be laid at Bush's feet.

    As an aside, all this comotion by Bushies about the Iranian new president being a possible guard for the Iran hostages is laughable, considering Negroponte and others in the Bush clan were deep into paying these same Iran-Contra people for the hostages.  But they seem to make facts up as they go.

    •  Gramma. (none)
      Simple math reasoning is the reason for low enlistment rates.  If there are 150,000 US soldiers stationed in Iraq and 15,000 have become casualties what percentage of US troops have become casualties?

      Answer: 10%!  Only a fool joins an amy facing decimation.

      •  Spurious maths (4.00)
        There are 150,000 troops in Iraq at any one time (actually down to 130,000 some of the time).  

        The 15,000 injured troops came from over 500,000 troops deployed over the whole duration of the war.

        Ergo, the odds of being injured are not 1/10 but more like 3/100.

        "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing - after they have exhausted all other possibilities." Winston Churchill

        by LondonYank on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 05:14:38 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  John McLaughlin (none)
          reports on the human toll of the war each week on the McLaughlin Report.  By his numbers last week, there have been 41,000+ evacuees -- for some reason or another -- since the war begin.  
        •  I know what you mean... (none)
          ...but the mental calculation made by the average grunt in most wars is very much as I have stated.   An  army will crack when they reach 13% cumulative casualties.  Although about 10 million French served on the Western front in WW1 they  collapsed at about this point. They mutinied at 100%.    My observation on Morale and casualties is based on sound historical  precident.
      •  Decimation (none)
        refers to the diminishing of forces to one-tenth of their strength (a 90% casualty rate)not to a 10%rate.
    •  Good points (4.00)
      about the "blame laying mamangement"

      "the occupation of Iraq is turning it into a huge recruitment centre for terrorists"

      That's the kind of line that will help keep the blame on Bush.

      European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe
      in the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)

      by Jerome a Paris on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 04:48:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good morning, (4.00)
      In the end we will have to leave Iraq.  The question is do we continue mindless slaughter, or do we manage a phased withdrawl.

      GrandmaJ, we lost our cause in Iraq at Abu Ghraib.  Since Abu Ghraib we have faced nothing but escalating guerrilla violence.  The vision of great, grand and glorious parades and ticker tape are now over.  There may be a parade, but the spirit has gone out of this war.  The "old men" have lied to the young men again.

      I am no fan of Zbig, and consider him a spiritual mentor for the neo-con fantascists and bellicose warhawk politicians, who have for decades thought we could have won in Vietnam with "Just a little more effort."  Iraq is the bitter fruit of their madness.

      To learn about the lies involved in starting this Iraq fiasco, only makes the case for a phased withdrawl all the more necessary.

      We are attempting to relive 1968, and for God's sake, do you want America to have to go through that again?

      "same old fears, same old crimes-we haven't changed since ancient times.." "Iron Hand" Dire Straits

      by boilerman10 on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 05:06:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm with you, Boilerman. (4.00)
        And Afghanistan, too, which is looking like a ludicrously ham-handed effort, a really bad joke.

        Brzezinski always struck me as "Kissinger lite."  Seems to have the same fundamental geopolitical view that we are the only country that really matters, that everyone else in the world only plays a bit part, to be manipulated by us--as if they had no independent, creative existence of their own, with their own dreams and capabilities.

        •  have either of you (4.00)
          followed Brzezinski throughout the Bush administration? He's always been viciously anti-Bush and anti-Iraq war. I know he has a history as a hawk, but when everyone else was fawning over our military adventurism, he was one of the few loud voices saying we were crazy, backing it up very well. And he also believes Bushco is corrupt.

          Seems to have the same fundamental geopolitical view that we are the only country that really matters, that everyone else in the world only plays a bit part, to be manipulated by us--as if they had no independent, creative existence of their own, with their own dreams and capabilities.

          I want there to be policy people who think like this. And I want them to smell a rat when there is a rat and have some integrity. That's what's been missing and what a superpower must have if it's to preserve itself.

          All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

          by SeanF on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 07:33:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The fact that Brzezinski isn't a loon (4.00)
            doesn't mean we need to support his politics.  Brzezinski is criticizing Bush not because Bush & Co. are imperialists, but because they're incompetent imperialists.  He has no problem with American political/military/economic hegemony -- he has a problem with people who screw it up, which is why he's always been against this war.

            The press will take his critique seriously, which is nice, I guess, but we still need to articulate a genuinely progressive vision for a foreign policy, which is something that the Brzezinskis of the world openly oppose.  Let's not do the lazy thing and just say, "The problem with the war is that it's costing us our very lucrative empire!"  We can and must critique both the war and the empire it's eroding at the same time.

            "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

            by Pesto on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 09:40:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Precisely -- It's Not About Politics (none)
              When someone with credibility clearly states a well reasoned argument that supports the same position we, who call ourselves Democrats/Lierals/ Progressives, I for one am uninterested in that person's politics and far more interested in the weight and influence of his or her remarks.

              In this case, I read, digest, and agree.  I don't waste my mental time dithering over Zbig's political history.

              Agree with the message and the messenger's relatively unimportant.  (By way of heading wackos off at the pass: Don't go into conspiracy la-la land counterarguments with me.)

              If Colin Powell were to come "clean" and state a similar opinion, I'd obey my rule of thumb.

              They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

              by Limelite on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 10:19:36 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  I actually think we disagree (4.00)
                My point is that I don't agree with Brzezinski.  Remember the controversy recently over the Wal-Mart that announced a policy of putting all of its employees on perpetual call?  Imagine if some conservative commentator had said, "Wal-Mart ought to renounce this policy of permanent on-call for their employees.  The employees should work a pre-set schedule.  That's the best way to prevent them from ever organizing a union and winning fair treatment from the company."  

                Well, I wouldn't be quoting something like that in a critique of Wal-Mart without a huge grain of salt.  And I think that's essentially what Zbig is doing on the Iraq war.  He's saying, "Hey, we're trying to run a successful empire here!  You know, establish economic/political/military hegemony over the world's people, get access to their natural resources on our terms, hold down ordinary people so that elites here can remain rich.  Your war is going to kill the goose that's been laying our golden eggs!"  I think there's a very, very heavy price to be paid if the Brzezinski analysis of the War continues to be the standard Dem line.  So although I don't think we should make arguing with Brzezinski our main job right now, I think we should clearly state that, although we agree with him that the war is a disaster, we come to that conclusion for different reasons.  The goal shouldn't be a more efficient and lucrative empire.  The goal should be ending the empire, but through a peaceful process, not the bloodletting of Iraq.

                "Run, comrade, the old world is behind you!" -- Situationist graffito, 1968

                by Pesto on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 10:44:47 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Yes-- (4.00)
                  the Empire is ending anyway.

                  Our task is to find creative and beneficial ways to work within the new international economic framework.

                  We're not calling all the shots anymore, and we'll be calling fewer and fewer shots over the next 20 years.

                •  Point Taken. . .However (none)
                  Perhaps your post reflects an emphatic response to the last bit in Zbig's blockquoted portion where he references Toynbee.

                  What I posted is a braoder response to the tenor of his entire excerpt.  My view is that Zbig is critical of Bush's speech; that he recognizes it is a denial of reality; that Bush's "staying the course" is, if not alineating other marginal Arab governments, ceratinly alienating their populations and turning what have been relatively docile citizens into terrorists.  In short, BushCo policy is making things worse for America's supposed (certainly the neo-con's stated) goal of spreading democracy.

                  I think Zbig clearly recognizes the Arab p.o.v. -- that this is a religious war.  And he also recognizes that the BushCo p.o.v is that this war is a righteous retaliation to a terrorist attack, nebulously linked to Saddam's long-time existence as a thorn in our Nation's side, a particularly large one in the side of the Bush clan.

                  I interpret Zbig as disenchanted with Bush.

                  That said, I haven't read the original in its entirety.  You may have.

                  They burn our children in their wars and grow rich beyond the dreams of avarice.

                  by Limelite on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 03:00:15 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I think you are overstating (none)
                  Zbig's positions a bit, but only a bit. I'm surprising myself that I agree with your characterizations of his positions. In other words, yes, let's manage the empire effectively. Is it really a progressive position that hegemony is bad in and of itself? I love Noam and Gore, but I don't think they ever answer the question, how should one weild power?

                  The fact that Zbig puts so much value on credibility and legitimacy (two characteristics you have to earn), I think he does answer that question in a reasonable way.

                  All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

                  by SeanF on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 05:18:34 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

      •  christ (none)
        Boilerman & PKtexas, I'm with the two of you as well.  I mean, give me a break, this is criticism coming from Brzezinski, the guy who wrote the Grand Chessboard.  This could be seen as a policy document for the Bush administration. The fact that he would criticize Bush in completely ludicris.  He probably sat down with Karl Rove to write this thing before going golfing with Bush.
        •  correction (4.00)
          when I write he sat down with Rove to write "this thing", I am referring to the FT piece.  but hell, he probably sat down with Rove to the write the grand chessboard too.
        •  probably sat down with Rove (none)
          this is a stupid comment. you don't know what you are talking about.

          All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

          by SeanF on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 05:19:51 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  i know (none)
            it's a ridiculous comment, SeanF, but what's your take?  do you think brezinski is some great liberal hero?  if he did sit down with rove, he probably sat to the right of him.
            •  yes I think Bzrezinksy (none)
              is a hero (even if I can't spell his name) not necessarily "liberal" but he's an amazing analyst. I fully support the idea that we have to run the empire efficiently and wisely. I'm against the concept that weilding power is inherintly wrong and I'm against the concept that there isn't a "game" aspect to weilding power. That to me is reality and Zbig gets it. Where morality and human rights come in is not the game, but in your values and how you pick your priorities. That Zbig way gets.

              The Grand Failure - Zbig predicts the literal collapse of the Soviet Union two years before it happens. When it came out, it seemed outlandish. One of his guiding principles through this work was that Soviet ideology wasted the lives of 70million people through either direct harm (death or imprisonment) or by not allowing them to realize their full potential. His critique of Bushco. has been the lack of credibility and legitimacy and all the lying.

              So Zbig represents enabling people to realize their fullest potential, credibility, and legitimacy. What does the traitorous sack of shit Rove represent? Machiavellian power politics, triumphalism, chronic lying, demagoguery, and outing CIA agents when it serves a political purpose.

              That's why I find the comparison ignorant and offensive.

              All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

              by SeanF on Fri Jul 08, 2005 at 10:47:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  i see your point (none)
                more here.  but i think these guys are just different heads of the same beast.  i can't really say that if Brezinski (yeah, this guy needs a nickname so we can spell this easier) was in Rove's position he would act the same.  but i would say that he was probably just as machiavellian in his own way.  what's his quote about the Afghan/USSR war?  i can't remember it exactly but it was something like "what's a small war in central asia if it ends the cold war?" (again, that's probably just the gist of the quote, not verbatim)  But I'm sure the Afghan people might have some issues with that line of thought.  service to an empire as corrupt and evil as the US (has there been a "nice" empire?) is all around dispicable to me.  

                but with my initial comment, I was just trying to get it across that criticing a war you've essentially advocated because you don't like how it's being fought seems ridiculous to me.

                •  I could be wrong (none)
                  but I believe Zbig was one of the few voices before the war saying it was all lies and a bad strategic idea.

                  But I understand your pov - sounds like you are against playing the "game" and believe ethics/morality/ideology should be more front and center. Do you have an analyst hero of yours to offer so I can see what it looks like?

                  (if you say Noam Chomsky I will laugh out loud!!)

                  All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

                  by SeanF on Fri Jul 08, 2005 at 11:55:26 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  i dont (none)
                    really know much about analyst types, but i really should try to learn more about these guys. if i could go back to university i'd major in history and poli sci.

                    i wouldn't pick chompsky, tho i did enjoy hegemony or survival.  and anyone who will argue with tom wolfe gets points in my book.

                    and i guessif you take away the implications of his writings/actions, if "the game" was really just a game, Zbig is definitely no chump.

              •  i see your point (none)
                more here.  but i think these guys are just different heads of the same beast.  i can't really say that if Brezinski (yeah, this guy needs a nickname so we can spell this easier) was in Rove's position he would act the same.  but i would say that he was probably just as machiavellian in his own way.  what's his quote about the Afghan/USSR war?  i can't remember it exactly but it was something like "what's a small war in central asia if it ends the cold war?" (again, that's probably just the gist of the quote, not verbatim)  But I'm sure the Afghan people might have some issues with that line of thought.  service to an empire as corrupt and evil as the US (has there been a "nice" empire?) is all around dispicable to me.  

                but with my initial comment, I was just trying to get it across that criticing a war you've essentially advocated because you don't like how it's being fought seems ridiculous to me.

    •  It Doesn't Matter (4.00)
      I especially don't want the republicans to say we 'lost' Iraq because dems wanted to pull out.

           The Republicans will say that no matter what.  If the war ended with Americans clinging to the landing skids of helicopters lifting off from the Green Zone, they will still say that.
      Scapegoating is all they've got left.

           At some point the Dems have simply got to stop obsessing over what the opposition has said, is saying, or might say and start focusing on what they are going to say.  

      Are we still alive?-- Dakota Fanning

      by angry blue planet on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 07:52:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Republicans can't blame Dems (none)
      for the U.S. pulling out. They can try, but I don't think even they can pull that off... it's too easy to rebut.

      The simple fact is that Dems don't make the decisions right now. If we pull out, it'll be because Rethugs DO it.

      "...an admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star!"

      King Lear

      by Norwell on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 09:55:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  If politics is the art of the possible... (none)
    ...and war is politics pursued by other means: surely it is better to bite off less than one can chew.

    This is strategy for dummies!  Even Bush is too thick to get the simple logic.

    •  not this week (4.00)
      Bush is already onto Iranian new president and digging up past. So obviously he thinks he can still do his cowboy diplomacy.

      I wonder what he will do if Iran actually start going aggressive.

  •  Zbigniew Brzezinski is a true authority. (4.00)
    Wouldn't it be nice if that actually counted for anything in our fictionalized, spin / counterspin, he said / she said world?
  •  Big budget, no script (4.00)

    That pretty much sums up our little adventure in Iraq.  I really think we've hit a turning point.  People are starting to realize that Iraq was a huge mistake.

    Protons have mass? I didn't even know they were Catholic.

    by randym77 on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 05:43:11 AM PDT

  •  ZB the realist (4.00)
    ZB was a cold warrior, to be sure, but he is an incisive analyst and, most important, a realist in dealing with foreign policy issues. He has been 100% accurate in his assessment of Operation Iraqi Fuq'p since before the Shock 'n Awe went down.

    My favorite ZB story: Shortly after the the 1980 election, National Security Adviser ZB was being interviewed by a National Public Radio correspondent who asked him:

    "How do you feel that Mr. Reagan will be as an actor in foreign policy?"

    ZB replied in a tone of voice cold enough to initiate Nuclear Winter:

    "I trust you're being sardonic."

  •  Zbiggy is God, as far as I'm concerned... (none)
    ...at least when it comes to foreign policy pronouncements.  He's seldom been wrong, in my experience.  And I think he's right on the money with this one.

    Piss off Frank Luntz: don't use Republican issue frames like "Social Security crisis."

    by DC Pol Sci on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 06:39:23 AM PDT

  •  The way out (4.00)
    Brezinski mentioned the unmentionable.  The way out of the Iraq mess is through the West Bank.  The United States has lost whatever strategic advantages it held and hoped to acquire by the failed occupation of Iraq. We will eventually evacuate that tragic territory, and will pay the cost of our venture there for a long time.  The only way the United States can recover a bare modicum of operating room in that part of the world is to come down solidly for the establishment of a West Bank State that approximates its pre-1967 territory.  This is the unmentionable.  It is a third rail in American politics.  But something has to give in the Middle East, and making Israel give up its Occupation seems to me to be the best place to start.

    This is the kernel of the hard nut that can't be cracked. Even though the United States does not have a mutual security treaty with Israel, the implicit commitment is probably stronger than the one embodied in the NATO treaty.  If the United States has to have a military presence in the Middle East, logically the best place for it is as the guarantor of a West Bank State that covers the pre-1967 territory, after minor adjustments acceptable to both sides. Making that state an American protectorate would provide for Israel's security and also provide some room for the indigenous democratic forces there to develop. In any event, it would be hell of a lot less cheaper than trying to do the same thing in Iraq.

    One way or another we are going to have to face to terrible facts.  One is becoming evident: our military cannot sustain the current force level in Iraq.  The second is that the source of our troubles is our unremitting support of Israel's seizure of the West Bank.  The first problem will solve itself, as we run out of troops.  The second we can actually do something about.  Brzezinski opened the door, just a crack.

  •  What am I missing? (none)
    Z-big wrote "The Grand Chessboard." I though he would've been all for this war.

    Zbigniew Brzezinski

    The Grand Chessboard
    American Primacy And It's Geostrategic Imperatives  

    Key Quotes From Zbigniew Brzezinksi's Seminal Book

    "Ever since the continents started interacting politically, some five hundred years ago, Eurasia has been the center of world power."- (p. xiii)

    "... But in the meantime, it is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America. The formulation of a comprehensive and integrated Eurasian geostrategy is therefore the purpose of this book." (p. xiv)

    "In that context, how America 'manages' Eurasia is critical. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world's three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa's subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world's central continent. About 75 per cent of the world's people live in Eurasia, and most of the world's physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about three-fourths of the world's known energy resources." (p.31)

    Maybe he had another form of domination in mind. Economic?

    hink

    •  this is also the man (4.00)
      who predicted the literal collapse of the Soviet Union 2 years before it happened, has accused Bushco of subverting democracy, an all in all just seems to know what the fuck he's talking about. In my experience, when Zbiggy gets on your case, he's relentless, pointed, poetic, and damning. If there were anyone I'd want behind the scenes making sure the U.S. is on the right path, it'd be him.

      I guess I'm all for world domination. Zbig has said over and over that credibility and legitimacy are two central planks of achieving this. I'm not for flushing American power down the toilet, which is what Bushco are intent on doing.

      All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

      by SeanF on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 07:41:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  World Domination? (none)
        Is Zbig pro world-domination? That sounds a bit outlandish. Also impossible for the US to achieve: see significant examples in Vietnam, Iraq, Venezuela, China, Iran, North Korea, and Afghanistan.

        You know many nations exist in the absence of a massive nuclear stockpile and a multi-billion dollar military. I believe that their peaceful existences prove that "world domination" is a worthless goal because it is a zero-sum game that will result in the creation of many enemies where there were none and a  tremendous waste of resources that could be directed to better usage elsewhere.

        Also total "world control" means that the American population would probably have to be controlled as well. A concept that turns my stomach.

        There is a taint of death - a flavor of mortality in lies - which is exactly what I hate and detest in the world - what I want to forget.

        by Hauer Santos on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 08:12:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  we've had world domination (none)
          since WWII. And have profited from it. It has seeped into our culture and identity in a way that is indelibly connected with who we are. Some parts of that identity suck. Like our ignorance of the rest of the world and belief that we are better just for our mere existence.

          World domination has more to do with exporting our culture and rules of business than military. Most serious realize that soft power always gets you more than hard power. Hard power should only be used as a threat to maintain an order that you impose and serves you well.

          Here's a question I'd like Zbignew to answer: what role does respecting the rights and aspirations of others play in America maintaining its preeminent position? I don't know the answer, but from what I've heard and read of him, I think his answer would be surprising.

          All extremists are irrational and should be exposed

          by SeanF on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 05:24:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  well, no (4.00)

      The logic proposed in GC is that any significant axis of power extending from Central Europe to Russia to China is intolerable to American interests and American standing.  Whether this is more a European-Russian axis or more a Russian-Chinese one isn't important.

      Iraq serves neither of the two necessary wedging policies, in fact it is a disservice to them.  Iraq is counterproductive from the GC point of view, since it necessarily creates common interests between Europe and Russia (oil) and Russia and China (American bases in Central/Southwestern Asia).

      As it stands, there has a de facto resource partition of the Third World between the U.S. and Europe and East Asia, rather like the 15th century partition of the world between Spain and Portugal.  The U.S. "gets" South America, Europe controls Africa, and East Asia has eastern Siberia and Australia to draw from.  The Americans have been messing up the balance via too much interference in the Middle East; as a result China is now going to South America for resources, and very recently Americans are trying to get in on Africa via the British.   Some amount of, uh, realignment is becoming due.

      As for the FT article, Zbig is being a member of the reality-based community.  I'm sure he sees the essential identity of this Texan-born idiocy with Bolshevism and that's how he's looking at it.  The trouble is that Bush and his crew have an alternative theory of history that they are operating within, like the Bolsheviks did, and thus there's no negotiating possible with them- only their failure.

      Renewal, not mere Reform.

      by killjoy on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 09:28:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I heard part of his (none)
    radio address last week. This sounds similar to what he said. Recommended.
  •  I cant believe Bush gets away with this....... (none)
    THE TIMES: Mr President, last night you mentioned the link between Iraq and 9/11, but there's evidence of Iraq becoming a haven for jihadists, there's been a CIA report which says that Iraq is in danger of -- are you at risk of creating kind of more of the problems that actually led directly to --?

    PRESIDENT BUSH: No. Quite the contrary. Where you win the war on terror is go to the battlefield and you take them off. And that's what they've done. They've said, `Look, let's go fight. This is the place.' And that was my point. My point is that there is an ideology of hatred, an ideology that's got a vision of a world where the extremists dictate the lives, dictate to millions of Muslims. They do want to topple governments in the Middle East. They do want us to withdraw. They're interested in exporting violence. After all, look at what happened after September 11 (2001). One way for your readers to understand what their vision is is to think about what life was like under the Taleban in Afghanistan.

    So we made a decision to protect ourselves and remove Saddam Hussein. The jihadists made a decision to come into Iraq to fight us. For a reason. They know that if we're successful in Iraq, like we were in Afghanistan, that it'll be a serious blow to their ideology. General (John) Abizaid (Commander of US forces in the Middle East) told me something very early in this campaign I thought was very interesting. Very capable man. He's a Arab-American who I find to be a man of

    great depth and understanding. When we win in Afghanistan and Iraq, it's a beginning of the end. Talking about the war on terror. If we don't win here, it's the beginning of the beginning. And that's how I view it.

    We learnt first-hand the nature of the war on terror on September 11. And last time I went to Europe I said many in Europe viewed September 11 as a tragic moment, but a moment. I view September 11 as an attack as a result of a larger war that changed how I view the world and how many other Americans view the world. It was one of the moments in history that changed outlook. So as long as I'm sitting here in this Oval Office, I will never forget the lessons of September 11, and that is that we are in a global war against cold-blooded killers.

    And you are seeing that now being played out in Iraq, and we're going to win in Iraq and we're going to win because, one, we're going to find (Osama bin Laden) and bring him to justice, and two, we're going to train Iraqis so they can do the fighting. Iraqis don't want foreign fighters in their country, stopping the progress toward freedom. And the notion that people want to be free was validated by the over eight million people who voted.

    Frankly, I rejected the intellectual elitism of some around the world who say, "Well, maybe certain people can't be free". I don't believe that. Of course I was labelled a, you know, blatant idealist.

    But I am. Because I do believe people want to be free, regardless of their religion or where they are from. I do believe women should be empowered in the Middle East. I don't believe we ought to accept forms of government that ultimately create a hopelessness that then can be translated into jihadist violence. And I believe strongly that the ultimate way you defeat an ideology is with a better ideology. And history has proven that. Anyway, you got me going. Starting to give the whole speech again.

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,22649-1674668,00.html

    find your local dem group link: http://www.democracyforamerica.com/local/

    by timber on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 07:42:49 AM PDT

  •  The Value of Brzezinski (4.00)
    and other pragmatists is that people who won't listen to idealist progressives will listen to the likes of Brzezinski. In the beginning, when the war was a novelty and a source of catharsis for Americans frustrated by what seemed like American impotence, the pragmatists in both parties couldn't be heard over the din of the war drums.  Now that American blood has cooled a bit, it's possible they can be heard by those without ideological connections to either the Bush administration or the Democratic left.  I wonder what Kissinger has been up to these days.
  •  Request for another diary (4.00)
    Obviously, the price of oil is pretty high right now.

    It looks as if a lot of big oil users, such as airlines, have successfully insured against the price increase by using futures contracts to hedge against the risk of increases.

    Who are the counterparties to these contracts, and what kinds of financial strain are they suffering as a result of the contracts coming into the money?

    I understand that some of the counterparties are oil producers who are only suffering a paper loss -- the difference between what they're selling their oil for and what they could have sold it for on the open market -- but are there other counterparties who don't actually have oil and are having to spend a lot of money to make good on the contracts?

    If so, are these folks already starting to show signs of strain?

  •  Democracy or Empire? (none)
    Excerpts:

    What does this all have to do with Iraq? Simply that, if the decision to invade sprang from many bureaucratic motives -- as Wolfowitz himself has said -- I'm reasonably sure Doug Feith's had nothing to do with exporting democracy to the Arab world, and everything to do with planting the army of a friendly nation (i.e. the USA) between Israel and its most dangerous remaining strategic enemy, Iran.

    Some have argued that the construction of 14 "enduring bases" is proof postitive the neocons have absolutely no intention of disgorging their strategic prize. That may have been true when construction started. But anybody who thinks Uncle Sam wouldn't walk away after pouring all that concrete doesn't know much about government contracting.

    As citizen has already pointed out over at Moon of Alabama, pouring concrete is a good in and of itself to the Pentagon -- just as pouring money into Halliburton is a good in and of itself to the Cheney administration. After all, bases abandoned in Iraq mean bases which must be built somewhere else.

    http://billmon.org/archives/001968.html

  •  anecdotal aside to this audience (none)
    ...ahem...a lecture that i went to after 9/11 by an afghan-born professor of education at lewis and clark colllege in portland pummeled ol' zbig for creating the mess in afghanistan...(dismantling their coalition govt, arming the taliban against the russians, etcetc.)  
    in other words zbig and carter were seen by this lecturer as the cause of all afghan strife.  
    i was taken aback to hear the anti-carter anti- zbig spew, since someone veryvery close to me worked in his c's admin.
    anyway, just an aside.  
  •  "suicidal statecraft" (none)
    I'm glad to learn of this phrase from Arnold Toynbee.  We should use it more often.
  •  Brzezinski's the one who got us into this mess (4.00)
    For all of you falling over Zbig and his clear-headed pragmatism, slip over to Tom Tomorrow's post from the other day on unintended consequences. In it, Brzezinski's quoted from a 1998 interview patting himself on the back for convincing Jimmy Carter to secretly fund the anti-Communist Mujahadeen in Afghanistan six months before the Soviets invaded, drawing them into a war there.

    Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn't believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don't regret anything today?

    B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

    Some of you may remember this quote from his next answer:

    Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

    B: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

    Or maybe this:

    Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.

    B: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn't a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.

    Personally, I think that the threat to humanity posed by terrorism is less than that of all-out thermonuclear war, but the rapid disintegration of the Soviet Union brought on by Brzezinski's advocacy of his own sort of "flypaper" strategy doesn't seem to have made the world more stable.

    And, of course, with people like Putin running Russia, a suspicious mind might wonder if a few well-placed millions of dollars might just have gone to a little payback for the whole Afghanistan thing.

    Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

    by darrelplant on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 08:55:10 AM PDT

    •  You know, (none)
      he's probably right.

      He has always been anti-Soviet and anti Russian (and very active in endeavors to separate Russia from Ukraine), and he may yet be proven right.

      He thinks that Islamic terrorism is but a side show (just like Emmanuel Todd does), and maybe we should listen to him and treat it as a side show, instead of running into multi-hundred-billion wars...

      European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe
      in the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)

      by Jerome a Paris on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 09:26:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Cost (none)
        As I stated in my own post, I think terrorism isn't nearly as much as threat as the USSR and the USA annihilating each other and everyone else in a nuclear showdown. And you're right, spending hundreds of billions of dollars on random wars to "fight" terrorism isn't a good idea.

        But don't conflate his remarks in 1998 with the current situation. What he took "credit" for there was a policy that doomed Afghanistan to more than two decades of increasingly desperate circumstances, a period that's seen millions of dead, millions of refugees, and the total destruction of the tiny professional class the country had in the 1970s that actually included women under the Communist government the religious zealots he backed were fighting against.

        Basically, it's the same tactic Bush used against Iraq. Knock it all down and hope that something better grows out of it. But remember that while Eastern Europe is undeniably freer -- something that was already under way to some extent -- places like Kazakstan and Uzbekistan aren't exactly living free and easy. People in the Third World are just pawns to people like him. And because he doesn't treat them as humans with minds of their own, his calculations are worthless, because he doesn't factor in that they might not always play along the way he thinks they will.

        Do you really think the CIA told the people they funded that they were just going to be honey for the Russian bear? That we had no intention of doing anything other than providing guns? Do you think the leaders of Russian intelligence today, many of whom earned their bones during the Soviet Afghanistan occupation and have no more compunction about letting loose a war on the Afghans than Brzezinski, wouldn't feel a little schadenfreude if they could re-rig the trap the US set for their country and turn it back on the people who brought their gig down?

        Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

        by darrelplant on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 01:34:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You're right of course (none)
          But from his perspective as a Central European born American, he can claim full success - democratic central Europe, mostly impotent Russia, and a mess in areas he doesn't care about much - a mess that can certainly be put to nice geopolitical use against Russia, China, Pakistan or all.

          It's certainly cynical, but from a realpolitik point of view (and a narrow definition of what you care about) you can make the case.

          European Tribune - bringing dKos to Europe
          in the long run, we're all dead (Keynes)

          by Jerome a Paris on Sat Jul 02, 2005 at 09:20:43 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  doubtful (none)

      Afghanistan may have done a bit to destabilize the Middle East, but the identification of the source of trouble in the Islamic world with American interests begins with I/P and was greatly intensified by the Kuwait war.  Afghanistan is peripheral.

      Renewal, not mere Reform.

      by killjoy on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 09:35:19 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Brzezinski the Epitome of a Cold Warrior (4.00)
        A rabid, frothing anticommunist xenophobe, the intellectual forebear of Condi Rice.

        In other words, a patsy liberal leftist apologist, by today's standards.

        Fox News is a propaganda outlet of the Republican Party - DNC Chair Howard Dean

        by easong on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 09:57:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Peripheral (none)
        I didn't say that Afghanistan was the source of trouble with the Islamic world. I certainly didn't say anything about the Middle East, because Afghanistan's not in the Middle East.

        The whole Twin Towers thing, however, does have something to do with the US decision to contribute to the destabilizion of Afghanistan in 1979 in that that led to the ability of al-Qaeda to set up camp there.

        Certainly, it's possible that bin Laden could have found another base of operations. But it's a little ironic that the first place the US invaded after 9/11 was the location Brzezinski chose as the USSR's quagmire.

        And while it may not have the whole Muslims vs. Jews vibe that Israel/Palestine does, the USSR's fight in Afghanistan did stir up a lot of problems with Muslims that the Russians are still having to deal with.

        And, of course, a lot of Afghanis died or had to become refugees. A drought in the spring of 2001 -- well before the latest invasion -- was being called the worst humanitarian disaster since the Soviet invasion in 1979.  Which was something, although not exactly what I'd call peripheral.

        Those who do not learn from history are stupid. --darrelplant

        by darrelplant on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 01:49:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Here's how to read Brezinski's editorial (none)
    Look, you goddam fool! I laid out how this was to be done in my 1998 book "The Grand Chessboard". This is a strategy that will occupy us for a generation or more. You are screwing it up by going to fast and making too many mistakes. Get out of the way and let the adults do it right, you dunce!
  •  Bush blasted by conservative military analyst (none)
    see my diary today for the thoughts of a respected conservative Washington think-tanker.
  •  well, the strategy remains the same.... (none)
    ...except in this round of the Great Game, the mendacious opportunism of our leadership made this an excellent opportunity for their enemies to lead them into the sandtrap that we ourselves once gleefully lured the Grand Soviet into.

    Clearly it's our leadership's cronies in the underworld of arms and drugs that have dragged them down.  They smelt the easy money but failed to see the consequences of their folly.

    Pakistan and Saudi Arabian intelligence oversaw the whole deal - there were so many dubious business/security deals going on that all this might have just oozed under the door.

    The fact that the Cheneyites, the PNAC, the AIPAC took the bait of the INC, the ISI, Prince Turki and all the others ----  means we've been had.

    If we're the new Russians - well, how were we dumb enough to do that??

    "the fools, the fools, they've left us our Fenian Dead" (Padraig Pearse - Gay Revolutionary)

    by padraig pearse on Fri Jul 01, 2005 at 12:18:15 PM PDT

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