Sunday, July 13, 2008

Nothing hides incompetency like a war

There are a few people who use it with skill while others fumble about trying to locate the formula used by so-called Great Leaders in history.

George W. Bush, essentially a useful idiot for a much larger force, continually tried to shift the focus of Americans from his repeated acts of incompetency by deflecting their gaze in the general direction of war. He declared himself a "war president", even after he told Americans the best thing they could do was to "go shopping".

Surprisingly, the current US antagonist isn't in much better shape. In fact he could be worse. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, president of Iran, has made an incredible mess of the place and despite public sabre-rattling, may be more unpopular with his electorate than Bush is with his.

Thomas P.M. Barnett illuminates the conditions which make war for two people in particular very appealing.

One is US presidential hopeful John McCain who, without an elevated level of fear among Americans, doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of actually winning.

The other is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who, without a war with the US or Israel, is almost certainly going to find himself on the unemployment roles and trying to survive in an economy which he is personally responsible for wrecking.
Looming behind the most crucial dynamics is the possible presidency of Barack Obama, suggesting that war may become inevitable due to the fear of peace. [...]

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's presidency has been a disaster for the Iranian people. Despite all the oil wealth, inflation is raging and the economy goes nowhere. Add in a stunning birth dearth, the world's worst brain drain, plus Iranian prostitutes headlining European brothels, and this is clearly a society in a death spiral. With restless students chanting in public for Ahmadinejad's death, little wonder the man pines for a splendid little war.

Ahmadinejad's one popular success has been to champion Iran's brazen reach for nuclear capacity, an effort cleverly designed to emphasize the strategic dangers of attempted regime change by outsiders. [...] But Ahmadinejad's time grows short. A bevy of candidates seeks to oust him next year, and his opponents now head the parliament, the crucial Assembly of Experts and Tehran's city hall. With Obama currently leading decisively polls for the U.S. presidency, Iran's Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, faces the prospect of losing his most useful -- for internal politics, that is -- external enemy, reducing Ahmadinejad's utility as frontman.
You really do need to read the whole column. For even more though, Barnett provide even more clarification on his blog.

That too, is something you need to read.

Problem right now is how many sides would welcome war. "U.S. Plays Down Military Showdown" is a couple of quotes from Gates and an Undersecretary of State, meaning two counties heard from but hardly the "U.S." that matters right now on this subject (Bush-Cheney). Both, in my mind, have no problem with an Israeli strike on their watch that could easily suck us into combat. Time is short.
Of course, you'll want a bottle of something after all of that. 151 over-proof should work for a short time.

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