Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Eye on the prize

Krauthammer (no link, you know where to find him), sounding suspiciously like Christopher Walken demanding "more cowbell," rants that we need "more hegemon, please" (but without the "please" -- that would be too pussified). Joe Klein rightly takes him to task for this.

In the end, the real problem with Krauthammer's rant is this: he really doesn't want us to be exceptional. He wants us to be more brutal, more like other historically powerful countries, more like the Russians in Afghanistan or the British in Mesopotamia. His position on Iraq tips his hand, as he excoriates Obama for having

...almost no interest in garnering the fruits of a very costly and very bloody success--namely, using our Strategic Framework Agreement to turn the new Iraq into a strategic partner and anchor for U.S. influence in the most volatile area of the world. Iraq is a prize--we can debate endlessly whether it was worth the cost--of great strategic significance that the administration seems to have no intention of exploiting in its determination to execute a full and final exit.

A prize! Sounds sort of like Churchill in his most demented colonial moments: India, the jewel in the crown! (The fact that a duly elected Iraqi government wants us to leave is ignored.)

Klein is shocked by the characterization of Mess'opotamia as "a prize." But Klein is forgetting the madness of those days when the neo-conservative world view ruled our world. Iraq was intended to be a prize. A prize of vast oil reserves and the U.S. as preferred customer. A prize of vast strategic military bases not in the same country as Mecca. A prize of a U.S.-friendly government amenable to Israel.

And of course, we mustn't forget the best prize of all.

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