So North Korea appears to be getting ready to test fire a missile that might eventually be able to strike the United States.
And that's small potatoes compared to the rest of our foreign policy problems.
There's not enough good news from Iraq to mask the fact that it is an unmitigated disaster. The Taliban are back in Afghanistan, and warlords there have made the country the world's largest exporter of narcotics. Terrorist groups have become legitimate political parties in Lebanon and Palestine. Something's going on with Iran's nuclear program, we really don't know what, but it's a good bet that whatever is going on there isn't what Condi Rice is telling us.
China is positioning itself to surpass the U.S. economically, and is back in the sack with Russia. Saudi Arabia, our biggest buddy in the Middle East, is also one of the biggest sponsors of international terrorism.
Thanks to the Bush administration's ham fisted use of armed force, America's military has become all but impotent in its ability to achieve our political objectives overseas--which is the primary reason it exists. The U.S. has no peer competitor in the arms arena, yet we continue to throw astronomic amounts of money into fantastical weapons like the F-22 Raptor fighter jet that bring nothing of value to our so-called war on terror.
The Department of Homeland Security, perhaps the single greatest failure in the history of the federal government, tells us that most American cities and states are still unprepared for terrorist attacks.
And the Bush administration still claims "national security" as its strong point.
Irony: Dead and Loving It
PNAC--the Project for the New American Century--appears to be rolling up its carpet. While I'm glad to see that happening, I wish it had happened a long time ago.
The PNAC was the neoconservative "think tank," founded by William Kristol, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and others in 1997, formulated the "Reaganite" policy by which the Bush administration attempted to dominate the globe through armed force.
The problem with pursuing Reagan-like policies was that the world was no longer Reagan-like.
As America grew from its infant stage, it gradually adopted the European balance-of-power political model, sleeping with the enemies of its enemies until, by the time of the Cold War, it had pretty much slept around with everybody.
Once the last great opponent was vanquished, America had the opportunity to stop the vicious cycle of changing allies every generation or so and practice genuine world leadership. Some argue that we were headed in that direction during the Clinton era. That may be true. But if so, the neoconservative Bush administration reversed course, setting out deliberately to once again polarize the world, inflaming animosities with "axis of evil" and "with us or against us" rhetoric. Rather than capitalize on the opportunity 9/11 presented to unite the world in a common cause of eradicating terrorism, the neocons chose instead to tell the UN and most of the rest of the world to take a hike.
In just over 6 years, we've gone from having no real enemies to having no real friends.
Reversing course again will not be an easy undertaking. Decisive, favorable solutions to Iraq and Afghanistan do not exist. We cannot regain credibility overnight. And while we don't want to maintain a preemptive military excursion policy, we obviously don't want to completely disarm. Determining proper types and levels of armed force needed to maintain a peaceful world will take some serious soul searching.
I’m watching the debate on the Senate floor on Iraq and Afghanistan. It's already sounding like a replay of last week's pie fight in the House of Representatives. Jon Kyl (R Arizona) is on the floor now, reiterating virtually every Simple Simon talking point the Rove machine has manufactured in the last five years.
America will not become the leader the world needs as long as it continues to cling to failed policies and support them with Polly Cracker rhetoric.
Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his weekday commentaries at ePluribus Media and Pen and Sword.
The Next World Order Series