ON PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE
you ask, how can you say that? I mean, after all
that caterwauling over the absolute necessity of fighting
off Gore and his fellow coup-plotters column after
column, all written in a white heat, and making basically
the same point: a Gore presidency would have to mean the
End. Yes, and Dubya in the White House in the beginning
of another kind of nightmare.
the bombs will start falling on Baghdad even before Dubya
is installed in the Oval Office, perhaps not. But they fall
they will, and sooner rather than later. The ever-volatile
Middle East is slated to go up in flames in a war that could
spread to the Caucasus and even spill over into the Balkans.
Israel and the Palestinians are already fighting the first
skirmishes of World War III. Indeed, our unconditional support
to the Israelis is the spark that will set off a regional
explosion. Everywhere the green flag of Islamic fundamentalism
flies, the US will face intransigent enemies. We have seen
the first shots fired at the USS Cole and
that is only the beginning.
rising energy crisis skyrocketing oil prices, shortages,
and the threat of rolling blackouts in California
provide the perfect context for Desert Storm II. The War
Party is convinced they can get popular support for such
a project due to the widespread belief that we can live
in a "green" environmentalist paradise, maintain the pristine
beauty of our coastlines, and still maintain all the perks
and privileges of an industrial civilization but
only by pursuing a policy of outright conquest. The oil
fields of Iraq and the Caucasus are jewels waiting to be
shoplifted and who can object if, suddenly, the self-appointed
world policeman decides to stuff them in his pocket? Indeed,
who will stop him?
was pathetic the other day reading the headline on Drudge
linked to an Agence France Presse story on the Putin-Castro
jamboree in old Havana: "PUTIN, CASTRO BLAST US DOMINATION"
Oh yeah? Let's see if I have this right: the head of a bankrupt
and fast-crumbling empire rapidly sinking to the economic
status of a Third World nation, and the absolute dictator
of a small, poverty-stricken island in the Caribbean are
joining forces against the US. In Washington, I'll bet they're
shakin' in their boots.
Putin-Castro show was the perfect international backdrop
for the ascension of Dubya: a faux cold war tableaux in
the era of a President who fancies himself another Reagan.
There is the same sense of disengagement, and of non-intellectuality,
not to mention many of the same foreign policy advisors.
Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and a whole platoon of neoconservative
ideologues for whom the cold war never really ended. The
infamous Wolfowitz Doctrine holds that even the hint of
a rising rival power that could potentially challenge us
in any region of the world must be
met with force or the threat of it. And while some of the
advisors who surrounded Dubya's father may not be as fervent
in their support for Israel, or for war in the Balkans,
the neocon element is increasingly influential. In any case,
the new cold warriors are united in their commitment to
NATO expansion, the encirclement of Russia, and the never-ending
war on Iraq.
is giving the new cold warriors plenty of ammunition: it's
almost as if he's playing a part. But he's no Stalin: he's
not even a Khrushchev. "We have many unfinished projects
in Cuba worth billions of dollars," he burbled, "and we
must decide what to do with them," he grandly declared as
he sat down with Fidel for a photo op. The Cuban caudillo
was in his usual green fatigues, and looked approvingly
on as Putin continued on in the same vein: ""Russia intends
to bridge the gap between the so-called golden billion and
the rest of humanity and we will be solving this
question by taking our very good ties with Cuba into account."
They said Yeltsin was drunk all the time, but not even he
indulged in this kind of tragicomic bombast. The spectacle
is made all the more pathetic because everyone knows that
Western bankers could decimate the Russian economy and nation
in a matter of days, with a weapon far more effective than
any in our nuclear arsenal. By calling in the loans, instead
of dropping the bombs, the West saves itself the moral opprobrium
of an obvious and messy slaughter. Besides, the investment
potential of radioactive Russian real estate is negligible.
RUSSIAN FRANKENSTEIN RISES AGAIN?
news of the Putin-Castro alliance must have sent a thrill
of nostalgia through the cold warrior set. Why, it was almost
like old times again, when the Soviet Threat was a dark
shadow looming over the world and the unlimited expenditures
of the American national security state were at their command.
Happy days are here again! It would be funny if it wasn't
so dangerous. Of course, only a fool would fall for this
line of horse-pucky: the idea that Putin is suddenly turning
on his benefactors, who have so far spared no expense in
bailing out him and his bankrupt nation, is so absurd that
only a conservative would fall for it: But, then again,
they fell for it last time, didn't they? If Putin is the
enemy of the West, then he is also, in an important sense,
our own creation. Make of that what you will.