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Friday, November 25, 2005

 
Mr Silver Lining

by digby

Hey everybody, welcome David Ignatius to planet earth:

The United States must begin to replenish this stock of support for America in the world. I would love to see the Bush administration take the lead, but its officials seem not to understand the problem. Even if they turned course, much of the world wouldn't believe them. Sadly, when President Bush eloquently evokes our values, the world seems to tune out.


No kidding. But that because the Cheney administration "understands" the problem to be that we aren't feared and loathed enough, not that we are feared and loathed too much. This is fundamental to understanding what they are doing. Bush is trotted out to spread Messianic platitudes about freedom to the red state rubes to make them feel all warm and toasty about our splendid little GWOT. But Cheney and Rummy and the rest of the cold war time warpers have no illusions or interest in being "understood" by anyone. They believe in the Friedman Doctrine:

No, the axis-of-evil idea isn't thought through - but that's what I like about it. It says to these countries and their terrorist pals: "We know what you're cooking in your bathtubs. We don't know exactly what we're going to do about it, but if you think we are going to just sit back and take another dose from you, you're wrong. Meet Don Rumsfeld - he's even crazier than you are."

There is a lot about the Bush team's foreign policy I don't like, but their willingness to restore our deterrence, and to be as crazy as some of our enemies, is one thing they have right. It is the only way we're going to get our turkey back.



It's awfully nice that the elite liberal pundits in this country are finally regaining their equilibrium after basking in the glow of that mighty bullhorn for the last four years but it's pretty useless now, as even Ignatius seems to realize when he prescribes this:

So this task falls instead to the American public. It's a job that involves traveling, sharing, living our values, encouraging our children to learn foreign languages and work and study abroad. In short, it means giving something back to the world.


Have you ever read a more irrelevant, starry-eyed piece of gooey treacle in your life? Oh yes you have, here:

Pessimists increasingly argue that Iraq may be going the way of Lebanon in the 1970s. I hope that isn't so, and that Iraq avoids civil war. But people should realize that even Lebanonization wouldn't be the end of the story. The Lebanese turned to sectarian militias when their army and police couldn't provide security. But through more than 15 years of civil war, Lebanon continued to have a president, a prime minister, a parliament and an army. The country was on ice, in effect, while the sectarian battles raged. The national identity survived, and it came roaring back this spring in the Cedar Revolution that drove out Syrian troops.


Turn that frown upside down, sunshine. Civil war is a drag and all, but it isn't all bad! If Iraq can just learn to have patience over the next generation or two and Americans can learn a foreign language and give something back to the world, we can all come together and love one another ---- eventually. Probably. Oh sure, there will be a great deal of death and destruction in the meantime because our president "doesn't understand" the problem and turns everything he touches into chaos. But there's no need to be pessimistic. Go on a trip and buy some souvenirs.(Snowglobes really send a strong message of cultural understanding. Collectible spoons scream of shared sacrifice.) Oh yeah, and be sure to love yer neighbor like you'd like to be loved yerself. It's the key to persuading the world that we really aren't the loathesome, cruel, imperialistic freakshow they now think we are. Eventually.



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