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There's dumb and dumb. I don't think Bush would ever have nuked the world or gone up against the Russians even as his empire went straight down the vortex of the bog. McCain ... hard to say, the man's got 'issues'.
But anyway, in general terms you are wrong. See, the rest of the world doesn't want a competent imperial manager for the US. We want an incompetent one, because such people are easier to beat. Bush, being a fool, did immense damage to the US imperium. I hate the US imperium, and I hope to live long enough to see the US itself reduced to the point where it is accorded the same international interest and respect as, say, New Zealand (i.e. pretty much none. I initially wrote 'Zimbabwe', but Zimbabwe still gets a lot of attention through mere notoriety). But it was only fifty-fifty, until Bush came along and did such sterling work. Believe me, ten years ago I would never have imagined seeing the US in such poor shape. (Now I expect the US to be essentially defunct before I retire, not a decade after I'm dead). Now, the only reason people still pay attention is because they haven't realized the place is doomed. (We got six pages of Obamania in our newspapers after he got elected ... and I live in Asia! What is this crap?)
Hopefully, Obama is so constrained by institutional interests that he'll be functionally stupid as President, no matter how intelligent he may be otherwise ... in fact, it's a given. We see it already. Look after Wall Street and Israel before he's even in the White House. Hope and change? Maybe. For the US's enemies, that is.
by wing26 on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 12:36:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bush did immense damage to the US empire, not the least by bogging it down in Iraq. Though in principle probably many iraqis agree that the end of the US empire is a good thing, they would have prefered the US empire not bogging itself down in their country. In the same way I suspect most afghaniis could have done without bringing down either evil empire.

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by A swedish kind of death on Sat Nov 8th, 2008 at 08:49:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But even if Bush/McCain hadn't nuked the world, they could have done immense damage. An invasion of Iran, another clumsy attempt or two at installing puppet dictators in South America... there's no end to the amount of mischief those crazies were getting themselves into.

I think - and at this point a guess is all we have - that Obama has greater mental flexibility than Bush/McCain on the subject of foreign policy. Read: He'll be able to understand and more or less accept when a country has clearly and unequivocally left the US sphere of interest.

Bush/McCain seemed to have no willingness to concede loss of territory. And if you have a major power trying to enforce its will on what is clearly another major power's turf... Bad Things Happen. Think Georgia or Lebanon. Or a Chinese invasion of Taiwan, for that matter.

Yes, a US empire that flails out desperately at a variety of lost causes would weaken itself faster than a US empire that cuts its losses and manages more or less orderly retreats from its former colonies... But flailing about would hurt a lot of people on the way.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 06:27:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
wing26:
See, the rest of the world doesn't want a competent imperial manager for the US. We want an incompetent one, because such people are easier to beat. Bush, being a fool, did immense damage to the US imperium. I hate the US imperium, and I hope to live long enough to see the US itself reduced to the point where it is accorded the same international interest and respect as, say, New Zealand (i.e. pretty much none.

By the logic of this argument, we should all have been rooting for a Palin Presidency.  The problem is that if the US is reduced to the influence of a New Zealand, the likelihood is not that we will have lots of New Zealand type countries in the world living in peace and harmony with one another, but a world dominated by China, Russia, Islamic countries or multinational corporations of no particular national loyalty - something which may be happening anyway.

A uni-polar world order leads to unparalleled hubris and arrogance, and I a glad that era is drawing to a close.  But a multi-polar world order -in the absence of strong International legal institutions - could be even more unstable.  We have to be careful about what we build to prepare the unipolar system - and the cataclysmic decline of the US is not guaranteed to give us a better world.

notes from no w here

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Sun Nov 9th, 2008 at 09:40:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]

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